When you think back on your education, is there a favorite teacher who stands out to you? During the time, everyone loves the teacher who slacks off and plays movies in class. However, once your schooling days are over, the teacher who always comes to mind is the tough one who challenged their students and inspired them to reach their full potential.
Sure, their class was never a breeze, and they never gave out an easy A. But what they did share with the class was their energy, time, and passion for knowledge. That’s what made them such a great educator. Teachers who invest their time and energy into the next generation and have the ability to inspire a love of learning have the power to change lives, and if you are considering becoming a teacher yourself, get ready for the ride of your life.
Maggie Gallagher once said, “Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher." While teaching is never considered an easy profession, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. And there is no better time than the present to start your path to becoming a teacher in New Jersey. Teachers are in high demand all across the country, which means you’ll be met with an eager faculty and competitive salaries when the time comes to start applying for jobs.
However, before you can start deciding how to decorate your classroom, you need to make sure you meet all of the requirements to become a New Jersey teacher. Below you will find a step-by-step guide to becoming a teacher in New Jersey, whether you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, a degree in another field, or no degree at all yet. With this article in mind, you will be well on your way to becoming a teacher in New Jersey.
The U.S. News and World Reports has ranked preschool through grade 12 education in the state of New Jersey as #2 in the nation. The state’s education system is setting the pace for education across the nation with rankings as #3 for high school graduation rates, and rankings in the top tier for NAEP or National Assessment of Education Progress scores. For higher education, the state of New Jersey ranks # 4 for graduation from college in four years with public college education costs at about $13,000. With the beautiful Atlantic coastline, regions of farm and mountainland, and neighboring hubs of New York and the Delaware to DC corridor, the state of New Jersey has much to offer individuals, families, businesses and prospective educators. On an annual basis, there are about 850 new teaching jobs available with a projected annual growth rate of 4.5%.
Becoming a teacher in New Jersey involves a number of steps that you will take to obtain the proper education, training, practical experience, and demonstration of the credentials necessary for this important responsibility. The standard New Jersey teaching certificate requires the completion of 24 credit hours of coursework. As part of your training, you must complete a semester or 12 weeks of clinical field experience, or student teaching in which you gradually take on the full responsibilities of teaching class. The clinical experience requirements will be extended to two semesters in 2018.
If you are interested in teaching at the secondary level or grades 6-12, you will need to identify your areas of content specialization. Teachers of special education students will need to complete courses that are designed to train them to work with students with exceptionalities. Career and technical education teachers have routes they can take to achieve their credentials as well. Careers in school administration will involve further education.
The state of New Jersey has identified two pathways to achieve teacher certification: The Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) and the Certificate of Eligibility (CE) path for students who did not plan to become a teacher when they were in college. An equivalent to the Certificate of Eligibility is the Alternate Path that is a hybrid program of experience and coursework that leads to permanent certification. Future teachers who are on the CAES pathway will choose to attend a credentialed educator preparation program that culminates in a student teaching experience before being hired as a teacher.
Individuals who are seeking New Jersey teaching credentials on the CE pathway are already employed as teachers through specific educator training programs. Provisional certificates are issued to persons entering the field of teaching when they are first employed. The teacher with the provisional certificate must be mentored for a minimum of 30 weeks by a certified teacher in the district.To qualify for a standard certificate you must be evaluated based on the AchieveNJ instrument utilized in your district/school and receive two effective or highly effective final ratings within a three-year span.
The projected population growth in New Jersey is still growing at a rate of 0.5 percent each year. By 2030, about twenty-one percent of the population will be under the age of 18 years. The demographics of the population will be shifting such that there will be many more persons of Hispanic and Asian membership. Nearly twenty-seven percent of the population will identify themselves as Hispanic by 2030. The Asian population is expected to grow from about 8-13 percent.
Like the rest of the nation, New Jersey recognizes the need for young people to be prepared to enter careers with high levels of knowledge and skill in science and mathematics. Officials in New Jersey have projected that, by the year 2025, there will be a need to fill more than 200,000 jobs in STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields. New Jersey has the largest concentration of scientific professionals of any state. Through the collaboration of business, higher education and public education, the state is working to attract young people into STEM careers, starting with programs reaching children in the fourth grade.
New Jersey is experiencing a teacher shortage that is evident in urban and rural areas. It is believed that the teaching shortage in New Jersey is due to a combination of factors, including mandated class size standards, shifts in enrollments, and the attrition of existing educators. The areas of critical shortage in New Jersey are Special Education, World Languages; English as a Second Language (ESL), Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Mathematics and Science. With the state’s shifting demographics and future orientation to science and mathematics, it is apparent that there is a tremendous need for teachers who have specialized skills in these instructional areas.
As mentioned earlier, there are two pathways to obtaining a New Jersey teaching certification. We will explore those pathways in more detail.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in education, your undergraduate program will have provided you with the required courses and student teaching experiences to move forward in your certification process. There are additional steps that you must take, however, to become a certified teacher in New Jersey as seen here:
The second phase of qualifications will require you to find a teaching position where you are supervised. You will need to find employment and register with the state’s provisional teaching process or PTP while you are supervised by a certified teacher for three years. During this probationary period, you will be evaluated by your administrator and must be rated with an effective performance for two out of three years to qualify to move forward in your career as an educator.
The third stage is to obtain the recommendation of your supervisor to proceed to obtain the standard teaching certificate. You will then move forward with completing your application with the state, completing their documentation and fees.
The next steps to teacher certification with a bachelor’s in education from an accredited university:
Your school district will register on your behalf with the Provisional Teaching Process with the State Department of Education. Your school district will also provide you with a mentoring teacher who is certified. You must be mentored for a minimum of 30 weeks by the certified teacher. You must then obtain a satisfactory rating by your administrator for two years based on the AchieveNJ Teacher Evaluation process. A Record of Satisfactory Performance from must be completed by your district or school.
Go to the New Jersey Teacher Certification Information System Online to complete your application for the Standard certificate and check on your application status.
Congratulations! You have a permanent teaching certificate!
There are alternative pathways for becoming a teacher in New Jersey if you majored in something other than education as an undergraduate. Begin by identifying what you want to teach and the additional training you will need to obtain to meet the certification requirements. You must demonstrate basic skills by taking the Praxis examination or by demonstrating passing scores with the SAT, ACT or GRE. You may then apply for the Certificate of Eligibility or CE and begin the next phase of your certification requirements. You will need to complete additional coursework and field experiences by enrolling into an approved Certificate of Eligibility Preparation Program that will prepare you in your area of endorsement.
As part of this program, you will complete a required performance assessment. You will need to find a job. Your school district will be required to register you with the state’s Provisional Teaching Program and you will have a provisional certificate for two years.
Next steps to teacher certification with a bachelor’s not in education:
Your district will register you in the Probationary Teacher Program with the Department of Education. Your school district will also provide you with a mentoring teacher who is certified.
You must then:
Go to the New Jersey Teacher Certification Information System Online to complete your application for the Standard certificate and check on your application status.
Congratulations! You have a permanent teaching certificate!
You have the ability to become a teacher in New Jersey if you were a teacher in another country. First, you will want to become acquainted with the different certificates and endorsements in New Jersey. You should then contact an educator training program and ask them to review your out-of-country education credentials. Depending on the type of degree you hold, you may begin to determine which certificate pathway you will need to follow to achieve a standard certificate. The three routes for you to become certified in New Jersey as a former teacher in another country depends on your existing credentials. The state of New Jersey will require you to provide a Non-Citizen Certificate Renewal Request/Affidavit of Intent to Become a Citizen to qualify for a teaching certificate.
Pathways to teacher certification in New Jersey for teachers from other countries:
Decide if you are willing to become an American citizen. You will be required to submit a Non-Citizen Certificate Renewal Request/Affidavit of Intent to Become a Citizen to the state.
Determine which certificate you will need to obtain by asking yourself these questions:
If you have the Certificate of Eligibility Alternate Route you will follow the same above steps as any other persons who do not have a bachelor’s in education. If you have the Certificate of Eligibility - Advanced Standing, you will follow the same steps as all others with a bachelor’s degree in education. If you meet the requirements for the Standard Certificate, you will submit the required forms and fees and qualify or your permanent certificate to teach in New Jersey.
New Jersey does not offer reciprocity of teacher certifications with other states. You will have to go through a process to review your existing credentials and determine the path you will have to take to obtain your New Jersey teaching license. This means if you did major in education for your bachelor’s degree, you will need to demonstrate your program met the requirements of New Jersey for student teaching, demonstrate passage of a state approved performance assessment or pass the New Jersey performance assessment in your endorsement area. You will then need to follow the same steps as any other person with the Certificate of Eligibility- Advanced Standing. If you did not major in education for your bachelor’s degree, you must follow the same path as any other person who did not major in education for the Certificate of Eligibility or Certificate of Eligibility Alternate Route. If you held a teaching certificate in another state and, with your supervisor’s letter can demonstrate that you had effective ratings for two out of three consecutive years in four calendar years, you may proceed to apply for your New Jersey Standard Certificate in teaching.
The state of New Jersey has a list of approved teaching preparation programs for Certificate of Eligibility - Advanced Standing. The programs demonstrate that they are providing students with training that meets the national standards of accreditation organizations that include the Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education or CAEP, or any other professional education accreditation body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Association or CHEA or approved by the Commissioner. To be admitted to these programs, you must have a 3.0 Grade Point Average and maintain grades above 2.75. Upon your graduation, you will need to have a 3.0 Grade Point Average to be eligible for a certificate.
The university or college of your choice will provide a program that meets the standards of instruction in pedagogy while giving you options for specializations in age groups, for example elementary, early childhood, or secondary education. You will be able to select the subject areas in which you want to specialize as part of your education. You may also opt to specialize in endorsements to teach English as a Second Language or as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities.
There are traditional bachelor’s degree programs. Many colleges and universities are now offering a dual bachelor’s/master’s degree, which is a five-year program. The advantage is that you will complete the program with extensive clinical practice and be prepared to have specialized endorsements that will increase your options for employability.
Your institution must provide you with a program that include at least 50 hours of clinical experiences in a preschool, elementary, middle, and/or secondary school setting prior to clinical practice. Currently, the clinical practice experience is for one semester and must include at least two different classroom settings, with at least one in a special education setting, consisting of a classroom where students with IEPs are educated: either an inclusive setting, resource room, or a special classroom; and increase in intensity, or control of the students, and duration as you advance through the program. The experience must also be connected to courses. As of 2018-19, the requirements will be extended. The clinical experience is to be in one location and for two semesters, including school district professional development days.The student teacher placement must be in their area of endorsement.The student teacher is to be placed with a certified teacher who has at least three years of experience and have demonstrated mastery in the field of study.
The following list provides the name of the accredited institutions and their program offerings in teacher preparation. Links are included to the education department so that you may explore each location’s program offerings.
To become a teacher in New Jersey and qualify or a teaching certificate, you must enroll into programs that are accredited and approved by the state. Included within the above list of universities and colleges are links to the education departments. For example, Rowan University and Rutgers University offer online programs. Typically, students seeking an undergraduate degree in education may complete some coursework online but the extensive clinical experiences and performance requirements are such that online programs tend to be hybrid with on campus and field placement requirements. Students who are seeking a Certificate of Eligibility Alternate Route may find needed flexibility for online training but only through those programs that are approved by the department of education. Where you see locations that are Alternate Route only, these are innovative programs operated through the collaboration of institutions of higher education with regional education offices.
The state of New Jersey provides a comprehensive listing of the approved programs for the Certificate of Eligibility. Below you will find a listing of approved programs and their areas of endorsement. There are also specialized lists if you are interested in obtaining special education, English as second language or Bilingual certifications. As you can see by the following list from the State of New Jersey Department of Education, many of the colleges and universities approved for bachelor degrees in education also offer the teacher preparation experiences that will help students to obtain their certification through traditional courses or the alternate route. The listing also includes locations for alternative programs that provide the aspiring teacher the opportunity to be supported to learn and meet preparation requirements while working under supervision.
Teachers in New Jersey must demonstrate competencies with basic skills as well as expertise in their chosen area of specialization. To demonstrate competencies in basic skills, students who did not score at the 75th percentile on the SAT, ACT, or GRE must take the Praxis examinations that are offered through the Education Testing Service or ETS. The Praxis Core examinations measure academic skills in reading, writing and mathematics. They are continuously administered at testing centers across the nation. The state of New Jersey Praxis assessment will require you to take three basic skills tests, the core for reading, mathematics, and writing. Your test results will be directly reported to the state.
Additional examinations are required in your area of endorsement and specialization. The state has identified the examinations you will need to take and the qualifying scores. Even if you are seeking a general certificate in an age range, such as elementary education or middle school, you will need to demonstrate subject matter mastery in addition to competencies in basic skills. There are practice tests available to help you to prepare for the tests.
There are fees for these examinations. The basic skills tests have a $90 fee per examination. The combined test of reading, mathematics and writing is $150. The tests in areas of specialization have fees around $120. You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you are receiving financial aid or enrolled in a bachelors or masters degree program. There are also income eligibility guidelines that may help you to qualify for a fee waiver.
New Jersey is a state with many opportunities for teachers to find employment both in the public and private sector. The state has needs for teachers in all areas but especially in STEM, English as second language, and Bilingual education. To become a teacher in New Jersey, you must meet some rigorous requirements to have good grades, demonstrate your knowledge, develop your skills in clinical placements, and to master the art of teaching with extensive supervision and practice. Investing in the future, the state provides pathways for you to turn your desire to teach into a reality, whether you accomplished a bachelor’s degree in education, majored in another field and decided to teach, or moved into the state as a teacher. Your dedication in working through these rigorous requirements will prepare you as a proficient teacher.
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