Skip to content

Va. State Police offering 'pathway to trooper' opportunity

Those 18 to 20 can join as emergency dispatchers, then start process to become troopers at age 21

The Virginia State Police is offering a first-of-its-kind employment opportunity for those interested in becoming state troopers, but are too young to apply.

State police policy requires state-trooper applicants to be 21 years old by the time they graduate from the academy. The agency’s new “Pathway to Trooper” program aims to help people 18 to 20 years old who need to find employment while waiting to apply to the Trooper Basic Session Academy.

Under “Pathway to Trooper,” young adults can join the state police as emergency dispatchers in one of the agency’s seven Emergency Communications Dispatch Centers.

In return, Virginia State Police will reserve a spot for those people in an upcoming academy session once the young adults become eligible to become state troopers.  The reservation is contingent upon applicants’ completing all stages of the state-trooper hiring process.

“We are always looking at ways to get more interested, deserving applicants into the department, “said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police superintendent. “’Pathway to Trooper’ allows young adults, who know they want to be or are just interested in exploring a career as a state trooper, to get their foot in the door early and learn about the department, while waiting for their chance to attend the academy.”

 Young adults choosing to go this route and become emergency dispatchers are eligible for a $5,000 hiring bonus. Emergency dispatcher is a full-time, salaried position with full state health and retirement benefits and paid vacation leave. State police Emergency Communications Dispatch Centers are located in Colonial Heights, Culpeper, Appomattox, Wytheville, Chesapeake, Salem and Fairfax.

Once “Pathway to Trooper” program participants are accepted to the Virginia State Police Academy, they will be eligible for a 10-percent salary increase upon completion of initial training and a $5,000 retention bonus upon completion of basic training at the academy. 

Virginia State Police is continuously hosting new Basic Session Academy classes for state troopers. The department graduated 52 new state troopers from its 140th Basic Session in February.  The 140th Basic Session was the first to graduate both traditional trooper-trainees as well as members of the “Expedited Law Enforcement Certified Academy.”   Members of the Expedited Academy are existing law-enforcement professionals who have already been certified by the Department of Criminal Justice Services. The 141st Basic Session is ongoing and set to graduate Aug. 23.

 Additional information on the “Pathway to Trooper” program is available at Those who are interested may contact a VSP recruiter directly at