Steps to Become a Police Officer in New Jersey – NJ Cop Requirements

The first step to becoming a certified police officer in New Jersey is to be hired by an agency. Certification as a police officer requires attending a police academy but only officers already hired are eligible to attend one of the state’s approved academies.

A law enforcement officer cannot receive a permanent appointment without successfully completing the Basic Course for Police Officers and receiving certification by the New Jersey Police Training Commission (


There are two ways to be hired by a police agency in New Jersey, through the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, or through another route called the Chief’s Agency Track. This method is for police agencies that do not use the state’s civil service agency to screen candidates.

For Chief’s Agency Track, you will have to contact individual agencies to find out which method of hiring they use. A good source to find police agencies in the state are the links on the website of (

Candidates using the civil service track must pass the Law Enforcement Examination. Those who pass remain in a hiring pool for two years. The pool of candidates is used by agencies in Civil Service jurisdictions looking for officers to fill positions.

Candidates using the Chief’s Agency  Track will have to pass entry level tests administered by these departments. Usually testing happens only when an opening exists. To find these openings a candidate will have to contact individual agencies.


Candidates who successfully complete the examinations may be hired if they meet minimum requirements. Requirements may differ in the case of Chief’s Agency Track candidates, but for Civil Service jurisdictions they include a minimum age of 18 and a high school diploma or GED equivalent. They requirements also mandate successfully completing the basic training program within 18 months of being appointed a police officer.

All appointees must be U.S. citizens and have a driver’s license. They also will have to pass medical and psychiatric examinations.


The basic training course is comprehensive and academy students will have to achieve a minimum score of 70 percent in all written examinations in 13 functional areas. These are:

  • Professional Development (including morals and ethics)
  • the Criminal Justice System
  • Police Community Relations; Law
  • Legal Requirements of Arrest
  • Search, Seizure, Evidence and Use of Force
  • Vehicle Operations; Emergency Medical Care
  • Weaponry and Unarmed Defense
  • Patrol Concepts; Traffic; Criminal Investigation; and Physical Fitness.

Students must participate in at least 90 percent of total instructional time scheduled and 80 percent of all physical conditional sessions in order to be given a passing grade no matter how well the student has scored on tests.

Only after successfully completing the basic training can an officer apply for certification with the New Jersey Police Training Commission.


According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (2010), a police officer in the state of New Jersey makes between $60,660 – $79,300 per year. However the data collected by BLS aren’t very accurate because it does not record overtime pay or off duty work. These two factors, if included in the data, would increase the average salary of a police officer in NJ.


There are several law enforcement job openings in New Jersey. Simply visit our Career Job Opening or go to the official website of the agency you are interested in to complete an application of employment. Below is a list of all the law enforcement agencies in the state of New Jersey.