The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) has recently announced the removal of the 60 college credit requirement for cadet applications in a bid to broaden opportunities for prospective state troopers.
The decision to lower the bar for hiring standards, backed by Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris, is expected to diversify the pool of applicants and address the ongoing staffing shortages faced by municipalities across the state.
Governor Shapiro, who has been advocating for a shift in hiring practices across various government agencies, said the administration would focus on candidates’ skills and work experience as essential qualifications.
“Policing is a noble profession, and this is the finest law enforcement agency in the nation. We need to show those who want to serve that this door of opportunity is open — and we want you on our team,” the governor stated.
For decades, cadet applicants were required to hold a minimum of 60 college credits. The removal of this requirement is effective immediately.
Commissioner Paris said the move addresses the urgent need for more police officers in the state.
“Filling the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police with women and men dedicated to serving the people of Pennsylvania is of the utmost importance. The elimination of the college credit requirement will open the door to a rewarding career for many who would make exemplary troopers but would not have otherwise had the opportunity,” Paris said in a statement.
Under the revised application criteria, candidates must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate, a valid driver’s license and be at least 20 years old at the time of application. Upon entry into the training academy, applicants must be between 21 and 40 years old and meet Pennsylvania residency and driver’s license requirements.
The intensive cadet training program, lasting approximately 28 weeks, encompasses a range of coursework, including Pennsylvania’s laws and vehicle codes, law enforcement principles and practices, firearms training and physical fitness.
Successful applicants will undergo a thorough evaluation process, including a written examination, polygraph test, background investigation, physical readiness assessment, medical screening and psychological evaluation prior to commencement of training.
According to PSP officials, the decision to waive the college credit requirement will be evaluated over multiple application cycles to assess its impact and effectiveness.
In response to the change, the initial application pool following the announcement saw a total of 297 applicants, with 137 candidates who previously would not have met the college credit requirement.