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Gov. Josh Shapiro removes college credit requirement for Pennsylvania State Police Academy

A man behind a podium with police officers around him.
Commonwealth Media Services
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro speaks with the press. Governor Josh Shapiro and Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris announced that the PSP will remove the college credit requirement for Pennsylvanians who want to serve as state troopers.

The college credit requirement to enter the Pennsylvania State Police Academy is no longer needed.

The change comes as applicants to the academy are at a low with around 1,800 applicants in its latest class. For contrast, in the 1990s there were around 10,000 applicants per class.

“For nearly 30 years, credit requirements — college credit requirements — have prevented some of the most capable and committed from being able to serve our Commonwealth,” Gov. Josh Shapiro said.

Previously, 60 college credits, typically two years, were required to be admitted as a cadet, according to Colonel Christopher Paris.

Applicants will still need to pass a qualifying exam, complete a polygraph exam, background investigation, physical readiness test and a medical and psychological evaluation.

“During the approximate 28-week training program, these women and men will train incredibly hard and through their dedication and commitment to success, they will enhance their already good characteristics and skills, earning the privilege to graduate to the rank of Pennsylvania State Trooper,” Capt. Jamal Pratt said.

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The most recent class produced 50 troopers, Pratt said. There were 63 accepted, Lt. Myles Sanders said.

“We are looking for those who believe they have what it takes, and for those who are wanting to accept that challenge and want to be a part of this great tradition,” Pratt said.

As to why the applicant pool has dropped so much, Paris speculates it is the operating environment.

“Law enforcement has been the beneficiary of a significant amount of violence across the commonwealth,” Paris said.

Shapiro emphasized the importance of promoting law enforcement jobs as noble professions, but added that if a trooper does not meet the standards, they will be scrutinized.

“We’re going to hold our state troopers and all of our municipal law enforcement to the highest standards,” Shapiro said. “And we’re going to call them out if they don’t meet those standards, of course.”