New Jersey Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. An alternative program can potentially help you earn licensure on an accelerated schedule by permitting you to continue working while studying to meet license requirements. Some programs may also allow you to lead a classroom while fulfilling licensing requirements. If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in New Jersey. Continue reading to learn more about how to become a teacher in New Jersey through alternative routes.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

In order to qualify for alternate route certification in New Jersey, candidates must typically have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and complete pre-service coursework. Since New Jersey uses a tiered system for teacher certification, candidates begin with a Certificate of Eligibility (CE), fulfill certain requirements under the CE, and then apply for the next stage of licensure. Candidates must complete an approved New Jersey teacher preparation program, which may lead to a certificate or a master’s degree.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in New Jersey

One of the requirements to move to standard licensure via an alternative route in New Jersey is the completion of a teacher preparation program, which must be from an approved provider. Other requirements vary by route and are outlined below.

Certificate of Eligibility

The Certificate of Eligibility (CE) is the alternative pathway to New Jersey teacher certification. To qualify for a Certificate of Eligibility, candidates must complete at least 24 hours of formal instruction in a Pre-service Program. Authorized Pre-service Programs are offered throughout the state. Candidates may also take equivalent coursework from an accredited New Jersey college or university. Note that no out-of-state equivalencies are recognized for the New Jersey CE pathway. You can see approved programs on the New Jersey Board of Education website.

Candidates must also take and pass the appropriate Praxis content-area exams for the subject area(s) and grade level(s) to be taught. Once a CE is issued, candidates may teach while fulfilling the 200 clock-hour alternate training center program requirement.

In New Jersey, career and technical education (CTE) candidates pursuing alternate route licensure must attend a two-year CTE certification program at either Brookdale Community College (BCC) or William Paterson University (WPUNJ). CTE teacher candidates follow the Certificate of Eligibility (CE) route as do all other alternative route educators in New Jersey. However, prospective CTE educators may use employment experience in the occupational area to be taught to supplement their application, and may only require an associate’s rather than a bachelor’s degree. In addition, if the occupational area to be taught requires a state-issued license or certificate to practice, the applicant must hold the corresponding license or certificate.

Provisional Teacher Program

After a candidate has been hired under a Certificate of Eligibility (CE), he or she is enrolled in the Provisional Teacher Program (PTP). This program is a school-administered, first-year-teacher induction program, in which the new teacher participates in school-based training and mentoring, as well as evaluation by administrators. There are various requirements for formal instruction during this time, depending on which certification area is sought. Once the new teacher completes the Provisional Teacher Program and meets all other requirements for certification, he or she may apply for a permanent Standard Certificate.

Testing Requirements for New Jersey Alternative Certification

Alternative route teacher certification candidates must take and pass the Praxis II exams for the subject area(s) and grade level(s) to be taught. You can view the required exams for the endorsements you plan to pursue through the Praxis website. Candidates must also pass a criminal history records check through the Office of Student Protection (OSP).

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

For teachers who have active out-of-state certification, reciprocity in New Jersey may be possible provided that applicants meet the same requirements as traditional-route educators in New Jersey. This includes completing the New Jersey Provisional Teacher Program (PTP) through the hiring school district and passing the appropriate Praxis II exams. For more information on reciprocity, visit our interstate reciprocity resource or contact the New Jersey Department of Education.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in New Jersey

Prospective teachers in New Jersey must complete an approved teacher preparation program. The following school-based teacher preparation programs typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree and have been approved by the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE):

  • Bloomfield College (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Brookdale Community College* (Alternative)
  • Centenary University (Certificate)
  • Drew University (Master’s)
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Felician University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Georgian Court University (Master’s)
  • Kean University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Monmouth University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Montclair State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • New Jersey City University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Ramapo College (Certificate)
  • Relay Graduate School of Education* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Rider University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Rowan University (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Rutgers University New Brunswick* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), Camden (Master’s)
  • St. Peter’s University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Stockton University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • The College of New Jersey* (Master’s)
  • William Paterson University* (Alternative, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. New Jersey State Department of Education: https://www.nj.gov/education//