The roads and highways of South Carolina are kept safe by the over 900 State Troopers of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. These Troopers use sophisticated technology to apprehend drunk drivers, assist motorists, and intercept drugs being transported throughout the state.
State Troopers in South Carolina are so highly trained over 90% of the cases they bring to court are successful. This is one of the highest court conviction rates in the country.
Follow these steps if you’re interested in learning how to become a State Trooper in South Carolina:
- Meet the Basic Qualifications
- Submit Your Application
- Submit Your Supplemental Application
- Physical Fitness Test and Written Examination
- Polygraph Examination, Background Check and Oral Interview
- Medical and Psychological Evaluation
- Attend Trooper Academy for Training
Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications for South Carolina Trooper Candidacy
To be considered for jobs as a South Carolina State Trooper, you must meet certain requirements:
- You must be a citizen of the U.S.
- You must be at least 21 years old before starting Basic Training
- You must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least year.
- Exceptions can be made if:
- You are serving in the military, you can be a former resident
- You are a full time out of state college student
- Exceptions can be made if:
- You must have a high school diploma or GED.
- You must have excellent vision (You cannot have vision worse than 20/100, and it should be correctable to 20/20.)
- You cannot have any criminal record.
- You must have a good driving record and cannot have the following on your record:
- Suspension for a dangerous drug or alcohol violation in the past 5 years
- Leaving an accident scene
- Grand Canyon University - B.S. in Justice Studies and M.S. in Criminal Justice
- 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
Step 2. Submit your Application
You must apply online to become a State Trooper in South Carolina. Your application will be reviewed to determine if you are suitable for the job. This can take 4-6 weeks.
Step 3. Submit your Supplemental Application
If you are chosen to proceed further in the hiring process, you will be contacted by e-mail and sent a supplemental application. Here is a copy of one. You must be prepared to provide the following list of documents along with it:
- High School Diploma or GED (copy)
- College Transcripts (certified copy if that applies to you)
- DD-214 copy if you have a record of military service
- Certificate of Birth or Naturalization (copy)
- Photograph of yourself from head to toe—must be current
- Driving Records:
- If you are a resident of South Carolina, you must provide the past 10 years
- If you have lived in another state over the previous 5 years, you must provide those
Here are some tips to filling out your application:
- Be sure to provide all the dates, addresses, and phone numbers that it asks for.
- Don’t have gaps in your employment history that are not explained.
- Make sure to use proper spelling and grammar.
- If you say that your previous employers can be contacted, you will probably be disqualified.
- You must disclose all past employers.
- If you have been fired in the past, that will not necessarily derail your application.
- You must provide all of the required documents with your supplemental application.
- The one exception is college transcripts, which could take you several weeks to get.
- If you have used an illegal drug outside of the time frame that limits employment, you should list it.
Be sure and prepare ahead of time for your physical fitness test, since about 40% of those tested will fail at this stage.
Step 4. Physical Fitness Test and Written Examination
If the review of your credit history, criminal past, and your driving records was favorable, you will be e-mailed a date for a round of testing in person to become a State Trooper in South Carolina. This will happen quickly (in weeks or days), and you should be ready to take the fitness test. It will measure your ability to:
- Do Push-ups
- Do Sit-ups
- Run 1.5 miles
Once you have passed the physical exam, you will be given a test of reading comprehension.
After passing both tests, you will be given an orientation at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
Step 5. Polygraph Examination, Background Check and Interview
After having passed the written examination, you will be told when to appear for a polygraph examination.
Once you have passed the polygraph test, your background will be thoroughly investigated. This will involve:
- Character and Personal Reference Checks
- Criminal Checks
- Interviews with neighbors and employers, both past and current
- Records Review of:
- Driver’s License
If the results of your background check are positive, you will be provided with a date to be interviewed by an Oral Review Board. It consists of five South Carolina Highway Patrol members.
Step 6. Medical and Psychological Evaluation
The top candidates identified at this point will be given a contingent offer of a job as a State Trooper in South Carolina. You will then be required to be examined for you’re your medical and psychological status. The medical screening will involve:
- Drug Screening
- Tuberculin Skin Test
- Vision examination
You will also undergo a psychological evaluation involving both a written test and an interview by a psychologist.
Step 7. Attend Trooper Academy for Training
Once you your results and have been reviewed, and you have been found to meet the standards to become a State Trooper in South Carolina, you will be offered a job and provided with details on starting the 17 week Basic Training program and given a date to start at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia.
Areas that will be covered in the Academy include:
- Accident Reconstruction
- Criminal Enforcement
- DUI Detection
- Firearms Training
- Physical Fitness
To graduate from the Academy, you must pass a Physical Abilities Test that involves 9 individual tasks:
- A chain-link fence
- Through a window
- Crawling (low)
- Low hurdle
- Moving or dragging a 150 lb weight
- Running and changing direction while running
Once you are a State Trooper in South Carolina, you might be interested in joining the South Carolina Troopers Association.