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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


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. Passing test-takers who fall within the statutory age parameters identified on the exam announcement are placed on the rank-ordered eligible list for State Police selection.   Thereafter, when the Department of State Police initiates a process to select candidates for the next State Police Academy class, candidates are invited to compete for selection based on their current rank on the eligible list.  Candidates must successfully complete all selection activities – to include physical fitness testing, a medical assessment, a psychological assessment, and a background investigation – to qualify for an offer of appointment to a State Police Academy class. Appointed candidates occupy the position of State Police Trainee and undergo the Department’s recruit training program in residence at the State Police Academy.  Upon graduating from the State Police recruit training program, Trainees must be sworn in as State Police Troopers by the Governor.  Being sworn in officially begins the officer’s period of service as a State Police 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 equivalency certificate approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 
  • Be eligible to take the designated entrance exam for Massachusetts State Trooper per the statutory requirements, and pass the designated entrance exam
  • Meet the statutory requirements and Department of State Police standards for appointment to the Academy
  • 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
  • Be subject to an inspection that will determine if you have any tattoos, brands, or scarification markings that do not comply with the Department of State Police standards relative to tattoos and body modifications on face, neck, or hands (with the exception of commitment band on hands).
  • Ensure that you 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 Physical Fitness Assessment candidates will be required to pass a 1.5 mile run.   Passing run times are based on age and gender and taken from the 40th percentile from the Cooper Institute. Prospective candidates will also be assessed on push-ups and sit-ups.

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 according 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 that may not be in close proximity to your home.

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.


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.


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.  For the most part, rank numbers are determined by the candidates’ written examination score and the addition of veteran’s points, if applicable.  (Exceptions to this rule may be made for candidates who have qualified for preference under M.G.L. c. 22C, s. 11 or for deferrals from prior eligible lists).

An important fact to keep in mind 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 will likely change over time. 

Can I improve my rank number?

You cannot change, improve, or modify your written examination score. Your rank number may be improved if you become eligible for veteran’s status. 

For example, the veteran’s preference clause allows candidates with 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.

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 written exam score.

Since I am on the list, can I apply to become a State Trooper without being contacted?

No. The Department of State Police does not accept unsolicited applications for State Trooper positions.

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 will mail or email a notice to the contact address on file for each candidate in the selection range.  Thus, it is important for candidates to inform us when a change of physical address or email address has occurred.  Address changes must be submitted in writing to the State Police Human Resources Section via one of the following methods:

  • By fax to (508) 820-2211, Attn: HR – State Police Eligible List
  • By mail to Department of State Police, Attn: HR – State Police Eligible List, 470 Worcester Road, Framingham, MA 01702

You should note that the Department of State Police is a separate entity from the state Human Resources Division – Civil Service Unit.  We do not receive notice when you change your contact 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 keep your contact information up to date with us may result in missed notification.  Your failure to respond to any notification will be considered a voluntary withdrawal from the selection process and your name will be removed from further consideration.         

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 Police Troopers.  The funding appropriation indicates how many new State Troopers the Commonwealth shall hire and roughly when the State Police Academy class should graduate.  The Department continues to select candidates from an eligible 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 HRD Civil Service Unit at (617) 878-9895.  Please feel free to check this website for periodic Academy class news and updates. 

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