Starting Salary for Highway Patrol in California

by Tim Plaehn ; Updated July 27, 2017
CHP officers provide law enforcement on California's highways.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) provides law enforcement on the state's roads and highways. CHP officers work in the rural parts of California, as well as in the major cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. The application and acceptance process to become a CHP cadet can take up to two years.

California Highway Patrol Academy

The CHP academy is a 25-week program, during which cadets earn a base pay of $4,274 to $5,361 per month, according to the CHP recruiting website in 2011. Cadets are guaranteed at least seven additional hours of overtime per month. Room and board are included during academy training, and a cadet and his family will be covered by medical and dental insurance.

CHP Officer Base Pay

After graduating from the academy, an individual becomes a California Highway Patrol officer. The base pay for a first-year CHP officer is $65,185 per year. A CHP officer is also entitled to other pay incentives and overtime pay. Benefits include medical, vision and dental insurance for an officer and his family. A first-year CHP officer earns 24 hours per month in vacation time.

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Extra Pay Items

A new CHP officer earns several pay items which boost his overall earnings. The pre- and post-shift differential pay is 3.5 percent of base wages. Physical performance pay is $65 per month. The annual uniform allowance is $920. Lunch pay is 6.25 percent of salary. The CHP website calculated a total typical first-year salary including overtime of $83,969. A first-year officer with an advanced peace officer training certificate or a bachelor's degree will earn an additional $3,260 the first year.

Salary Increases

The base salary of a CHP officer increases by 5 percent each year to a maximum of $79,248. Several of the additional pay items are calculated from base pay, so will also increase each year. Additional job duties such as canine work, field training officer, investigating officer or motorcycle officer include additional levels of pay.

About the Author

Tim Plaehn has been writing financial, investment and trading articles and blogs since 2007. His work has appeared online at Seeking Alpha, Marketwatch.com and various other websites. Plaehn has a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

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