The New Jersey Teaching and Certification Resource
The requirements for teacher certification in New Jersey are set by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). The traditional pathway to obtaining teacher certification in the state is detailed on this page for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in New Jersey. For information on other routes for non-traditional educators, see our guide to alternative teacher certification in New Jersey.
How to Become a Teacher in New Jersey
To be eligible for New Jersey teacher certification, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a New Jersey teacher preparation program, and pass the required examinations. This traditional route leads to the Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS), which authorizes candidates to seek employment. Once an employment offer has been made by a school district, the school district then requests a Provisional two-year teaching certificate for the candidate.
After a Provisional certificate is issued and all certification requirements are met, which includes completion of the Provisional Teacher Program (PTP), the candidate may apply for a Standard Certificate, New Jersey’s permanent teaching credential. The Provisional Teacher Program is a mandatory program for the mentoring and development for all new teachers in New Jersey. Hiring school districts administer the PTP requirements individually as a school-based training program.
- I want to be a teacher in New Jersey, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about New Jersey’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in New Jersey
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in NJ through 20262
Perhaps the most important step on the road to New Jersey teacher certification is attending an approved teacher preparation program at an accredited school. The New Jersey Department of Education provides a list of approved programs. If based in New Jersey, a program intended to lead to teacher certification must be approved in order to qualify for certification. You can compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our New Jersey schools page.
In addition to state approval, there are six regional accreditation agencies that are overseen by the US Department of Education. New Jersey schools are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). If a teacher applicant attends a school out of state that is not regionally accredited, the NJDOE will not issue a teaching certificate. Therefore, it is important to confirm your chosen school is regionally accredited, and if in the state of New Jersey, approved for the preparation of teachers.
Additionally, many schools apply for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Although CAEP accreditation is not mandatory for state approval, it is a strong marker of quality in terms of teacher preparatory curriculum and process.
New Jersey Teacher Education Requirements
A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university is the minimum educational requirement for teacher certification in New Jersey. In addition, the state requires that potential teachers graduating on or after September 1, 2016, have a GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale). There is some flexibility with this requirement through a high Praxis test score. Note that the state is currently considering changes to minimum requirements for certification and candidates should check with the NJDOE for the most current information.
New Jersey Teacher Testing Requirements
Candidates for teacher certification in New Jersey must pass the Praxis Subject Assessments test for their desired certification area. There is some flexibility in the passing test score; test score cut-offs for passing eligibility are lower if a candidate has a GPA better than 3.5. Candidates must also pass a county-level examination in physiology and hygiene. As of 2023, candidates are not required to take a performance-based assessment such as the edTPA for certification, though some teacher preparation programs may still require this or another formal evaluation as part of the program’s curriculum.
Additional New Jersey Teacher Certification Requirements
In order to obtain teacher certification in New Jersey, applicants must submit fingerprints for a federal and state criminal history background check. All applicants must complete the fingerprint process online through the Office of Student Protection (OSP).
New Jersey Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once all the requirements for New Jersey educator certification have been completed, applicants must apply for a certificate. The New Jersey Department of Licensure and Credentials receives a high volume of applications during the summer months, so it’s recommended to send in all information three to four months in advance of the desired employment date. The required documentation to become a teacher in New Jersey is as follows:
- Proof of clearance from criminal history background check.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
- Proof of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
- Completed application for teaching certification.
- Passing scores on the required examinations.
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fees.
The New Jersey Department of Education uses the online New Jersey Teacher Certification System (NJEdCert) to process all applications. Visit the NJDOE for further details on how to become a teacher in New Jersey.
New Jersey Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
As of the 2016-2017 school year, there were an estimated 1.4 million students enrolled in New Jersey’s 2,590 public K-12 schools.3 With about 115,728 public school teachers, this gave New Jersey a student-to-teacher ratio of 12:1.3
From 2016 to 2026, projections call for 3,330 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 1,930 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 2,250 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in New Jersey.2 Excluding special education, in New Jersey elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $70,660, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $72,290, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $76,390.4 For more information on education employment trends in New Jersey visit the New Jersey Education Association.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||250||$66,890|
|Elementary School Teachers||41,600||$70,660|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||12,110||$70,630|
|Middle School Teachers||24,980||$72,290|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||6,850||$71,850|
|Secondary School Teachers||29,140||$76,390|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||6,290||$75,970|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||2,260||$71,630|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in New Jersey
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, New Jersey broadly has the following shortages5:
- Career and Technical Education (General), Pre-K-12
- English as a Second Language (Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics (General), Pre-K-12
- Science (General), Pre-K-12
- Special Education (General), Pre-K-12
- World Languages (General), Pre-K-12
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in New Jersey?
Answer: To qualify for a substitute teacher certificate in New Jersey, you must have at least 60 college credits. Candidates must have a sponsor district or organization to apply, but the certificate may be used statewide, not just in the school district with which they apply.
Question: Does New Jersey need teachers?
Answer: According to the US Department of Education, New Jersey has reported teacher shortages for the 2021-22 school year in areas including English as a second language (ESL), bilingual education, math, science, world languages, special education, and career/technical education.5 New Jersey teachers specializing in these areas may have an easier time finding jobs.
Question: How do I become a high school teacher in New Jersey?
Answer: New Jersey high school teachers need a bachelor’s degree in the subject they wish to teach, along with a state-approved teacher preparation program. Then they must take the state exams required before becoming certified to teach high school in New Jersey.
1. New Jersey Department of Education: https://www.nj.gov/education/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New Jersey: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nj.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/