Detectives, also sometimes called “Investigators,” have specific responsibilities within a police force. These include observing a crime scene, tracking suspects, interviewing witnesses, analyzing all case-related data, conducting raids on criminal hideouts, etc.

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According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Jersey had more than 4,250 active First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in 2020. Do you want to join this profession? Here is what you need to know about becoming a Detective in The Garden State.

Should I Become a Detective in New Jersey?

  • Education
  • Area of Study/Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2020)-National
  • Job Outlook (2019-29)
  • Annual Mean Salary (2020)-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.
  • $97,180 (First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)
  • $141,880 (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.

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?

Going by the latest available records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in New Jersey earned an annual mean wage of $141,880 in 2020.This is the second highest mean salary among all states in the US, coming in after only California.

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