This could be the day that changes your life, especially if you're hoping to be a New York State Trooper. The deadline to apply to take the New York State Trooper Examination the exam that determines whether or not a person will be able to apply for a position with the New York State Police is midnight this Saturday, Dec. 1. Trooper Josef D. Walker, state police recruitment officer for Troop B, Ray Brook, stated more than 22,000 people statewide have currently signed up to take the exam, offered every four years. Many have found the state police recruitment Web site, www.nytrooper.com, to be very convenient, and likely a large part of those across the state who have signed up to date, said Trooper Walker. "The Web site has a study guide, a user-friendly video from the most recent [New York State Police Academy] graduation and even training videos," said Trooper Walker, a recruiter for the past seven years. "It's a great resource." In order for applicants to apply to take the state trooper exam which costs $20 per person they must first meet several criteria. Applicants must be 20 years old but not yet turned 30 on the Dec. 1 application deadline. The age limitation, however, may be extended up to six years for those of active military service. In addition, the applicant must be 21 at the time of appointment, after passing the exam and being offered a position. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens with a high school diploma or general educational development, or GED, certificate at the time of application. Prior to entering the state police academy, candidates must have also completed 60 college credit hours at an accredited college or university, the subjects of which do not need to be related to criminal justice. However, 30 college credits may be waived if the candidate has either received an honorable discharge from the U.S. military after two years of active military service or successfully completed a certified police officer training course. The training course must be either approved by or equivalent to a course approved by the New York State Municipal Police Training Council. A certified peace officer training course does not qualify. Those who have passed the exam must also be a New York State resident upon being offered a position, hold a valid New York State driver's license and be willing to work rotating shifts any day of the week, including holidays. Physically, candidates must also be able to pass a physical ability test, which includes sit-ups, push-ups and a one and one-half-mile run, and conform to height and weight standards as set by the state. Those wishing to be troopers must also have uncorrected eyesight no worse than 20/100 in each eye able to be corrected to 20/20 in each eye. Color blindness is a disqualifying factor. The general appearance of a state trooper, said Trooper Walker, is to be both neat and professional. Tattoos and body piercings are only allowed on the body in places not visible when an officer is in uniform. "When I recruit at high schools I tell the kids to think twice before getting a tattoo, because if it's visible in a state police uniform, that automatically disqualifies you unless you have it removed," said Trooper Walker. Overall, those wishing to be New York State Troopers must be of "good moral character," said Trooper Walker. "We want men and women who make sound decisions every day, have good morals, intelligence and ethics," said Trooper Walker. "It doesn't matter how smart you are or how well you do on the exam if you've made bad decisions that come up when we complete our background investigation, you won't be able to become a trooper. It doesn't mean you're a bad person, it's just we're very selective in who should represent us." A criminal record, including felony convictions, is an immediate red flag for state police that would disqualify a candidate from joining the state police, Trooper Walk said. Upon being offered a position, candidates must undergo six months of rigorous training, consisting of both physical and mental challenges. Textbook learning makes up a large part of training, complemented by "real world" scenarios in which cadets must train. "When I went through the academy, we didn't have scenario-based training," recalled Trooper Walker, who has been with the state police more than 20 years. "We sat in a lecture environment for an extended period of time learning laws. I remember graduating my first time on the road was in the field. I asked the trooper I rode with if he didn't mind handling the first couple complaints so I could watch his approach. Troopers now are much more prepared through the academy." Those who have served in the military still have to go through academy training like everyone else, said Trooper Walker, though they tend to be better prepared for the type of work environment they will encounter. "We find military men and women have already been placed through boot camp, which better prepares them to understand the rank structure we also stress as part of our job," said Trooper Walker. In addition, those who have served in the military receive an additional five points added to their trooper exam grade, said Trooper Walker. Once training at the academy is complete, a new trooper is assigned for 10 weeks with a primary field training officer before hitting the road alone, said Trooper Walker. The best advice he can give, said Trooper Walker, is for those interested in become a state trooper to visit the recruitment Web site or contact him directly at 1-315-769-8760. "The best thing to do is get your name in now before the deadline," he said.