A decision by Gov. Josh Shapiro to drop the college credit requirement for Pennsylvania State Police cadets has resulted in a 240 percent surge in applications for the upcoming class, state police officials said.
As the application period closes Tuesday, the Pennsylvania State Police Academy has reported receiving 1,545 eligible applications since the change was implemented on Aug. 28.
Of the applications, 659 applicants, who only hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, would have previously been ineligible, according to state police.
Col. Christopher Paris, state police commissioner, said the credit requirement was scrapped temporarily for this application cycle to “expand opportunities for a rewarding career as a state trooper.”
“This will help us attract quality talent for the comprehensive and rigorous training that prepares cadets for a place among our ranks,” Paris added.
The policy to drop the college requirement will undergo a review after several application periods, officials noted.
Presently, requirements mandate cadet applicants to have at least a high school diploma or GED, and a valid driver’s license. Applicants must be a minimum of 20 years old when applying and between the ages of 21 and 40 upon entering the training academy. By graduation, cadets must reside in Pennsylvania and hold a driver’s license from the state.
Eligible applicants undergo a series of assessments including a written exam, polygraph test, background check, physical fitness test, medical evaluation, and psychological review.
Upon passing those requirements, cadets undergo roughly 28 weeks of rigorous training at the Hershey-based academy, covering areas from Pennsylvania law to physical fitness.
After successful academy completion, cadets earn the title of trooper and see a yearly salary set at $66,911.
On his first days in office, Shapiro, a Democrat, highlighted that nearly 92 of state government roles, which translates to about 65,000 positions, don’t mandate a four-year college degree and removed the requirement.