How to Become a Police Officer in New Hampshire

    New Hampshire is home to just over 1.3 million people.1 This state can be a great place to live and begin a career as a police officer, with beautiful mountains, clear blue lakes, and miles of beaches. Minimum requirements for cops in New Hampshire are set by the state’s Police Standards and Training Council (POST), though cities and towns in New Hampshire can have additional requirements, restrictions, and tests for law enforcement officers. Below you will find a guide to general requirements that apply to all cops in New Hampshire as well as specific guidelines for the state patrol, select police departments, and sheriff’s offices.

    New Hampshire Police Officer Requirements

    The New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council (POST) is responsible for certifying officers to be employed by various municipalities across the state. To begin a career in law enforcement in New Hampshire, applicants must:

    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Have a high school diploma, GED, or state equivalent
    • Have no serious criminal record
    • Have good driving and credit histories
    • Have binocular and near visual acuity of 20/40 (corrected) and far visual acuity of 20/30 (corrected)
    • Have sufficient hearing with an average loss of no more 25 decibels at 500, 1000, 2000, 3000

    Required Examinations

    Potential cops in New Hampshire must pass a background investigation and an intense physical fitness test that is based on Cooper Aerobics Institute Standards. This test includes a one-and-a-half mile run that candidates must complete within the 35th percentile for their age bracket. Applicants must also undergo a medical exam and psychological evaluation to determine their overall ability to function as an officer. Officers in New Hampshire must pass medical and fitness tests every three years to remain certified.

    “Start living the police officer lifestyle early, which means no drugs and limit alcohol consumption. Police are always under scrutiny, so if you want to be a police officer you need to be an upstanding responsible citizen. Make sure that you take care of yourself physically, because you will need to pass physical fitness tests. However, do not forget to take care of your mental and spiritual health, which will make you a much more happier and resilient officer. Maintain your friends outside of the law enforcement community, so that you never forget where you came from.” – Marc G. Beaudoin, Esq., Labor Attorney representing police and fire departments and former lead homicide investigator (Det. Sgt., Ret.) for the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit.

    New Hampshire State Patrol Requirements

    The New Hampshire State Police (NHSP) employs about 400 sworn officers.2 Specialized units include the field operations bureau, investigative services bureau, criminal records unit, marine patrol unit, and the forensic laboratory. State police in New Hampshire can expect an annual starting salary of $51,750.2 Prospective New Hampshire state troopers must meet state guidelines for law enforcement officers and:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Have an associate’s degree from an accredited school or two years of full-time law enforcement and/or military experience
    • Be willing to accept residency anywhere in the state and establish residency in the assigned patrol area upon completion of the academy and acquire a New Hampshire driver’s license within 60 days
    • Have no visible tattoos or body modifications when wearing standard issue uniform
    • Have no history of criminal or unethical behavior

    New Hampshire Sheriff Deputy Requirements

    New Hampshire has 10 counties and each county has a sheriff’s office. The sheriff of each county is an elected official supported by sheriff’s deputies, who are sworn law enforcement officers who handle issues within county jurisdictions such as rural patrol and serving warrants. Sheriff’s deputies in New Hampshire must meet state requirements plus any additional requirements set by the hiring office.

    Rockingham County

    Rockingham County has a population of about 300,000 people.1 The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office (RCSO) is responsible for enforcing evictions, civil orders and writs, civil warrants, and restraining orders as well as fugitive apprehension and transportation, among other duties. RCSO sheriff’s deputies must meet state requirements for law enforcement officers.

    Police Departments in New Hampshire

    In 2017, the annual average salary for police in New Hampshire was $56,560.3 About 3,050 police protect and serve the residents of the state, and while the requirements for each department are similar, they can vary. It’s always best to research a particular department and its requirements before applying.


    The Manchester Police Department (MPD) has six divisions: the administrative division, the community police division, investigative division, legal division, patrol division, and the special enforcement division. The patrol division is the largest with over 130 sworn cops. The department offers officers an annual starting salary of $52,374.4 To join the MPD, Applicants must meet state requirements and:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Not have used marijuana within the past 12 months or any other controlled substances within three years
    • Not have manufactured, transported for sale, or sold a controlled substance
    • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the military


    The Nashua Police Department (NPD) is comprised of over 180 sworn officers.5 Bureaus of the NPD include the detective bureau and uniform field operations. First-year police officers earn $53,130 annually; second-year police officers earn $62,956 annually, with the potential for regular increases thereafter.5 Prospective NPD officers must meet the minimum requirements for police officers in New Hampshire and:

    • Be at least 21 years of age
    • Have a valid driver’s license
    • Meet the department’s proportionate height and weight requirements
    • Not have any convictions for driving while intoxicated during the past 10 years
    • Not have any tattoos or body modifications below the elbow or above the collar line
    “The job of a police officer, no matter whether you are employed by a small town in NH or the NYPD, is about giving back to the community; it’s about being a public servant to those in need; it’s about being a protector of those who can’t protect themselves and about ensuring justice is for all, for everyone in every community. It’s the most rewarding work anyone can do because each day, each contact means you have the opportunity to make someone’s day and perhaps their life better and at times to even save a life; there is no salary that can match that.” – John J. Bryfonski, Chief of Police, Bedford Police Department

    Police Training Academies in New Hampshire

    All law enforcement recruits in New Hampshire are required to complete a 16-week basic training academy class. There is one basic training academies in New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Police Standards & Training Council Academy (PSTC) in Concord, New Hampshire. The PSTC houses training academies for full-time police officers, part-time police officers, and corrections officers as well as continuing education and in-service training for certified officers.

    New Hampshire Police Jobs Outlook

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are currently 3,050 officers and sheriff’s deputies in New Hampshire.3 It is projected that by 2026, that workforce will grow by 4.9%.6 An average of 200 law enforcement job openings per year are expected in the state during that time period.6 Although the cost of living in New Hampshire is almost 15% higher than the national average, the amenities and high quality of life can make this a great state in which to become a police officer.7

    To search law enforcement jobs in New Hampshire, check out our police jobs board.

    “As an ‘applicant,’ keep your nose clean! Go cut your neighbor’s lawn and shovel his snow because he may get a call asking what kind of person you are!” -John Paolucci, retired police officer and forensics expert.

    Police and Sheriff Patrol Officer Salary in New Hampshire

    CityNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
    Nashua, NH-MA460$66,270
    Portsmouth, NH-ME420$53,590

    Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of March 2018.3

    1. US Census Bureau, New Hampshire: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/NH/PST045221
    2. New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of State Police: https://www.nhsp.dos.nh.gov/
    3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Hampshire: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nh.htm
    4. Manchester Police Department: https://www.manchesternh.gov/Departments/Police
    5. Nashua Police Department: http://www.nashuapd.com/
    6. Projections Central: https://www.projectionscentral.org/projections/longterm
    7. Sperling’s Best Places, New Hampshire: https://www.bestplaces.net/cost_of_living/state/new_hampshire