How Do I Become a Trooper?




All steps in the Cadet Applicant Process are mandatory and cannot be rescheduled for any reason. Failure to participate in any portion will result in removal from the process.

All notification throughout the process will be made by e-mail only from
Illinois State Police Merit Board Program Director, Emily Fox.
In order to ensure e-mail delivery, please add to your e-mail contact list when applying. Candidates are advised to check “junk” or “spam” files prior to emailing the State Police Merit Board regarding eligibility status. Any e-mail correspondence with the State Police Merit Board should always include applicant’s full name and the last four digits of applicant’s Social Security number.  
Applicants should be prepared to participate in each of the following:
  • Application
  • Recruitment Examination
  • Physical Fitness Inventory Test “PFIT”
  • Background Investigation
  • Oral Interview
  • Certification
  • Medical Evaluation (including drug screening)
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • 26-week Academy Training 

Application – In order to be deemed an acceptable applicant, applicants must meet the Pre-Employment Requirements. Applicants who do not meet the Pre-Employment Requirements at the time of application submission will be disqualified.  Applications must be submitted via the On-Line Application and may be completed anytime throughout the calendar year. Each Application is reviewed by the Illinois State Police Merit Board, it can take several weeks for an application to be processed.

Recruitment Examination – All applicants who meet the minimum requirements will be deemed acceptable, and are instructed by the State Police Merit Board through self-identified e-mail how to schedule their Recruitment Exam at an assigned community college testing center Illinois State Police applicants are administered the Law Enforcement Selection Tool, which is an online exam through a contracted third-party vendor. The LST is one exam which consists of two portions.  The first portion assesses ethic and moral character, work attitudes, and overall employment suitability. The second portion accesses both cognitive (i.e., problem solving) component and an attitude/personality.

Applicants will be given 15 business days to complete their examination at their assigned testing center. Once the 15-day testing period has passed, applicants will receive their Recruitment Exam score via e-mail. Applicants who meet the benchmark score on the Recruitment Exam are placed in the eligibility pool based on their score.  Candidates will remain in the Eligibility Pool until a Cadet Class is scheduled. 

An optional study guide is available for purchase at the link below. Practice tests are also available for purchase. This material is not required to participate in the Recruitment Test. Candidates will be required to take the "LST Exam". 


Physical Fitness Inventory Test “PFIT” – Once a Cadet Class has been scheduled, applicants are selected in rank order from the Eligibility Pool, to participate in the Physical Fitness Inventory Test "PFIT".  The PFIT is conducted by certified Illinois State Police Fitness Monitors, and is a pass/fail test.  The PFIT is mandatory to continue in the Selection Process.  Applicants who do not successfully complete the PFIT or fail to participate will be disqualified from the process and required to reapply. POWER cards are not accepted. The Fitness Test is a four-item, pass or fail test.  Click here to read a breakdown of the four item test and view a video demonstrating each item on the test.   

Background Investigation and Review – Applicants who successfully complete the PFIT will have a thorough, comprehensive background investigation conducted by the Illinois State Police.  The background investigation may include but is not limited to, the following areas: education, personal, and employment reference check; traffic, criminal, and credit history check; and a personal interview conducted by one or more background investigators. Once all background information has been compiled, a Background Review Committee comprised of a State Police Merit Board Member and an Illinois State Police Colonel will meet to review the background investigation to determine whether an applicant advances to oral interviews. Polygraph testing may be required at this, or any other stage of the Selection Process.

Oral Interview – Applicants deemed eligible by the Background Review Committee will be invited to participate in the Oral Interview. The Oral Interview consists of two parts.  The first part consists of an interview with a Merit Board member and an Illinois State Police Colonel.  The second part includes a written assignment and an oral presentation to a panel of Illinois State Police Officers.  An individual Oral Interview takes approximately one and a half hours to complete. Qualified Applicants are ranked based on the Oral Interview scoring after this step of the process.

Certification – Applicants who successfully complete all of the above steps will be certified as a qualified applicant for appointment as a sworn officer to the Illinois State Police.  The Board may certify more applicants than there are vacant positions at the time of certification.  Certified applicants shall be eligible for appointment for a period of time designated by the Board. After certification, the Illinois State Police will make a conditional offer of employment to enough applicants to fill the vacant positions in the next scheduled Cadet Class. Applicants are then scheduled for a medical examination, psychological examination, and drug screening.  The exams are administered by the Illinois State Police.

Appointment – Applicants appointed to a Cadet Class will be required to successfully complete PFIT the first week during Academy training.  The academy is a 26-week, para-military environment. Cadets are required to stay Sunday-Friday. During the training period, cadets are furnished lodging, meals and most necessary supplies and equipment. Most weekends, cadets are free to travel home.

NOTE:  The Applicant Process procedures are subject to change at any time.