Washington State Patrol - Click banner to view WSP Home Page
Apply Now

Trooper Career arrow Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any question to reveal the corresponding answer and then click on the question a second time to hide the answer.

If you have any additional questions about becoming a WSP Trooper, please email us at TrooperCareer@wsp.wa.gov


  • Where is the WSP Academy located?
  • Do cadets live at the Academy during training?
    • Yes, cadets are provided meals and lodging during Academy training and must stay at the Academy Monday through Friday. Cadets may stay at the Academy during the weekend, but will be responsible for their own meals since the dining hall is closed on the weekends.
  • What type of housing is available while I'm at the Training Academy?
    • The WSP Academy is located in Shelton, Washington, and situated amid 190 acres of evergreen forests with occasional vistas of the Olympic Mountains. Initially dedicated in 1969, the training complex includes: an administration building, dormitories for 96 live-in students, a multi-purpose building with a gymnasium and water training tank, a kitchen and dining hall, an outdoor firing range, a driver training course, an auto shop, as well as several classrooms and conference rooms. The facility can accommodate up to 120 students each day for training and meetings.
  • Can I have visitors while at the Academy?
    • No, however, the Academy may provide an open house for family members.


    WSP Cadet Testing Unit is Now Accepting Online Applications

  • Using NEOGOV at careers.wa.gov. To apply via NEOGOV, click here.
  • What happens after I apply?
    • After your application has been received, it will be reviewed and you will receive a letter from our office within 24 hours.
  • How long does it take to become a trooper?
    • Once hired, cadets must complete a 7-week Arming Class. A few cadets may be selected to attend a Trooper Basic Training Class immediately following Arming Training. The majority of cadets, however, will be assigned to a field assignment and will compete for a position in the following Trooper Basic Training Class.
    • Following a rigorous selection process, trooper cadets attend a 26-week basic training course. After successfully completing basic training, cadets trade their classrooms for eight weeks of practical instruction with experienced training officers throughout the state. After successfully completing the classroom and practical phases of training, the cadets graduate as commissioned troopers and launch their careers by going to specific assignments in one of the WSP's eight districts.
    • Prior to going with their training officers, cadets are given their top three choices of where they want to be stationed once graduating. This is looked at and factored into your geographic placement on graduation day.
  • How long does the process take from the time of application to selection?
    • Placement doesn't mean you are permanently assigned there. Trooper's get one transfer in their probationary year to another district and may be on three different transfer lists once commissioned. Many troopers transfer throughout their careers around the State at their discretion.
  • How long does the process take from the time of application to selection?
    • Approximately three to four months

Background Questionnaire

  • Are there any exceptions to the drug standards?
    • No, any usage outside of those standards is a disqualifier.
  • The personal history and background questionnaire asks about my neighbors, what if I don't know them?
    • Part of the background check is to contact your neighbors, if you don't know them, you will need to go introduce yourself and get their information for the background questionnaire. We are unable to begin the background investigation without the questionnaire being completed in its entirety.
  • What information will I need for my background investigation?
  • What are some factors that may lengthen my background investigation?
    • Difficulties contacting your references
    • Incomplete Background Questionnaire
    • References not returning calls
    • Using references that do not know you well enough to answer questions

Benefits & Salaries

Career Opportunities

  • What type of assignments are the cadets assigned to?
    • Cadets are assigned to a variety of assignments throughout the state. For example, cadets provide security on the Capitol CampusAdobe PDF Format, Labor and Industries Headquarters, or Homeland Security.
  • If hired, do I have a choice where I will be assigned?
    • Cadets provide the Academy staff their wish list on where they would like to be assigned following Trooper Basic Training. The Academy Commander determines final trooper assignments and takes into consideration the employee's wishes/needs and department's needs. Final placement is at the discretion of the Employer based on its operational needs. All applicants must be willing to accept statewide assignments.
  • What kinds of career opportunities are available?
  • When can I apply for a specialty position (SWAT, Aviation, K-9, Motors)?
    • Troopers can apply for specialty positions such as SWAT, detectives, Academy Instructors, Motorcycle Officers, K-9 officers, etc. The announcements for these positions are published internally in a daily bulletin to all employees. Each announcement outlines its own selection process.


  • Do you have a lateral entry program for currently certified police officers?
    • No, law enforcement officers from other agencies/states must apply and successfully complete training at the Academy to be a trooper.
  • I have a secret clearance from the military. Do I still have to go through the background process?
    • Yes, all applicants must complete a polygraph and background investigation during the second phase of testing.
  • Can I go on a ride along?
    • Ride-a-longs are usually granted on a case-by-case basis to those who are currently in the hiring process to become a trooper. Please contact the local recruiter in your district to schedule a ride-a-long.
  • How do I get a copy of my driving record, how much does it cost?
    • You may obtain a copy of your complete driving record on-line, in person or through the mail. For more information, please visit the Department of Licensing web site.
  • What happens if my name is placed on the Eligibility List for Employment?
    • Applicants who make it to the Eligibility Roster (E-List) can remain on the E-List for 1 year. The E-List gives the Patrol a pool of candidates to choose from when filling classes. Advancing to the E-List is not an offer of employment.
    • Candidates who are provided a conditional job offer must successfully pass a psychological and medical examination prior to being hired by the WSP.


  • How do I get in touch with a recruiter?


  • What are the minimum requirements to become a trooper?
  • Are there any age restrictions?
    • You must be at least 19-1/2 years old to apply.
  • Testing

    • When do you test?
    • Can I just show up to take the written test?
    • When will I know if I pass the test(s)?
      • You will know the same day if you pass or fail your physical fitness and written exam.
    • What does the physical fitness test entail?
    • Do you have to do a Physical Fitness Test at the written test (Phase I)?
      • Yes, you will participate in a physical performance test during Phase I testing. Please visit the Trooper Cadet Testing Process web page for additional information.
    • What do I wear during the Testing Process?
      • Phase 1 Testing – Wear athletic clothing
      • Phase 2 Testing – Business attire
      • Phase 3 Testing – Business attire
      • Phase 4 Testing – Business attire
    • What do I need to bring with me to testing?
      • Phase 1 Written/ Physical Fitness Exam
      • Phase 2 Polygraph/ Background
      • Phase 3 Oral Board
        • Driver's license
        • Social Security Card
      • Phase 4 Psychological/ Medical Exam
        • Information will be provided during conditional offer of employment phase.

Back to Top