Apply to the Pennsylvania State Police Drug Recognition Expert Training Program

If you want to apply to be certified as a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), download the application and submit it by mail, fax, or email to the DRE Coordinator.


The Drug Evaluation and Classification Program (DEC) focuses on training law enforcement officers to recognize when someone has been driving under the influence of drugs and how to identify the type of drug causing impairment.

The DEC Program was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and approved by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Upon completion of their initial training, officers are certified as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs).

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) DEC program started in 2004. We are currently providing training to State Police Troopers and officers from Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies. PSP is responsible for ensuring the standards and guidelines of the program are being adhered to and the training is offered statewide.

Although the focus of the DRE training is on the identification of the drug-impaired driver, DRE skills are applied to many different law enforcement objectives. For example, DREs are frequently called upon to differentiate between drug influence and medical and/or mental disorders.

DRE Training

To receive certification as a DRE, two phases of training must be completed.

Academic Training

Typically conducted over two weeks (72 classroom hours), this phase includes coursework in:

  • Physiology
  • Vital signs
  • Standardized field sobriety testing (SFST)
There is extensive instruction about each of the seven categories of the drugs of abuse.

The training includes:

  • Three written examinations
  • SFST proficiency examination
  • Five written quizzes

Students must achieve a minimum of 80% on each of the three examinations and must demonstrate proficiency in administering the SFST to progress to the certification phase. The academic training is conducted using creative, participant-centered teaching techniques.

Certification Phase

Upon successfully completing the academic portion, all students will be scheduled to attend the certification phase for at least 10 consecutive days. It is the student's responsibility to complete the certification requirements within a six-month period following the DRE school. The requirements of this phase include:

  • Conducting a minimum of 12 drug influence evaluations while under the supervision of a DRE instructor
  • Identifying subjects under the influence of three of the seven drug categories
  • Attaining a 75% toxicological confirmation rate.

In addition, the student must maintain a progress log, rolling log, and submit a quality resume. Finally, the student must pass a comprehensive final knowledge examination which takes approximately eight to twelve hours, and obtain the written endorsement of two certified DRE instructors.

DRE certification is valid for two years. To maintain certification, DREs must conduct a minimum of four evaluations within this time period, submit a rolling log, submit a current resume, and attend eight hours of recertification training.

Training Prerequisites

  • Certified NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Practitioner
  • Certified NHTSA Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor
  • Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE)

Certified Class A Breath Test Operator is preferred, but not required.


Due to limitations on class size, program requirements, and funding availability, not all applicants are selected to attend. All applicants will receive a written letter of acceptance or denial at least 14 days prior to the start of training.

Interested candidates may download the PSP Training DRE Candidate Application and submit via mail, email, or fax to:

Pennsylvania State Police DRE Coordinator
Corporal Nicholas Zulick
1800 Elmerton Avenue
Harrisburg PA 17110

FAX: 717-346-9796

The International Drug and Evaluation Classification Program
DRE Data System