Prospective North Carolina state troopers are only required to have a high school diploma or GED. However, having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree can increase candidates’ hiring prospects, as well as increase opportunities for promotion after hire.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol, which is a division of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, works to make the state’s highways as safe as possible. As part of this mission, North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers enforce traffic laws, re-route traffic as necessary, and assist motorists, especially during hurricanes and other emergencies. 1,592 sworn officers work for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and cover 78,000 miles of roadway, more than any other state except Texas.1 This guide covers what North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers do, salary expectations, and how to become one.
Steps to Becoming a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper
Complete an application for the Highway Patrol Basic School and contact a recruiting officer for review of the application packet.
Submit the approved application to the Trooper Selection Unit during an open application period.
Pass the reading comprehension test.
Pass the physical fitness test.
Pass the Law Enforcement Candidate Record (LECR) test.
Take a polygraph exam.
Complete a background investigation.
Appear for an interview with the Applicant Review Board.
Pass a medical exam and psychological evaluation.
Complete 15 weeks of trooper training at the Highway Patrol Basic School.
Complete the 12-week Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP).
Begin working as a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper.
How to Become a North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper
Candidates for North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper positions must be at least 21 years of age and no older than 39, a US citizen, a resident of North Carolina at the time training begins, and willing to live and work anywhere in the state. Candidates must also have a high school diploma or GED and pass a reading comprehension test and physical fitness exam. Candidates who pass these steps must next take a written test, the Law Enforcement Candidate Record (LECR), that measures verbal skills and memory recall. Those still in the selection process after the LECR will take a polygraph exam and undergo a background investigation before appearing for a personal interview with the Applicant Review Board. Applicants who move on to the next stages will complete a medical exam and psychological evaluation. Accepted recruits will be invited to complete Highway Patrol Basic School and the state’s Field Training and Evaluation Program, upon graduation from which they will become sworn North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Job Description
North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers are charged with keeping the roadways and public thoroughfares of the state safe for law-abiding motorists by exercising their skills in traffic patrol and surveillance, road safety, crime and crash scene investigation, and identification of illegal drugs and firearms. Specific duties include search and arrest, investigation, and educating the public on traffic safety and awareness. Recruiters place an emphasis on hiring criminal justice professionals who can discharge these duties as part of a team, in addition to being able to take the initiative to keep the community safe from harm.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Training, Prerequisites, and Education Requirements
In addition to the requirements outlined above, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol requires applicants to have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED; however, recruiters favor individuals with a college education who can demonstrate a particular interest in becoming a criminal justice professional. Previous felony convictions are an automatic disqualifier. Other disqualifiers include having convictions for driving while impaired or intoxicated and pending criminal or traffic charges. Additional prerequisites to becoming a North Carolina Highway Patrol officer include passing reading comprehension and writing tests, a physical fitness test, a background check, and medical and psychological evaluations.
Accepted recruits must successfully complete Highway Patrol Basic School and the state’s Field Training and Evaluation Program. Highway Patrol Basic School is a 15-week program that develops recruits’ physical fitness and law enforcement skills. After this program is completed, candidates move to a 12-week Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP), during which each recruit is paired with a Field Training Officer. Upon completing the FTEP, recruits become fully qualified North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers.
North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Salary and Job Outlook
The base salary for a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper is $34,000 per year.1 Troopers receive increased salaries based on years of service, up to a maximum of $52,000, which is generally reached in the seventh year of service.1 Troopers also receive paid sick days, holidays and vacation, time off for National Guard service, and opportunities for specialized training. After eight years of service, troopers are eligible to apply for promotion to higher ranks, which leads to higher salary tiers.
North Carolina State Highway Patrol
2650 Governors Island Rd
Bryson City, NC 28713
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a college degree to work as a trooper with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol?
What types of law enforcement jobs are there with the NC Highway Patrol?
North Carolina State Highway Patrol Troopers’ primary focus is on traffic safety and enforcement. However, troopers can also be found working in specialized areas like drug interdiction, forensics, alcohol law enforcement, state capitol security, and criminal investigations.
How are applicants to the Highway Patrol Basic School ranked on the eligibility list?
An applicant’s ranking on the initial eligibility list for Highway Patrol Basic School is based on his or her combined score on the fitness standards test and the Law Enforcement Candidate Record (LECR) test. Candidates’ reading comprehension results are not included in the score as the reading test is effectively scored as pass/fail.
1. North Carolina State Highway Patrol: https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/law-enforcement/state-highway-patrol/
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