How to Become a Private Investigator in New Jersey

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How to Become a Private Investigator in New Jersey

New Jersey is a lovely place with many job opportunities.

One job that many find exciting is being a private detective.

If you’re considering this career path, you should take a look at this article.

It will help you understand more about what being a private detective involves.

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Private Investigator Requirements and Responsibilities

In New Jersey, the State Licensing Board is in charge of giving licenses to private detectives.

This means they need permission to do their job.

To get this, you have to pass a test and follow some simple rules.

Here are the rules:

  • Be at least 25 years old
  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Have a clean record
  • Apply for the test
  • Pass the test
  • Gain some experience

Many investigators take a class to learn more and practice.

If you’ve worked in law enforcement, you might not need a class.

You need at least 100 hours of experience.

Basic tasks include:

  • Observing people by yourself
  • Recording events from a distance
  • Taking clear photos from a distance
  • Staying healthy
  • Understanding what clients need

Private Investigator Training in New Jersey

As we talked about earlier, private investigators aren’t required by law to do any training.

But it’s a good idea to think about it.

Training can help you charge more for your work and make you better at it.

If you’ve taken law enforcement classes or have a related degree, that’s a plus.

Sometimes, any degree can work, even if it’s not directly related.

During training, you’ll learn about the tools you need and which ones you don’t.

Every private investigator might have their own set of tools, such as:

  • Maps
  • Computers, tablets, and similar devices
  • Binoculars
  • Cameras
  • Microphones
  • Cars or motorcycles

You’ll also learn the NATO phonetic alphabet and common words used in the job.

If you’re interested in private investigator training in New Jersey, you might be wondering where to find it.

There are a couple of options listed below.

PI Education

PI Education provides a 70-hour online course for people seeking licensure.

Since it’s online, you’ll need a good computer and internet connection.

Completing the course is equivalent to earning 70 credits.

To enroll, there’s a fee of $399.


NITA offers online classes for people who want to become private investigators.

These classes focus on improving investigative skills and preparing you for the licensing test.

The cost of each class ranges from $99 to $350.

Some classes are specifically designed for those interested in becoming private investigators.

Online programs offer flexibility, allowing you to attend while working or going to school, making it easier to train as a private investigator.

School Name Address
PI Education online school
NITA online school
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in New Jersey

As I mentioned before, to become a licensed private investigator, you have to pass a test and meet some requirements.

But there are some fees to pay for taking the test.

Just applying for the test costs $125, and then the test itself costs an extra $100.

To apply, you’ll also need some documents:

  • Proof that you meet the basic requirements
  • A recent photo of yourself
  • 3 sets of fingerprints
  • Form 46

If your application is accepted and you pass the test, you’ll officially become a licensed private investigator in New Jersey.

License Renewal

Things are not over yet because you have to keep your credentials current.

Every two years, you have to:

  • Keep learning
  • Pay a $300 fee

If you’re late renewing, there’s an extra $200 charge.

You need to complete 16 hours of continuing education classes and keep track of them to renew your license.

Salaries for Private Investigators in New Jersey

After you’ve gotten your license, it’s good to know how much you could make and where you might find work.

For employment opportunities, you’ll have to scroll until you find the FAQ section.

Usually, private investigators across the country earn about 50,902 dollars every year.

In New Jersey, the average yearly pay is around 56,102 dollars.

Check out the table below to see in which cities the pay is higher for private investigators.

You’ll also see the minimum salary PIs in this state earn, as well as how high their earnings can go.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Hoboken $59,802
Weehawken $59,802
Edgewater $59,802
Dumont $58,802
Bergenfield $58,702
Bloomfield $58,702
Passaic $58,702
Cresskill $58,702
Caldwell $58,202
Whippany $58,102

Regional Salary in New Jersey

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Trenton, NJ30$70,210$33.76$134,560$35,460
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Private Detectives and Investigators, OCC Code 33-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do private investigators work in New Jersey?

Private investigators work for:

  • Private investigation and detective agencies
  • As independent contractors

Independent PIs work for:

  • Law firms,
  • Financial institutions,
  • Insurance companies,
  • Corporations,
  • Government agencies,
  • Police departments

What are some of the skills needed by PIs in New Jersey?

These skills are some of the most important for a private investigator:

  • Agility
  • Attention to details
  • Physical strength
  • Discipline
  • Knowledgable of laws and regulations
  • Able to drive
  • Comfortable approaching people
  • Able to use technology and databases

Do all PIs in New Jersey need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

USA Private Investigator by State

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