Sgt. Maurice Raines, post commander of Georgia State Patrol Post 2, sits in his car monitoring I-85 in LaGrange on a weekday in April. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: Hyosub Shin
Photo: Hyosub Shin

How to become a Georgia State Patrol trooper

Georgia State Patrol troopers have the distinction as one of the most respected law enforcement officers in the United States. They carry the responsibility of maintaining public safety on interstate highways, as well as assisting SWAT in Georgia's more rural areas. However, the organization is currently so under-staffed that it is unable to respond to the thousands of wrecks that happen each year.

That's where you come in. If you've been looking for a job in law enforcement, this gig would not only give you an opportunity to work with the elite team, but it would also provide you with the chance to really make a difference.

Here's what you need to know to become a trooper:

Minimum training and experience

The Georgia Department of Public Safety states that candidates must have American citizenship, possess a high school diploma or GED and be 21-years-old by the time the applicant graduates from trooper school.

Pre-employment process

Additonally, hopefuls must pass the pre-employment process which includes a background check, polygraph, oral interview, eye exam and fitness test. Applicants must also pass both a psychological and medical evaluation, as well as other requirements set forth by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.


There are several different ways to meet the education requirement for state troopers in Georgia. Preferred qualifications include completing at least 90 quarter hours or the semester equivalent from an accredited college or university. Applicants could also fit the bill with five years of experience as a certified law enforcement officer or two years of experience as either a police corporal, a Georgia State Patrol dispatcher or trooper cadet in the Georgia Department of Public Safety.


Trooper school is an 18-week training program that is not for the faint of heart. Of the current class of 50 recruits who began training on April 3, 2016, only 27 returned when classes resumed the following Monday morning. On a positive note, the remaining 27 already have job assignments ready for them in various areas of the state.


As of May 2016, the starting pay for a Georgia state trooper is $35,741 and top salary for a trooper who patrols is $48,564.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.