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Old 08-29-2014, 09:09 PM
Location: Northern Virginia
1 posts, read 687 times
Reputation: 10


Currently I am employed as a cartographer in Northern Virginia. I am married, have two children, and am the only source of income. I'm 25 and am starting the process of getting my desired career on track, which is law enforcement. I've been looking into applying to become a state trooper but I'm not sure what states would be best for us.

There is a lot that goes into this with having a family. Would the salary cover our necessary expenses (place to live, car payments, credit cards, ect.)? Last thing I want is to go to an academy and not be able to afford to live. And there is, of course, no guarantee my wife would be able to find a job wherever we go either. Does anyone have any recommendations or advice?

The states we mutually expressed interest in moving to are: Pennsylvania, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and lastly, staying put in Virginia. The only two states we won't move to are California and Alaska, though we'd be open to suggestions for other places that might fit our situation better.

With these states in consideration, where would a trooper's starting salary compare to their cost of living? What are the job markets like? My head in honestly spinning trying to figure all this out and plan, instead of being impulsive. Though it feels more like no matter what we do it will end up being a gamble.
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Old 08-30-2014, 06:25 AM
21,218 posts, read 30,435,315 times
Reputation: 19671
I would say either Massachusetts, Vermont or New Hampshire. It's not very expensive once outside the Greater Boston metro area and those states aren't budget-cut happy like some on your list (PA and FL specifically). All three states have a starting salary in the mid to high 40s for state troopers which should suffice for most areas outside of the urban centers and your wife working a 25K-30K job or better. All three tend to be the safest states in terms of crime rate, and are among the very best in terms of public schools. All three states have somewhat healthy economies as well so having your wife find a job shouldn't be difficult, though like anywhere would depend on the type of job you expected to find. If I had a young family (and had the flexibility to move) I would most certainly focus on those three states.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:21 AM
Location: Schenectady, NY
308 posts, read 403,295 times
Reputation: 332
I agree with Kyle. I would go with either MA or NH. Cheap to live outside Boston area. NH doesn't have state income tax. And New England states are the most unionized which I imagine would help keep your salary and benefits in check as a trooper. I read somewhere that MA has the fastest growing economy in New England.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:32 AM
Location: Wonderland
45,081 posts, read 36,303,462 times
Reputation: 63819
OP, this info page may be very helpful to you as you make your decisions:

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers

Looks like, in general, avoid the deep south or midwest. Looks like, out of your list, Florida and Pennsylvania are the best options. You may want to add Texas, Colorado, and the entire West Coast to your list as well and NY, NJ, CT and DE. I'd take VT, NH, MA and VA off because the pay looks too low in those areas and the COL can be high.

There's a really good COL comparison tool on the main site of this forum. Go to city-data.com and then choose a state. Scroll down to the bottom of the state's info page (lots of GREAT info there, by the way) and you'll find a tool where you can compare the COL between two cities. We've moved fairly often and I've found this tool to be pretty accurate.
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Old 08-30-2014, 09:49 AM
Location: Schenectady, NY
308 posts, read 403,295 times
Reputation: 332
Kathryn with that post though. +1
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:26 AM
56,753 posts, read 81,082,761 times
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Originally Posted by cakecakecake View Post
Kathryn with that post though. +1
I agree and she'll help anyone, which I love. Kyle will as well.

To the OP: With NY, I'd say that Upstate NY will allow for an overall cost of living around the national average, give or take. So, if you are open to looking into NY, is say that would be where to look. You may have to be mindful of whatever type of employment your spouse is looking for too.
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Old 08-30-2014, 01:46 PM
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,467,170 times
Reputation: 12309
Too bad you are rejecting California. The County of Ventura, one of the nicest, will hire you as a Deputy Sheriff Trainee now, with just a high school diploma---yes, that's pre-academy:

Starting Salary: $32.31 per hour

Upon Academy completion, incumbent is eligible for promotion to Deputy Sheriff with a salary of $70,565 annually.


Last edited by nightlysparrow; 08-30-2014 at 02:46 PM..
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