Are you someone who enjoys solving puzzles and has a knack for uncovering hidden information? Do you have a strong sense of curiosity and a passion for seeking the truth?

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If so, becoming a private investigator in New Jersey might be the perfect career for you! As a private investigator, you will have the opportunity to work on a variety of cases, from tracking down missing persons to investigating insurance fraud. In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know to become a licensed private investigator in the state of New Jersey.

Should I Become a Detective in New Jersey?

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a detective in New Jersey, there are several advantages to consider. First, detectives enjoy a challenging and fulfilling job that offers the opportunity to serve and protect the community. Additionally, detectives in New Jersey can earn a competitive salary and enjoy excellent benefits, as well as opportunities for career growth.

  • Education
  • Area of Study/Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2021)-National
  • Job Outlook (2020-30)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2021)-New Jersey
  • High School Diploma ora GED (General Educational Development) Certificate.
  • Law Enforcement,Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, Crime Scene Analysis, Judicial Function, etc.
  • N/A
  • Required
  • Critical Thinking, Monitoring and Observation, , Problem Sensitivity, Coordination, Photo Imaging.
  • $ 59,400 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • 14% (Police and Detectives)
  • $ 60,100 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)

Sources: O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The day-to-day responsibilities of a detective, as with most careers in law enforcement, involve considerable risk. Because criminal confrontation is a frequent part of the job, dangers of injury as well as death are never too far away. Furthermore, the work hours tend to be long but most detectives are compensated for overtime.

Job Description of Private Investigator and Job Opportunities

Job DescriptionJob Opportunities
Conduct surveillance on individuals or businessesPrivate investigation agencies, law firms, corporations
Investigate crimes, gather evidence and interview witnessesLaw enforcement agencies, government agencies
Find missing persons and locate stolen propertyInsurance companies, private investigation agencies, law firms, government agencies
Investigate and prevent fraudInsurance companies, financial institutions, government agencies

Top sectors for private investigators in New Jersey include insurance, legal, and corporate investigations.

Best Degree Programs for Investigators and Detectives in New Jersey

Degree Program

Degree TypeCoursesDuration
Criminal JusticeBachelor’sCriminal Investigation, Forensic Science, Criminal Law and Procedure4 years
Forensic ScienceBachelor’sCrime Scene Investigation, Evidence Collection and Analysis, Forensic Biology and Chemistry4 years
Criminal Justice – Investigative ServicesMaster’sInvestigative Techniques, Legal Issues in Investigations, Crime Scene Analysis2 years

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects Police and Detective jobs to increase by 5% between 2019 and 2029. One of the major reasons for this will be the constantly growing public safety concerns. However, the availability of employment opportunities will also depend on police budgets and existing crime rates.

Steps to Become a Detective in New Jersey

Following is the step-by-step procedure of becoming a detective in New Jersey. Aspiring detectives normally begin their careers as police officers. They work in this role for some time before being promoted.


To apply for employment with a police department in New Jersey, you need at least a High School Diploma or the equivalent General Educational Development (GED) Certificate. Some units may demand higher educational credentials.
Besides, aspiring detectives can benefit from obtaining specialized post-secondary education.In this regard, you are recommended to go for an Associate’s or aBachelor’s degree in Criminal Law, Criminology, Forensic Science, Judicial Function, or a related field if possible.

Clear the Initial Selection Process

Once you submit your employment application at any police department in New Jersey, they will assess your candidacy through a number of tests. These normally include an initial written exam, physical and medical evaluation, background investigation, polygraph examination, drugs test, etc.

Complete Training at the Police Academy

After passing the initial selection phase, you will train for about 6 months at your chosen police academy. When the training is complete, you will be eligible to join the force as an officer.

Work as a Police Officer

To be eligible for promotion to the rank of detective, you will have to work for a specific number of years as a police officer. This requirement varies for different police departments.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Detective in New Jersey?

It usually takes around 6 or more years. The initial selection and training process lasts for 1.5 to 2 years. After that, you have to gain the necessary work experience as a police officer to be eligible for promotion as a “Detective.”

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Detective in New Jersey?

You need to meet the following conditions to become a Detective in New Jersey.

  • Must be at least 18. Different police departments around the state may have slightly varying age requirements.
  • Should be a legal US citizen.
  • Possess a High School Diploma or a GED Certificate. Higher qualifications may be required by some police units.
  • Should not have a criminal record of any kind.
  • Possess a valid New Jersey driving license.
  • No dishonorable discharge for candidates with military background.
  • Gain the necessary experience as a police officer.

How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Detective in New Jersey?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean wage of Private Detectives and Investigators in New Jersey in 2021 was $60,100, slightly higher than the national estimate of $59,400. The projected growth for the job between 2020 and 2030 in New Jersey is 14%, according to O*Net Online.

The reason for this growth is due to the increasing need for private investigators in various sectors such as insurance, legal, and corporate investigations. Additionally, the rise of online scams and fraud has also led to an increase in demand for investigators who specialize in cybercrime.

Becoming a private investigator in New Jersey can be a rewarding career choice for those who have a passion for uncovering the truth and solving complex cases. With a variety of job opportunities and strong growth projections, this profession can offer a promising future for those interested in pursuing it.

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