How to Become a Police Officer in PA

For those who want to discover how to become a police officer in Pennsylvania, the principal aspect to consider is whether they intend to work for the municipal police departments or to become state law enforcement agents. Choosing the career path prior to the application is important because the regulations for this two types of Pennsylvania officers vary and so do the training methods.

To put it simply, state troopers in Pennsylvania are required to follow the courses of state police academies. On the other hand, aspiring municipal law enforcement agents need to attend training programs which are regulated by Act 120. Let’s find out more about the differences of how to become a police officer in Pennsylvania through these two separate pathways.

Municipal Law Enforcement Agents

An applicant to the learning programs regulated by Act 120 must abide by the following requirements:

  • He must possess a valid US citizenship
  • The age at the time of the application must be minimum 21
  • His driving license needs to be valid in the state of Pennsylvania
  • No criminal background uncovered following the verification (no convictions over 3rd degree misdemeanors)
  • High school diploma/GED equivalent
  • He must be physically fit

State Troopers and State Law Enforcement Agents

Slightly different from the municipal Act 120 programs, aspiring state law enforcement agents should meet these extra criteria:

  • He must possess an Associate’s Degree diploma from a relevant field or a minimum of minimum 60 credits
  • The minimum age at the time of the application is 20, the minimum age for the appointment is 21
  • Certain waivers for the educational requirements apply in the eventuality that the applicant has already completed an Act 120 regulated training/military service
  • Residency at the time of the appointment is within the state of Pennsylvania

The Training of Law Enforcement Agents

The training of the municipal officers is generally shorter (around 754 hours) than in the case of the state troopers. However, irrespective of the length of the training program, they are still required to complete each course and obtain a score over 75/100 in each of the 18 study subjects.

In the case of state troopers, the candidate who has successfully passed the background verifications, the medical/psychological/physical evaluations and the polygraph test will receive the cadet status and will enroll in the training course that lasts around 18 months. The training which is conducted by the state police academy is quite intensive and it is essentially a paramilitary program. Upon graduation, the cadet receives the probationary trooper status.

Salaries and benefits of a Police Officer in Pennsylvania

While municipal police officers in the state of Pennsylvania should expect to earn approximately 40,000 dollars after passing the probationary period, the state troopers will earn around$ 58,000 at entry level, which is only normal considering the responsibilities and the training period of each category. Both categories of law enforcement agents are eligible for group healthcare plans, but the state troopers also receive medical insurance for the eligible members in their family.


For more information on becoming a police officer in PA, visit the Pennsylvania state police website or call (717) 772-1436 .

Click here to check out the various police officer jobs in Pennsylvania.

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