California state troopers faithfully serve in the California Highway Patrol (CHP), one of the world’s finest law enforcement agencies. If you are interested in a career that offers diversity, opportunities and many challenges, a California state trooper job might be for you.
California state trooper jobs involve providing the highest level of safety, service and security while enforcing the law and preventing accidents. As part of the California Highway Patrol, you might choose to be a patrol car officer or join a motorcycle, airborne, canine or crime investigative unit.
This guide provides the seven steps you’ll need to complete in order to qualify for California state trooper training:
- Meet Basic Qualifications and Apply
- Written Examination
- Physical Ability Test
- Qualifications Appraisal Interview
- Background Check
- Psychological and Medical Evaluation
- Attend the California Highway Patrol Academy
Step 1. Meet Basic Qualifications and Apply with the California Highway Patrol
All men and women interested in learning how to become a state trooper in California must complete an online application.
- Strayer University - Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice
- Rasmussen College - Law Enforcement Associate's Degree and Post-Degree Certificates; Criminal Justice Bachelor's Degrees
- Michigan State University - Online Master of Science in Law Enforcement Intelligence and Analysis
- Saint Joseph's University - Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice
- Utica College - Online Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice
You will be asked to provide basic identifying information to determine whether you meet the minimum qualifications for CHP employment.
These requirements include:
- You must be between 20 and 35 years of age.
- Have U.S. citizenship or be on the path to citizenship.
- You must possess a valid California driver’s license.
- You must be in good health and free from any physical, mental or emotional condition that would impair top performance.
- You must have normal hearing, be able to read a standard eye test chart, and not be color blind. If you wear corrective lenses, your vision in each eye must be no less than 20/40 and 20/20 when corrected.
- You must have at least a high school education. Your chances are better if you have an A.A. or Bachelor’s degree, or have served in the military.
- Your record has to be free of felony convictions, serious drug usage, frequent traffic citations or at-fault auto accidents. You can call the Cadet Hiring Unit to get help evaluating any background concerns.
Step 2. Take the Written Examination
When your application is accepted you will be notified of a time/place for the written examination. It will focus on reading/writing proficiency, including grammar, spelling, vocabulary and reading comprehension. If you do not pass you can apply for a re-test after 30 days.
Step 3. Take the Physical Ability Test (PAT)
When you receive notification that you passed the written test you will be given an appointment for the PAT.
Qualifications for men are:
- 24 push-ups in one minute.
- 35 sit-ups in one minute.
- 300-meter run in 69.8 seconds.
- 1.5-mile run in 13 minutes, 36 seconds.
Qualifications for women are:
- 19 push-ups in one minute.
- 25 sit-ups in one minute.
- 300-meter run in 79.9 seconds.
- 1.5-mile run in 15 minutes, 57 seconds.
Step 4. Qualifications Appraisal Interview (QAV)
When you successfully complete the PAT you will be given an appointment for the QAV. You need to have a picture ID in order to be admitted to the interview at which time a two-member panel will question you for 30-45 minutes about your past employment, education, driving record, arrest record, interests, and knowledge about the duties/functions of a CHP officer. The panel will assess your ability to speak clearly and express ideas intelligibly and succinctly. This is a business interview so it is important that you wear appropriate business attire.
Step 5. Submit to a Background Evaluation
Upon successful completion of the QAV, your work history as well as all financial, driving and arrest records will be investigated. You will be asked to furnish the following applicable documents:
- Birth certificate
- Verification of education (diplomas, certificates, etc.)
- High school and college transcripts
- Marriage certificate/marriage dissolution certificate
- Vehicle proof of insurance
- Social security card
- Military service certificate
- Proof of U.S. residency
- 10-year DMV print-out
Step 6. Submit to a Psychological, Medical, and Physical Fitness Evaluation
You will be given a battery of three psychological tests that are standard for law enforcement employees in California.
After successfully completing the psychological evaluation you will be given an appointment with a medical doctor for a thorough physical examination.
Upon passing the psychological and medical evaluation, your overall physical fitness will be evaluated once again prior to being invited to attend the California Highway Patrol Academy. If you do not demonstrate adequate physical fitness you will be given a deferral.
Step 7. Attend the California Highway Patrol Academy
You’ve made it! Once you have successfully completed the eight steps and have been judged physically fit, you will be given cadet status and issued an invitation to attend the 456-acre CHP Academy in Sacramento. There are normally four academy classes per year and you will receive your invitation four to eight weeks ahead of time.
While at the academy, you will receive a monthly salary of $4,274-$5,361, plus complete medical and dental insurance for yourself and your dependants. After graduation your officer salary will be increased to $5,537-$6,732/month with five percent annual increases and opportunities to move up in rank.