All You Need To Know About Teacher Licensure & Certification In NJ

The NJ teacher certification process is flexible enough that people from all walks of life—recent college graduates, career changers, substitute teachers—can become full-time teachers. To be eligible for  NJ teacher certification, candidates must, at a minimum, possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution. Undergraduate students can satisfy the New Jersey Department Of Education’s (NJDOE) teacher preparation requirements as part of a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree program. Nontraditional teacher candidates can enroll in alternative teacher preparation programs like Rutgers CESP’s own Alternate Route program, which allows them to satisfy the instructional requirements associated with becoming a NJ certified teacher. The curriculum for NJ alternate route programs is driven by the New Jersey Professional Teacher Standards.


Across all subject matter specializations and grade levels, teacher candidates must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility (CE), Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) and provisional teaching certificate before finally receiving a standard teaching certificate.


A Certificate of Eligibility (CE) is issued to candidates who haven’t yet completed a teacher preparation program, and meet the basic academic study and test requirements for teacher certification. With a CE, teacher candidates can seek and accept employment in NJ schools accepting this certification.


In order to qualify for a CE, candidates must possess a bachelor’s degree and minimum 3.0 GPA, pass a basic skills assessment and mandated hygiene test, and receive a Passing Score on the Praxis II Exam associated with the appropriate teacher license. Candidates must also complete a Pre-Service course provided by non-traditional alternate route teacher preparation programs. K-5 teacher candidates hired as of October 31, 2009 must complete an additional 90 hours of instruction. Half of this course focuses on teaching mathematics at the K-5 level, and the other 45 hours focus on teaching language arts literacy at the K-5 level.


Once a CE has been obtained, candidates can begin their job search. In order to progress to the next phase of instruction mandated by the NJDOE, teaching candidates must secure a teaching position.


A Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) is issued to teacher candidates who have graduated from traditional teacher education programs such as those offered by Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Education. CEAS certificates are issued to individuals who don’t hold NJ Standard certificates or haven’t completed one year of full-time teaching under valid out-of-state instructional certificates. Teacher candidates holding CEAS certificates can seek and accept employment in NJ public schools that require certification as can CE holders.


Provisional teaching certificates are two-year certificates that school districts who have employed newly hired full time teachers must request after the teacher candidate has obtained a CE or CEAS. As part of the provisional teacher process, candidates hired during or after the 2015-16 school year must be evaluated according to AchieveNJ requirements. Provisional teachers must earn two Effective or Highly Effective summative ratings over a three-year period in order to qualify for a standard certificate, and complete 34 weeks of mentored teaching. Provisional teachers must also undergo a final stage of formal instruction.

CE holders who start teaching with a provisional certificate prior to the 2017-18 school year have until July 31, 2017 to complete their one-year CE Educator Preparation Program (CE EPP) requirement. Teachers who are unable to complete the program by then must complete the recently mandated CE EPP requirements. These candidates will be credited toward the 2017-18 new CE-EPP program at least 50 hours toward program completion and may be credited an additional 100 hours by their new program.


Standard certificates are permanent teaching certificates issued to individuals who have met all of the requirements for certification in the State of New Jersey outlined above. This certificate is issued to candidates who’ve successfully completed a traditional or alternate route teacher training program; hold a previously issued instructional certificate from the State of NJ; or hold a valid out-of-state instructional certificate equivalent to a standard instructional certificate and have completed at least two years of effective teaching within three consecutive years during the last four calendar years.  




Now that you have a full understanding of the pathways to becoming a full-time, permanent teacher, we hope that you consider enrolling in the Rutgers University Center for Effective School Practice’s Alternate Route teacher training program (Rutgers Alternate Route). Our program is more affordable than traditional and hybrid teacher training programs, and our instructors are seasoned education professionals with a wealth of K-12 research knowledge, and classroom and administrative leadership experience who have worked in diverse learning environments. Rutgers Alternate Route’s dynamic learning environment, rigorous peer mentoring model and job-embedded coursework prepare candidates for the everyday realities of the teaching profession. Our program’s unique professional development and immersive digital literacy exercises further enhance the competitiveness of our teacher candidates on the job market. It’s no wonder that candidates often access career opportunities through our network of relationship. To learn how we can support your journey to becoming a high performing, transformational teachers, visit our website.


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Heather Ngoma

Heather Ngoma has over 20 years experience collaborating with educators across New Jersey to drive education innovation. She currently serves as the Director of Rutgers University's Alternate Route Teacher Training Program at the Center for Effective School Practices, a program which helps career changers, recent college graduates and other aspiring education professionals become licensed teachers in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @heatherngoma.