The Washington State Police (WSP) is a professional law enforcement agency of about 600 State Troopers who patrol the highways; partner with other law enforcement, criminal justice, and traffic safety agencies; and provide services to the residents and visitors of Washington State.
Learning how to become a Washington State Trooper starts with the following steps:
- Meet all minimum employment requirements
- Submit an application
- Interview with the Oral Board
- Complete the pre-employment polygraph examination and background investigation
- Complete the medical examination, psychological test, and psychological interview
- Attend the Washington State Police Training Academy
Step 1: Meet all minimum employment requirements
Before you apply for a job as a Washington State Trooper, you must meet a set of minimum qualifications:
- Be a United States citizen
- Hold a valid driver’s license
- Be at least 19 ½ years old at the time of application
- Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent from an accredited school
- Meet specific vision requirements (20/25 in each eye with corrective lenses or surgery)
- Meet Department height and body weight/fat standards
- Be free of any narcotics or controlled substances (additional information can be found here)
- Possess no felony convictions
- Possess no history or convictions of domestic violence
- 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
Individuals with a lack of good moral character, as defined by the Department, are not eligible for State Trooper jobs in Washington. Indicators of a lack of good moral character include:
- Any conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or fraud
- Intentional or attempted deception or fraud
- Acts or conduct that would cause a reasonable person to have doubts about the person’s fairness, respect for others, honesty, or respect for the laws of the state or nation
Step 2: Submit an application
Once you have determined you meet all minimum employment requirements, you must submit an application for employment (you can download a Trooper Cadet application here). Once you have completed the application, you may either email it to TrooperApplications@wsp.wa.gov or mail it to:
Washington State Patrol
Human Resource Division
P.O. Box 42620
Olympia WA 98504-2620
Once your application has been accepted, you will be contacted via mail to begin Phase 1 testing. You can find a list of upcoming testing dates and locations here. Bring your photo identification and wear fitness attire on the date of the test.
Phase 1 testing includes two written tests and the Cooper Institute Physical Fitness Test.
The fitness test includes push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. The written tests include assessments of judgment, common sense, observation, communication, and reading skills. You can prepare for the written tests using the Phase One Preparation Guide.
Step 3: Interview with the Oral Board
If you pass Phase 1 testing you will be notified if you qualify for Phase 2 testing. Phase 2 testing is scheduled within the same month as Phase 1 testing.
Phase 2 testing consists of an Oral Board Interview, which includes general personal background questions and situational questions. In addition to wearing appropriate business attire to the Oral Board Interview, you must bring the following documents:
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Five-year driving record from the Department of Licensing (You can obtain this document by visiting the DOL website.)
- Form DD-214 (Military Discharge certificate, if applicable)
- Completed Personal History and Background Questionnaire
- Sealed and official college transcripts
- Sealed high school transcripts or sealed GED certificate
- Social Security card
You will be notified if your score from the Oral Board Interview is high enough to advance onto Phase 3.
Step 4: Complete the pre-employment polygraph examination and background investigation.
Upon completion of the polygraph examination, your background investigation will begin. You can expect the background investigation to take between two to three months.
Step 5: Complete the medical examination, psychological test, and psychological interview.
You can expect to be contacted about two months after the hiring process begins with a conditional offer of employment. However, your job as a Washington State Trooper will be contingent upon the completion of Phase 4, which includes a medical examination, a psychological test, and a psychological interview with the Department psychologist.
Step 6: Attend the Washington State Police Training Academy
The Washington State Patrol Training Division conducts training at the WSP Training Academy, which is located in Shelton, Washington, about 25 miles north of Olympia, Washington. Trooper Cadets who pass Phase 4 of the testing process are selected to attend the 26-week basic training course. Following the 26-week training course, cadets attend an additional 8 weeks of classroom instruction.