Careers in Law Enforcement

In New Jersey, roughly half of the law enforcement agencies fall under the Civil Service (Department of Personnel; Title 11) regulations, while the other half hire according to local ordinance or regulation. All Department of Personnel agencies require applicants to take the statewide Civil Service Examination; non-DOP departments have varying hiring processes, usually including an examination. The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police administers many of these exams; a schedule is posted on the Association website. If you have an interest in working for a specific agency or department, contacting them directly is a good first step in finding out the exact requirements and process for applying for a position. 

Click Here for Schedule of Upcoming Non-Civil Service Entry-Level Exams

Entry-Level Law Enforcement Titles
Municipal Police Officer
County Police Officer
Campus Police Officer
Transit / Bridge Police Officer
Park Police Officer
Police Officer (Health Care Facility)
Housing Police Officer
State Police Trooper
Sheriff’s Officer
State Ranger
Police Officer (Palisades Interstate Park)
County Corrections Officer
State Correction Officer
State Correction Officer (Juvenile Justice)
County Prosecutor’s Detective / Investigator
State Investigator


The New Jersey Police Training Commission has granted approval to police academies in this state to conduct the Alternate Route Basic Course for Police Officers. This program permits qualified applicants to apply for admission to an approved academy for the purpose of participating in the Basic Course for Police Officers.


New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police: - - 856.334.8943
New Jersey State Police: - - 609.882.2000 ext. 6400
“How to Apply to the NJ State Police” -  
New Jersey Department of Corrections: - - 609.943.5770
Newark Field Office, Federal Bureau of Investigations -  973.792.3000

Qualifications for Becoming a Law Enforcement Officer

New Jersey law sets the basic requirements for becoming a law enforcement officer. However, potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact agencies directly to enquire as to any specific requirements for employment.

In general, no person may be appointed to a police department unless he or she:
  • is a citizen of the United States
  • is sound in body and of good health sufficient to satisfy the board of trustees of the police and firemen's retirement system of New Jersey as to his eligibility for membership in the retirement system
  • is able to read, write and speak the English language well and intelligently
  • is of good moral character, and has not been convicted of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude
  • shall not be less than 21 or over 35 years of age [Civil Service rules have some exemptions and alternate provisions in this regard]

The general requirements for appointment to the New Jersey State Police are as follows:
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on the date of the written examination and must not reach their 35th birthday prior to the graduation dater of the State Police class for which they are applying
  • Applicants must be a citizen of the United States to be eligible to take the examination, and must be a resident of the State of New Jersey at the time of graduation from the State Police Academy
  • Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree or 60 semester college hours plus at least two years of satisfactory employment or military experience
  • Applicants must have a good reputation and be of sound moral character.

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Our Mission

To promote and enhance the highest ethical and professional standards in law enforcement at all levels throughout New Jersey