Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in New Jersey

New Jersey, like many states, has recently made changes to its licensing process. In New Jersey, the process has gotten a little tougher. A person who trains as a teacher in another state and then comes to New Jersey may find it relatively easy to obtain a standard New Jersey teaching certificate. However, some teachers will have substantial additional requirements. One recent change: A formal performance assessment is now required of students and of relatively inexperienced teachers.

A standard certificate is issued only after a multi-step evaluation process which includes real teaching in a real classroom. Teachers who earn their credentials the traditional way, in conjunction with their degree, can expect to spend at least two additional years proving their merit. This has become common. The process is not, however, identical from state to state. New Jersey has a statewide induction program. At the induction stage, a person is considered a provisional teacher. New Jersey provisional teachers receive mentoring.

States often use the words alternative and traditional to describe programs, with enrollment in alternative programs reserved for those who hold degrees and meet other minimum requirements. New Jersey uses the term Certificate of Eligibility, or CE, to describe what one holds while completing an alternative program; the term Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing, or CEAS, is used to describe what one earns after completing a traditional program. The programs themselves may be described as CE-EPP or CEAS-EPP. Non-traditional/ CEAS-EPP students may go on to complete a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). However, this is not mandatory.

A traditional New Jersey student will complete a semester of student teaching (a minimum 12 weeks). This experience will follow 175 hours of pre-student teaching clinical practice.

CEAS candidates begin teaching much sooner. They must demonstrate 50 pre-service hours to receive provisional teaching credentials.

A teacher moves from CE or CEAS status to a standard certificate after accruing experience and securing the recommendation of the employing entity.

New Jersey Endorsements

An educator preparation program will qualify a teacher for at least one endorsement. Endorsements reflect subject area and grade level. The Department of Education has provided detailed information about requirements at the CE, CEAS, and standard levels (

Some endorsement areas are quite broad. A New Jersey elementary certificate qualifies a person for kindergarten through 6th grade. An elementary teacher is qualified to teach the core subjects of math, science, language arts, and social studies and to teach the full range of other subjects taught in elementary school, but there are limits on how much of the school day would be spent teaching some subjects. Elementary teachers are authorized to teach world language if they meet requirements delineated in state code, the most basic being language proficiency. New Jersey elementary teachers may also teach basic skills such as arithmetic and spelling to students above the 6th grade level.

Typical requirements for CEAS or standard certificate include having had both subject matter preparation and teacher preparation, each in a “coherent sequence”. For elementary and early childhood, the range of coursework that can be credited as subject matter is extensive. If the individual does not have a non-teaching liberal arts major (which could be anything from literature to natural science), he or she will need to demonstrate 60 semester hours of creditable non-vocational coursework that develops knowledge and reasoning. For many teaching fields, the requirement is 30 semester hours in the particular teaching area.

Individuals seeking middle school endorsements have co-certificates – e.g. two subjects they are qualified to teach. Certificates are available in math, science, social studies, and various world languages.

Most New Jersey teaching certificates are issued for all grades P-12. This category includes subjects like music that are typically taught across grade levels; it also includes subjects such as chemistry and psychology that we typically think of as secondary-only. There are a wide range of possibilities ( Theater and ‘speech arts and dramatics’, for example, are recognized as separate endorsements.

Assessment Requirements

Prospective teachers complete several types of assessment. Generally speaking, CE and CEAS candidates can expect to take the Praxis Core Academic Skills assessment unless they meet the cut score for the SAT, ACT, or GRE. Cut scores are designed to reflect the top third of test takers.

New Jersey also utilizes Praxis subject area assessments. Information about the different tests, as well as minimum scores, is available on the ETS Praxis website (

New Jersey programs (both CE and CEAS) include a performance assessment. New Jersey uses the edTPA, which includes videotaped teaching and other artifacts. Teachers who did not take a performance assessment in their own state will need to take one in New Jersey unless they have sufficient recent teaching experience; the experience must be judged as effective by the supervisor or employing entity. The Department of Education states that this mandate applies to individuals who complete their programs on September 1, 2017 or later. Resources are available on the DOE website.

Out-of-State Teachers

A standard certificate may be issue to an out-of-state educator who has two years of recent experience at the effective level. New Jersey requires the two years to have been accrued within one three-year period and to have taken place within the prior four years. A supervisor or district representative can confirm that the individual was an effective teacher.

In lieu of this experience, the teacher may present evidence of National Board certification.

In order to be granted reciprocity below the standard level, a person will need to hold what is considered the equivalent of the New Jersey CEAS. He or she will need to have completed a program that included student teaching or clinical experience. This mandate does not mean that a person cannot be employed in New Jersey if he or she completed an alternative program and lacks sufficient recent experience; in this instance, the person will need to meet requirements for a New Jersey CE. Essentially the teacher will be going through an alternative process a second time. (Many teachers who are licensed through alternative pathways do in fact have teaching experience. However, they don't meet the requirements for a standard certificate in the jurisdiction they are in.)

The Application Process

New Jersey boasts an online process, but some materials must be submitted separately. The Department of Education has provided forms for documentation of experience and verification of program completion (

New Jersey has a “physiology and hygiene” requirement. This can be met through coursework such as nutrition or biology, basic military training, or a test; tests are administered at county offices.

Additional Information

Information is available from the New Jersey Office of Certification and Induction ( Licensure and Certification can be reached at ‘licensing.requests at’.