(The Center Square) — Nixing the college degree requirement for Pennsylvania State Police troopers has returned dividends, drawing a surge in applications that’s pushed the agency to open a second hiring round.
After a two-month enrollment period earlier this year, the PSP saw a 258% increase in candidates taking the written exam, the agency announced in a press release.
“We streamlined the process for those who want to serve as a state trooper, and we’re pleased to see people taking advantage of this opportunity,” PSP Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris said. “If you’re willing to work hard to make our communities safer and possess the qualities we value, college credits will not stand between you and a rewarding career among our ranks.”
More than 1,500 candidates were eligible in the first cycle. Of those, 1,000 passed the written exam to move on to the next phase, 600 of whom had no college degree. Before the requirement was dropped, only 900 applicants took the written exam.
Applications for the second hiring round are open until Jan. 31, 2024.
Police shortages statewide have made law enforcement more difficult, and it has attracted legislative attention. Suburban law enforcement have blamed some crime increases on the lax policies of nearby cities. As recently as the 1990s, Pennsylvania State Police would receive 10,000 applications during hiring rounds, but that plummeted to 1,000 in recent years.
Removing the college requirement in Pennsylvania followed the lead of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland, which do not require state troopers to have a degree.
Pennsylvania state troopers must pass more tests and investigations after completing the written examination, then pass a 28-week paramilitary cadet training program. After becoming a trooper, they earn about $67,000 annually.