Teaching is one of the most important and rewarding careers you can choose, but you cannot reach your goal in New Jersey without knowing the steps to becoming a certified teacher. There are multiple routes to obtaining a teaching position in this state, but each of them requires becoming a certified teacher.
Requirements for certified teachers in New Jersey
Becoming a certified teacher in New Jersey is typically accomplished by completing an education degree program and then submitting an application for a New Jersey teaching certification. If you’re going to school in New Jersey, the state requires you to complete an approved program in the area in which you are seeking teaching certification at one of the approved colleges. This could mean obtaining an instructional certificate in elementary education or Educational Services Certificate in School Occupational Therapist, as examples. Alternatively, you could attend an out-of-state four-year program at a regionally-accredited institution that is a member of one of six Regional Institutional Accrediting Organizations.
You must submit official transcripts upon completion of a program along with a web application, oath of allegiance, and application test scores. Required tests vary by your area of study; they may include the PRAXIS II Content Knowledge exam, or exams for oral proficiency ESL, bilingual endorsements, or world languages. Additionally, you must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene.
There are several options for obtaining a New Jersey teaching certification that would allow you to teach with or without completing a teacher preparation program. The first type of certificate is a certificate of eligibility (CE). There are two routes to obtaining this certification: traditional and alternative.
The traditional certification route gets you a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS). This certificate is for people who have completed a teacher prep program. If you have a CEAS, you may look for a job as a teacher in New Jersey and accept a position at a public school. A CEAS is not for individuals who already have a standard teaching certificate in New Jersey or who have done a year of full-time teaching using an out-of-state certificate.
The alternate route gets you a Certificate of Eligibility (CE) without finishing a teacher prep program. The credential is valid for your lifetime. You can apply for and accept a position as a teacher at New Jersey public schools that require certification.
New Jersey jobs for licensed teachers
Once you have earned a CE or CEAS and obtained a full-time job, your employing school district will apply for a Provisional Certificate for you in order to legalize your employment. These certificates are valid for two years. If you have an alternate route CE, you must also complete formal instruction through a Provisional Teacher Program (PTP).
The Standard Certificate is a permanent certificate awarded to people who meet all state certification requirements. You must complete a PTP and have an instructional certificate from New Jersey (such as the Provisional Certificate) or at least one year of experience teaching full-time under an out-of-state instructional certificate.
Non-U.S. citizens who wish to teach in New Jersey can get a Non-Citizen Standard Certificate, which is good for five years. Applicants must meet all state certificate requirements and be working toward U.S. citizenship to be allowed to renew their license.
For people who wish to work as substitute teachers, a county substitute certificate will allow you to temporarily replace certified teachers when there are not enough to staff a school.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for New Jersey for the 2015-2016 school year:
- Elementary with Subject Matter Specialization
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Special Education
- World Languages
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Teaching license reciprocity in New Jersey
New Jersey participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.
Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.