Highway Patrol Officer Career Information, Job Outlook & Salary

Highway Patrol Officer

Highway Patrol Officer Career Overview

Highway patrol officers, also known as state police officers, enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations. Duties include issuing traffic citations, directing traffic and giving first aid at the scene of accidents, and determining the cause of accidents. Highway patrol officers are frequently called upon to render assistance to other law enforcement agencies, especially those in rural areas or small towns.

Highway Patrol Officer Education

A career as a highway patrol officer may require an associate's degree and up to two years of experience in the field or in a related area. Candidates must be U.S. citizens and must pass physical tests and meet specific personal qualifications. Physical tests to enter a law enforcement career often include vision, hearing, strength, and agility. Potential highway patrol officers are typically interviewed to assess their personal characteristics, such as judgment, integrity, and responsibility.

Highway Patrol Officer Employment

Police and detectives held about 861,000 jobs in 2006, with 11 percent employed by state governments. Government spending affects employment prospects, however, new retirees usually balance the need for staff cuts, making layoffs rare.

Highway Patrol Officer Job Description

This job category will grow about as fast as the average rate for overall job growth for all occupations--about 11 percent over the 2006 to 2016 decade. The competition for state jobs is higher than for law enforcement careers in local agencies, and applicants with military experience or a college degree in police science will have the best career opportunities.

Highway Patrol Officer Salary

*The expected salary range for a typical highway patrol officer is $35,000 to $55,000. However, total earnings often exceed the stated salary due to paid overtime wages, which can be significant.

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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