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Frequently asked questions for becoming a State Trooper

Here you'll find answers to frequently asked questions we receive regarding the recruitment process of State Troopers.

Table of Contents

General

How do I become a State Trooper?

The process of becoming a State Trooper with the Massachusetts State Police starts with taking the Civil Service exam. Once you've completed that and are selected based off of your scoring, you'll move further into the process that'll involve a physical screening, medical assessment, psychological assessment, and background investigation. Depending on your performance and scoring, you'll be ranked onto our Eligible for Selection List which we utilize to select individuals for training. If selected, you'll be appointed to the State Police Academy and undergo our recruit training curriculum. With completion of your training, you'll attend your graduation ceremony and be sworn in as a State Trooper.

For more details, view our guide on Becoming a State Trooper.

What are the necessary qualifications to become a State Trooper?

To qualify, you'll need to:

  • Possess a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development) certificate
  • Pass an entrance exam
  • Be at least 21 years old and no older than 34 years old by the last day of the application filing date
  • Pass a thorough background investigation prior to employment
  • Satisfy the Department of State Police's medical and psychological standards
  • Satisfy the Department of State Police's physical fitness standards 
  • Be a United States citizen by the time of appointment to the Academy 
  • Be a Massachusetts resident by the time of appointment to the Academy
  • Possess a Massachusetts driver's license by the time of appointment to the Academy
  • Do not have any tattoo, brand, or scarification on face, neck, or hands with the exception of commitment band on hand
  • Do not have any tattoo, brand, or scarification that is considered extremist, including but not limited to indecent, sexist, or racist

When is the next Civil Service Exam?

We participate in the Civil Service Exam on a rotating basis. Please monitor the Civil Service's website for updates or sign up for our Recruitment Alerts.

What are the physical fitness requirements?

As part of the selection process, we have the Physical Fitness Assessment. Prospective candidates will be assessed on various aspects of physical fitness such as, but not limited to, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, runtimes, and more.

What are the vision requirements?

Vision is an important aspect of the many duties of a State Trooper. As such, our vision requirements are:

  • A minimum of 400 seconds of stereopsis
  • A minimum corrected distant visual acuity in each eye 20/30 with a minimum of 20/200 uncorrected distant visual acuity in each eye
  • Minimum color perception to red, green, and amber
  • Radial keratotomy and photoradial keratotomy acceptable for distant vision correction

Do I get preferences to assignment?

Geographical assignment is made to staffing needs throughout the Commonwealth. While commuting benefits are afforded to those that have to travel for work, you may be assigned to an area in the Commonwealth you might not be in close proximity to.

Is there a probationary period after graduation?

Yes. For a period of one year following graduation, you'll be on a probationary period. This period is designed to assess your performance of duties and you may be subject to corrective action, remedial training, or termination.

Is there field training?

Yes. As part of your post-graduation assignment, you'll also be assigned a field training officer for a period of 3 months. This is designed to provide more hands-on training and development with an experienced mentor.

Academy

Is the State Police Academy difficult?

Recruit training follows a paramilitary-style curriculum that is both physically and mentally demanding. While it's designed to be challenging, it isn't meant to be impossible. Training is meant to equip motivated candidates with the endurance, skills, and knowledge they'll need on the job and in the field. Interested applicants are encouraged to learn all they can about the physical requirements and academic curriculum. 

To learn more, please check out our guide on Recruit Training at the State Police Academy.

If you have any questions, please contact Recruitment at (508) 820-2292 or at recruitment@massmail.state.ma.us.

What is the timeframe for recruit training?

Recruit training runs 25 weeks on weekdays. Recruits must live at the Academy throughout the weekdays. On Friday evenings, recruits may go home and must return the following Monday for training.

What is a typical day in recruit training?

The day begins at 5:30 a.m. with physical training. Once that's been completed, recruits attend academic courses until 8 p.m. Afterwards, recruits have study and personal time until lights out at 9:30 p.m.

Eligibility

I am on the list and I have a rank number. What does my rank number mean?

Candidates are selected from the list in rank order. The order begins with rank number 1. This means candidates with rank number 1 will be contacted first when an opportunity to participate in the State Trooper selection process becomes available. Candidates with rank number 2 will be contacted second and so forth.

Once all contacted candidates have completed the selection process, the rank order is used again to appoint eligible candidates to the State Police Academy. Candidates with rank number 1 are appointed first, candidates with rank number 2 are appointed second, etcetera. Your rank number is your place in the order for selection and appointment to the State Police Academy.

Can I improve my rank number?

Your rank number on the current eligibility list is based primarily on your final score on the Commonwealth’s most recent Police Officer Exam. You cannot retake the exam to improve your rank number. However, certain candidates may experience a rank number improvement if they become eligible for selection preference.

For example, the veteran’s preference clause allows candidates who have qualifying military service to receive a two-point addition to their passing test score. Whereas two points have been awarded already to candidates with Veteran status on the list, candidates who have yet to qualify for veteran’s preference may apply for it as long as the list is active. For candidates who will qualify for veteran’s preference points in the future, the two-point addition to their scores will improve their rank number.

An important fact to remember about this list is that it is fluid. Each time a military make up exam is offered, passing test-takers will be added to the list at the appropriate rank numbers. Accordingly, the list and its rank numbers fluctuate over time.

Are veterans treated differently from disabled veterans for State Police selection?

No. A distinction has been made between Veterans and Disabled Veterans for civil service selection purposes. However, the civil service rules are not applicable to selection for the State Police Academy. For this Department, all veterans with qualifying service receive a two-point addition to their passing exam score.

Since I am on the list, can I apply to become a State Trooper?

The Department of State Police does not accept unsolicited applications for State Trooper positions. When we contact candidates about an opportunity to participate in the selection process, we provide specific instructions about completing the State Trooper application and related paperwork.

How are candidates contacted from the list?

Typically, we notify candidates in writing when there is an opportunity to participate in a State Police selection process. We mail a notice to the address on file for each candidate in the selection range. Thus, it is important for candidates to inform us when an address change has occurred. Address changes must be submitted in writing to the State Police Human Resources Section via one of the following methods:

  • By email to msplist@mass.gov
  • By fax to (508) 820-2211, Attn: HR - MSP List
  • By mail to Department of State Police, Attn: HR - MSP List, 470 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01702

Please note that the Department of State Police is a separate entity from the state Human Resources Division's Civil Service Unit. We do not receive notice when you change your contact information or veteran’s status online for civil service selection. The Human Resources Division does not receive notice from us when a candidate updates their address or veteran’s status. You must inform us of changes to your personal information if you want the Department of State Police to contact you.

Failure to update your contact information with us may result in missed notification and a lost opportunity for selection.

How many candidates do you contact about participating in a selection process?

There is no set number of candidates to be contacted about participating in a selection process. The state legislature appropriates funding for a State Police Academy class whenever lawmakers determine a need to hire more State Troopers. Through this process, the legislature establishes parameters for the size and timing of State Police Academy classes. The funding appropriation indicates how many new State Troopers the Commonwealth shall hire and roughly when the State Police Academy class should graduate. Once a funding appropriation has been created, the Department of State Police uses the number of State Troopers to be hired as a guide for how many candidates to contact from the eligibility list. As a result, the number varies from appropriation to appropriation. The Department continues to select candidates from an eligibility list until a new list is generated by an applicable Police Officer examination.

Veteran's preference status

To request veteran’s preference status, send your DD 214 (Member-4) to us by email, fax or mail as cited above. To request a military make up exam, call the Human Resource Division's Civil Service Unit at (617) 878-9895.

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