New Jersey Teacher Certification Guide

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New Jersey Teacher Certification Programs

For those asking how to become a teacher in NJ, the answer begins with passing a basic skills assessment and the Praxis subject assessments. While the traditional path to certification follows this with a teaching preparation program, New Jersey also has a non-traditional certification option.

The traditional path is the Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) Educator Preparation Program. Teaching candidates on this path would enter into a formal teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university. There are a number of New Jersey colleges and universities that offer these courses, including Bloomfield College, Princeton University, Rutgers University, and The College of New Jersey.

Teaching candidates who wish to earn a CEAS must earn a bachelor's degree, complete a New Jersey teacher preparation program, then pass the required examinations. Once candidates receive a CEAS, they are authorized to seek employment. Upon receiving an offer of employment, the school district will request a provisional two-year teaching certificate. After two years, teaching candidates may apply for a Standard Certificate, which is a permanent teaching credential.

The non-traditional path available to teaching candidates in New Jersey is the Certificate of Eligibility (CE) Educator Preparation Program. This is a non-traditional program and is designed for teaching candidates who have a bachelor's degree, but who didn't complete a formal teaching preparation program. CE Programs are offered at colleges and universities throughout New Jersey, including Bloomfield College, Essex County Provisional Teaching Training Program, New Jersey City University, and Rutgers University.

Teaching candidates who wish to earn a CE must enter an approved CE program. Candidates will then apply for a Certificate of Eligibility and accept employment. The CE program will provide mentoring for a minimum of thirty weeks, meet evaluation requirements, and continue with an approved CE program. Once the provisional teaching requirements have been met, the candidate may apply for a standard teaching certificate.

Prerequisite Coursework for New Jersey Teachers

New Jersey teacher certification requires that all teaching candidates complete a coherent sequence of education coursework. In addition, teaching candidates must fulfill specific requirements for their specific subject area:

  • Elementary education (grades K-6): A major in liberal arts or sciences, or at least 60 liberal arts credits are required. An additional endorsement in a subject area is required to teach 7-8th grades.
  • English (grades K-12): Requires a minimum of 30 credits in the field of English, including 12 hours or more advanced level of study.
  • Mathematics (grades K-12): Requires a minimum of 30 credits in mathematics, including 12 or more hours of advanced level study.
  • Physical Science (grades K-12): Requires a minimum of 30 credit hours in Physics or Chemistry, including 12 or more hours in advanced level study. Requires an additional 15 credit hours in an ancillary subject matter such as mechanics, electrical engineering majors, analytic physics, statics, thermodynamics, circuit designs, heat transfers, and mechanical designs.

Required Tests for New Jersey Teachers

New Jersey teaching certification requires teaching candidates to take four exams: New Jersey Praxis Core Academic Skills Exam, New Jersey Praxis subject assessments, Praxis NJ school leadership series, and performance assessments.

New Jersey Praxis Core Academic Skills Exam

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) tests teaching candidates' academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. They are designed as a comprehensive assessment of teaching candidates entering teacher preparation programs. The NJ Praxis Core Academic Skills Exam tests are comparable to college entrance exams like the ACT and SAT.

The NJ Praxis Core includes three separate sections: math, writing, and reading. The math portion has 56 multiple-choice questions, and teaching candidates are given 90 minutes to complete the exam. The possible score is 200, with a passing score of 150 or higher. The writing portion includes 40 multiple-choice questions and 2 essay questions. Teaching candidates receive 40 minutes to complete the multiple-choice questions, with an additional 60 minutes to complete the two essay questions. The best possible score is 200, with 162 and higher as a passing score. Teaching candidates are given 85 minutes to complete the 56 questions on the reading exam. Again, the best possible score is 200, with 156 or higher to pass. If all three exams are taken together, testing time is four hours and thirty minutes.

Teaching candidates who fail one or more exams are only required to repeat the exams they failed. Exams may be retaken after 21 days.

Candidates may be exempt from the NJ Praxis Core if they had high ACT, SAT, or GRE scores:

  • ACT: 23 Math, 23 English.
  • SAT: 570 Math, 610 Evidence-based reading and writing, or 30 reading.
  • GRE: Quantitative 156, Verbal 155.

Teaching candidates can register for the Praxis NJ Core Exam on the ETS Praxis website. The New Jersey Praxis Core Skills test can be taken at home or at any of the available locations throughout New Jersey. Praxis test fees are $90 for a single exam or $150 for all three exams together.

Praxis Subject Assessments

All teaching candidates who wish to gain a New Jersey teaching certification must take a the New Jersey Praxis Subject Assessments Exams. These exams examines a teaching candidates general and subject-specific teaching skills and knowledge. The Praxis NJ Assessment Exams include tests on 90 different teachable subjects. The exam a teaching candidate takes depends on the teaching discipline the candidate is perusing.

The NJ Praxis Subject Assessments are made up of a combination of multiple-choice and essay questions. Because the Subject Assessments range in the number of questions and the length of the exam, teaching candidates are given between one and four hours to complete the tests. The Praxis passing scores range from 141 to 165, depending on the subject assessment taken. If the teaching candidate graduated with a GPA of 3.5 or higher, they are allowed a lower testing score.

To register for a Praxis NJ Subject Assessment go to ETS Praxis website. There are a variety of Praxis test locations where candidates can take the exams, and some Subject Assessments can be taken at home. Fees range from $50 to $170.

Praxis School Leadership Series (SLS)

The New Jersey Praxis School Leadership Series consists of School Leaders Licensure Assessments (SLLA) and the School Superintendent Assessment (SSA). The tests are part of the licensure process for principals, superintendents, and school leaders.

The School Leaders Licensure Assessment exam is made up of two sections. Section 1 includes 120 multiple-choice questions and leadership candidates are given 165 minutes to complete the section. Section 2 includes four constructed-response questions that leadership candidates are given 75 minutes to answer. Leadership candidates will answer questions in the following categories:

  • Strategic leadership: about 20 questions and accounts for 13% of the exam.
  • Instructional leadership: about 27 questions and accounts for 17% of the exam.
  • Climate and cultural leadership: about 22 questions and accounts for 13% of the exam.
  • Ethical leadership: about 19 questions and accounts for 12% of the exam.
  • Organizational leadership: about 16 questions and accounts for 10% of the exam.
  • Community engagement leadership: about 16 questions and accounts for 10% of the exam.
  • Analysis constructed response (CR): about 4 questions and accounts for 25% of the exam.

NJ Praxis School Leaders Licensure Assessments are scored between 100 and 200, with 151 or higher as a passing score.

The School Superintendent Assessment exam measures the extent to which entry-level superintendents demonstrate the relevant skills to competently meet the job requirements of a school superintendent. Leadership candidates will answer 120 multiple-choice questions and 3 constructed response questions on this exam. The questions fall into the following categories:

  • Strategic leadership: about 26 questions and 16% of the exam.
  • Instructional leadership: about 19 questions and 12% of the exam.
  • Climate and culture leadership: about 22 questions and 14% of the exam.
  • Ethical and policy leadership: about 16% of the questions and 10% of the exam.
  • Organizational leadership: about 24 questions and 15% of the exam.
  • Community leadership: about 13 questions and 8% of the exam.
  • Integrated knowledge and understanding (case study): about 3 questions and 25% of the exam.

The NJ Praxis School Superintendent Assessment is scored between 100 and 200, with 162 or higher as a passing score.

The Praxis NJ Leadership Series is not a requirement for a New Jersey teaching certification. In fact, leadership candidates are required to have held a teaching position for a minimum of five years to be eligible for these exams. The fee for the New Jersey Praxis Leaders Licensure Assessment is $425. The fee to take the School Superintendent Assessment is $350. Leadership candidates can register for either test on the ETS Praxis website. Both tests offer the option of at home testing. Leadership candidates may retake NJ Praxis Leadership Series exams after 28 days.

Performance Assessments (edTPA)

The Performance Assessment is required of teaching candidates who seek a New Jersey Teaching Certificate. Otherwise known as the edTPA, this is a performance based assessment that examines teaching behaviors with student learning in mind. Teaching candidates undergo the edTPA while working with their two-year provisional NJ teaching certificate, and must pass the performance assessment before gaining their standard New Jersey Teaching Certificate.

The New Jersey edTPA Performance Assessment portfolios target five areas of effective teaching:

  • Planning Instruction and Assessment: Candidates demonstrate how their teaching plans align with current standards, build upon students' ability and knowledge, build upon students' life experiences, and how their plans address students' strengths and weaknesses.
  • Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning: Teaching candidates must include one or two unedited video clips of 15-20 minutes from the learning segment. The teaching candidate must add a commentary analyzing how they engaged the students in the learning tasks. Candidates will also demonstrate subject-specific strategies and the ability to provoke and monitor student responses to develop subject understanding.
  • Assessing Student Learning: The teaching candidate must include a classroom-based assessment (evaluation), student work samples, quality of teacher feedback and a commentary analyzing patterns of student learning. Candidates should summarize the performance of the entire class, while analyzing the specific strengths and needs of three students, showing how the candidate's feedback guides student learning.
  • Analysis of Teaching Effectiveness addresses the commentaries within Planning, Learning, and Assessing tasks.
  • Academic Language Development evaluates the candidate's ability to support students' oral and written use of academic language to deep subject matter and understanding. Candidates explain how their students demonstrated academic language using student work samples and/or video recordings.

New Jersey edTPA portfolios are scored based on five rubrics per task. Completed scores are evaluated by PearsonVue using content experts. Depending on the subject are of the assessment, passing scores range from 32 to 44. Candidates who fail all or a portion of the edTPA can choose to retake that portion or the entire assessment, however, candidates are only allowed to retake the edTPA performance assessment once. The fee for this assessment is $300 and payable at the PearsonVue website when registering for the edTPA assessment.

Additional New Jersey Teacher Certification Requirements

Once teaching candidates have passed the edTPA performance assessment, candidates have additional requirements to fulfill before gaining their standard New Jersey teaching certificate:

  • Complete the appropriate Verification of Program Completion Form: There are two forms available on the New Jersey education license website:
    • Verification of Preparation Program Completion Form (CEAS)
    • Verification of Program Completion for Certificate of Eligibility Educator Preparation Program (CEEPP) Form.
  • File a Record of Professional Experience Form
  • If appropriate file a Data Sheet for Career and Technical Education (CTE) Licensure Form and a Statement of Employment Experience for Career and Technical Education Certificates Form.
  • If candidate answers 'yes' to any questions 2-6 on the online application, they must file an Oath of Allegiance Form.
  • Complete a background check and fingerprints.
  • Teaching candidates in New Jersey must have a GPA above 3.0.

New Jersey Teaching Certificate Application Process

New Jersey does not process incomplete teaching certification applications. All necessary documents must be filed.

  • Fill out a Web application.
  • Submit all official transcripts. Transcripts must be submitted in sealed envelopes.
  • Application test scores for Praxis II Content Knowledge tests.
  • Applicable test scores in oral proficiency for World Language, ESL and Bilingual endorsements.
  • A Verification of Program Completion.

New Jersey Teaching Certification Alternate Path

Teaching candidates who hold a Bachelor's degree may enter a teaching career in a non-traditional manner. Candidates must:

  • Teaching candidates must enter an approved CE program.
  • Meet eligibility requirements for the subject they wish to teach.
  • Once teaching candidates have completed a minimum of 50 hours of an approved CE program, they can accept employment and begin the Provisional Teaching Process.
  • While working as a provisional teacher, the candidate must be mentored for a minimum of 30 weeks by a fully certified teacher in the school district. Teaching candidates must be evaluated and receive two effective or highly effective final ratings.
  • Candidates with a CE must remain enrolled in an approved CE program.
  • Candidates who successfully complete the Provisional Teaching Process will be eligible to apply for a standard New Jersey teaching certification.

New Jersey Credentials for Out-of-State Teachers

New Jersey teaching candidates who hold the equivalent of a valid CEAS must:

  • Have participated in a clinical practice or 'student teaching' program
  • Passed a subject-matter test to receive their out of state license or passed the appropriate New Jersey subject-matter test
  • If candidates graduated later than September 1, 2017 must show that they passed a state-approved performance assessment or pass the New Jersey Performance Assessment.

New Jersey teaching candidates who gained an out-of-state teaching certification using an alternate path must:

  • Meet all New Jersey CE requirements.

Out-of-State Certificate Equivalent to a Standard Certificate teaching candidates must:

  • Hold a valid standard teaching certificate from another state and be able to show two years of effective teaching standards within a three consecutive years of the last four calendar years.
  • or they must hold a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certificate.

New Jersey Educator Professional Development & Advancement

Once teaching candidates receive a standard New Jersey Teaching Certification, they are not required to renew their teaching certification. However, candidates must continue to meet expected professional standards. New Jersey's standards focus on professional development that connects the educator's learning to the student's learning. The state does provide mandatory requirements in the following topics:

  • Reading Disabilities
  • Prevention: Suicide, substance abuse, harassment, intimidation, and bullying
  • School safety, security and code of student conduct
  • Health
  • Interscholastic activities
  • Additional professional development topics

New Jersey Teaching Outlook and Salary Information

The average teacher salary in New Jersey is $67,085 as of January 27, 2022, with a range of $58,561-$77,461. Salary ranges can vary depending on the city and other important factors such as education, certifications, skills, and the number of years spent in the profession.

Jobs for New Jersey educators are expected to rise at an average pace of 8%.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the average teacher salary in New Jersey?

    The average teacher salary in New Jersey is $67,085 as of January 27, 2022, with a range of $58,561- $77,461. Salary ranges can vary depending on the city and other important factors such as education, certifications, skills, and the number of years spent in the profession.

  • Is the NJ Praxis hard?

    Designed to be a comprehensive assessment of teaching candidates who wish to enter teaching preparation programs, the New Jersey Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) tests are comparable to college entrance exams like the ACT and SAT. In theory, they are not hard.

  • How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in NJ?

    Once the application and all documents are filed, it will take approximately two weeks to receive a New Jersey teaching certification.

  • How do I get a teaching certificate if I already have a bachelor's degree in NJ?

    The non-traditional program or Certificate of Eligibility is designed for teaching candidates who already have a bachelor's degree, but didn't complete formal teaching preparation programs.

  • What is the difference between a CE and CEAS?

    The Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) Educator Preparation Programs is a traditional path to acquiring teaching certification in New Jersey. Teaching candidates would take educator preparation courses as they earn a college degree on this path.

    The Certificate of Eligibility (CE) Educator Preparation Program is a pathway to gain teaching certification for teaching candidates who already hold a bachelor's degree and have not taken teaching preparation courses.