Recruitment: Applicant Info

Trooper Requirements
(for entry-level and lateral applicants)

The Montana Highway Patrol is looking for highly motivated individuals who can work with minimal supervision and are willing to go the extra mile to assist and protect the driving public. If you are interested in a rewarding career in law enforcement, join some of Montana’s finest men and women in the ranks of the Patrol.

The Patrol only accepts applications during an active “application” period. During this time, we will accept applications from entry-level applicants and lateral applicants.

An entry-level applicant in one who has not graduated the MLEA Basic Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course in Montana and/or does not have any law enforcement experience.

A lateral applicant is someone who meets one of the following requirements:  1. has graduated from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course within the last five years OR 2. possesses a current Basic Law Enforcement POST Certificate (from Montana or another state) AND has been employed in a sworn peace officer position within the last five years.

Minimum Requirements

To apply for a trooper position with the Patrol, you must:

  • have a valid driver’s license from any state and have at least three years’ driving experience at the time of application
  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a Montana resident at the time you are appointed as a sworn trooper
  • be at least 18 years of age at the time of application
  • possess binocular vision of 20/200 uncorrected, which is corrected using glasses or contact lenses to binocular vision of 20/30; 140 degrees peripheral; normal color vision (to sufficiently distinguish red, yellow and green); and normal depth perception
  • be of good moral character and in sound, active physical and mental condition. Applicants with felony convictions that could have resulted in imprisonment in a federal or state penitentiary are disqualified. Misdemeanor convictions for criminal offenses are reviewed on a case-by-case basis
  • be willing to accept an initial assignment in any part of Montana and to work varied shifts, including nights, weekends and holidays, as well as accept call-outs
  • lateral applicants must possess the above-listed requirements in addition to the following:   1. has graduated from the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course within the last five years OR 2. possesses a Basic POST Certificate (from Montana or another state) AND has been employed in a sworn peace officer position within the last five years.

Education/Experience

  • possess a high school diploma or GED at the time of application
  • preferred education and experience (but not required): post secondary education in criminal justice, military police/security experience

All applications will be reviewed for compliance with current Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training (POST) rules and regulations.

Selection Process

Applicants who successfully pass each of the following seven steps qualify for consideration for employment with the Patrol.

  1. Application Screening – Applications are reviewed for completeness, accuracy, education and experience, and minimum requirements. Any applicant who falsifies or withholds any pertinent information will be rejected or dismissed if already employed by the Patrol.
  2. Written Testing and Interview
    • National Police Officer Selection Test:
      • The test takes a total of 75 minutes and is made up of four separately timed sections. The mathematics, reading comprehension and grammar sections are multiple-choice and true or false questions. The incident report writing section requires answers written in complete sentences.
      • Although most of the questions relate to police duty, no prior knowledge of law or law enforcement is needed to answer.
      • Failure to meet the minimum passing score eliminates an applicant from the selection process.
      • A Study Guide for the National Police Officer Selection Test is available to assist applicants prepare for the written test.
    • One-on-one interview – This interview focuses on applicants’ qualifications and suitability for the position.
  3. Panel Interview – Applicants must complete a structured interview involving questions related to a Highway Patrol trooper position.
  4. Job Suitability Testing – Applicants must complete two personality profiles related to their general cognitive abilities and job suitability, and a questionnaire.
  5. Physical Fitness Test:
    • The physical abilities test used is the Montana Physical Abilities Test (MPAT). The MPAT test measures the strength, flexibility and endurance law enforcement officers need to perform the essential functions of their positions.
    • Applicants must meet the Montana Law Enforcement Academy’s physical fitness requirements for acceptance into the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course. Failure to meet this minimum level eliminates an applicant from physical fitness testing and from the selection process.
  6. Background Investigation- Selected applicants must pass an extensive background investigation conducted by the Montana Highway Patrol, including, at a minimum:
    • criminal history records check
    • driving records history check
    • previous employer reference checks
    • credit check
    • fingerprint check
    • verification of application materials and qualifications
    • verification of compliance with the Federal Military Selective Service Act
  7. Psychological Screening, Physical Exam and Physical Fitness Testing – After a conditional offer of employment, selected applicants must pass a psychological evaluation and an in-depth physical and eye examination. Applicants must meet the physical fitness requirements for acceptance into the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course 90 days prior to the commencement of the course.

Education and Training

The curriculum set forth in the following courses is specifically designed to prepare individuals for careers with the Montana Highway Patrol. Selected applicants are required to attend:

  • Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course – 12 weeks of academic and physical training. Successful entry-level candidates attend this course. To graduate from the Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course, recruits must meet all academic and physical fitness requirements.
  • Montana Highway Patrol Advanced Traffic Enforcement Course – an nine-week program that provides continued training in topics and laws specifically related to traffic enforcement. Successful entry-level and lateral candidates attend this course. Highly qualified instructors provide over 300 hours of education and training in the fundamentals of traffic enforcement, including auto theft, crash investigation and criminal interdiction. To successfully graduate from the Advanced Traffic Enforcement Course, recruits must pass all academic requirements and maintain the level of physical fitness required to graduate from the Basic Course.

Field Training and Initial Assignment

Upon appointment, new troopers are placed in a nine-week field-training program with experienced field training officers (FTOs). After successfully completing this training, troopers receive their initial station assignments. Troopers must successfully complete a one-year probationary period to continue employment.

Further Information

For additional information or to be placed on the recruitment mailing list, please contact the Patrol Recruitment Office:

Phone: (877) 8-PATROL toll free, (406) 444-3259
E-mail: mhp@mt.gov