Tennessee State Trooper Training

The approximately 903 members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol enforce all state and federal traffic laws on Tennessee’s highways.  They also investigate traffic accidents and work with prosecutors to prosecute cases in which drug or alcohol use contributed to accidents that resulted in injury or deaths.

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Follow these steps if you’re interested in learning how to become a State Trooper in Tennessee:

  1. Meet the Basic Qualifications and Submit Your Application
  2. Medical, Physical, and Psychological Examinations
  3. Physical Testing and Interview
  4. Background Check and Polygraph Examination
  5. Attend Trooper Academy for Training
  6. Undergo Training in the Field

Step 1. Meet the Basic Qualifications and Submit Your Application

To be considered for jobs as a Tennessee State Trooper, you must meet certain requirements:

    • You must be a US citizen
    • You must have a high school diploma or a GED equivalent.
    • You must have a valid driver’s license
      • If you are applying from out of state, you must obtain a Tennessee license before you start training at the Academy.


  • You must be 21 years old when you submit your application.
  • Your vision must be excellent (each eye must be at least 20/100 and be correctable to 20/30.)
  • You cannot have had any felonies or a misdemeanor that reflects moral turpitude.
  • If you have been in the military, you must have been honorably discharged.

You must submit your application online.  You will find out if you are eligible within several weeks of submitting your application or about 1-2 weeks after the deadline for submitting applications.

Step 2. Medical, Physical, and Psychological Examinations

Once the review board has determined that you meet the standards to become a State Trooper in Tennessee, you will travel to Nashville to undergo a full medical examination by a physician.  This will involve a drug screen.  You will also undergo a thorough psychological examination.

Step 3. Physical Testing and Interview

After passing the psychological, physical, and medical examinations, the next step to becoming a State Trooper in Tennessee is take a test for physical agility.  You will be notified by e-mail or a letter that you have been chosen and will be assigned a date and time to go and take your physical test and be interviewed.  This will take place at 283 Stewart’s Ferry Pike in Nashville.

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You must show up at your scheduled time.  If you cannot make this time or are no longer interested, please call 615-251-5200 or send an e-mail to the Human Resources Department at [email protected].

You will need to complete the Trooper Application Packet and bring it with you to this appointment.  Items you will need to include are:

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • College degree or transcript (if applicable)
  • Vocational School degree or transcript (if applicable)
  • Transcript that shows credit hours completed, if you do not have a degree
  • Professional license if you are a CPA, pilot, attorney, or some other type of professional
  • If you have skills that pertain to law enforcement, include
    • Certificates of training
    • Certifications

The physical agility will involve :

  • Push-ups (as many as you can do in 2 minutes)
  • Running:
    • 300 meters
    • 1.5 miles
    • Sit-ups (as many as you can do in 1 minute)
    • Vertical leap

Once you have passed the test for physical abilities, you will be interviewed about your abilities, skills, knowledge, and areas in which you are competent.

Step 5. Background Check and Polygraph

After you have passed your agility test and convinced the interviewers of your aptitude to become a State Trooper in Tennessee, your background will be intensely examined with a level II investigation.  This will include checks of your:

  • Criminal records (Federal and State)
  • Credit history
  • Driving records
  • Education
  • Employers
  • Military record
  • References

Once you have successfully passed your background check, you will take a polygraph test.

Step 7.  Attend Trooper Academy for Training

After you have successful passed the polygraph examination, you will be notified of when to attend the Trooper School.  You will need to provide

  • Birth certificate:  certified copy
  • Driver’s license from Tennessee
  • Social Security card:  you must be able to show it for inspection

You will live onsite during the week and undergo 18 weeks of rigorous training.  You will have over 800 hours of training in such areas as:

  • Commercial vehicles
  • Conduct that is professional and ethical
  • CPR and emergency medical procedures
  • Diversity
  • Management of stress
  • Operation of emergency vehicles
  • Patrol procedures (250 hours)
  • Physical fitness
  • Sexual and workplace harassment
  • Skills of interpersonal communication
  • Tactics of defense and ground fighting
  • Use of weapons

Cadets entering the Academy will be paid $2563 a month.

Step 8. Undergo Training in the Field

After you have graduated from the academy, you will train with two to three Field Training Officers for 13 weeks before you can be assigned to your own car.

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After graduating from the academy, you will make $34,032 a year.  It is possible to earn up to $50,580 a year after serving on the State Highway Patrol for 10 years.

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