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Skills Needed to Be a State Trooper

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State troopers, or state police, are officers who have jurisdiction to enforce the law statewide, not just in their respective counties or cities. In addition to issuing tickets for traffic violations, state troopers provide training services to small police departments, help protect the governor and aid in the security of state capitol buildings. According to O-Net Online, careers in this field are expected to have rapid growth until 2018.

Education and Experience

Most state trooper department require, at minimum, a two-year degree from a college. Some, however, will require officers to have a four-year degree, depending on the position an applicant seeks in a department. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that good degrees for aspiring state troopers to earn include police science, criminal justice, public administration or justice administration. Post-secondary education will help an aspiring state trooper learn the necessary communication and public relation skills that are vital to this career.

In lieu of a degree, a department may require that those wishing to work as a state trooper have a minimum of two years of experience working as a full-time peace officer. Alternatively, according to the Louisiana State Police website, an applicant may have three consecutive years of active military duty or have worked as a full-time government employee for eight consecutive years.

Requirements will vary by state.

Listening Skills

State troopers must engage in active listening when receiving orders and dealing with the public. An officer who actively listens focuses on what another person is saying, so she can fully understand the subject. The officer asks clarifying questions to understand information relayed, if needed. Additionally, she avoids interrupting others as they speak.

Monitoring, Observation and Perception Skills

A state trooper must have the ability to be aware of his surroundings. This skill will help him notice important information, such as exits in a building, personal characteristics of those around him and the reactions of those he is accompanying. He must also identify irregularities in the behaviors of others or in an environment. By monitoring and observing a situation, a state trooper can perceive a dangerous incident and take the appropriate actions to keep others safe.

Speaking Skills

A state trooper must have the ability to speak well. One of the responsibilities of these officers is to provide information so all who receive it have a clear understanding. Situations in which a state troopers would need to speak clearly include providing directions to those who are lost, asking the right questions when seeking information, directing an individual who is under arrest or providing information to other officers responding to an incident. There may be times, according to O-Net Online, when a state trooper will need to use persuasion or negotiation skills to convince a dangerous person acting in a hostile manner to make good choices.


Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.