How to Earn a Teaching License in New Jersey

If you’re interested in learning how to become a teacher in New Jersey you’ll know that earning your teacher certification is a critical step to beginning a teaching career in public schools.

There are several different pathways available to fit a variety of situations-whether you’re just applying to college, you’re a teacher moving to New Jersey and are seeking reciprocity, or you’re looking for alternative routes to gain teacher certification.

Read on to learn about the different ways to get teacher certification in New Jersey and check out the video below for key facts about teaching in the state.

Requirements for Teaching

New Jersey gets high marks for making education a priority. The state ranked sixth for teachers and instructional staff, according to the National Education Association (NEA) survey. With a supportive teaching environment, getting a teaching license in New Jersey offers the opportunity to work in a system where you’ll have the resources you need to help your students succeed.

There are four main types of certificates important to first-time teachers in New Jersey. With the traditional path to initial certification, you can earn a lifetime Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) by completing a state-approved teacher preparation program. A CEAS allows you to seek employment as a certified teacher in New Jersey public schools.

If you have not completed a teacher preparation program, but have met the basic academic, pre-professional experience and assessment requirements, you are eligible to apply for a lifetime Certificate of Eligibility (CE). With a CE, you can accept teaching positions that require certification. When hired, you will have to enroll in a CE Educator Preparation Program, which can be completed while you work under a CE.

After you earn a CE or CEAS and secure a full-time teaching position, you are eligible for a Provisional two-year certificate. Your employing school district requests this to legalize your employment. With this certificate, you become part of your school district’s Provisional Teacher Program (PTP), which includes mentoring, supervision and evaluation. Both CE and CEAS holders must serve at least two full school years in a PTP until they are eligible for a Standard Certificate.

A Standard Certificate is a permanent credential that you can receive after meeting all requirements for state certification, including a teacher preparation program, completion of the PTP program and a minimum of two effective years of within three consecutive years of the four calendar years prior to your application. To achieve a Standard Certificate, you must earn evaluation ratings of Effective or Highly Effective from your PTP building principal for two of three consecutive years.

Minimum Education Requirements for New Jersey Teachers

The minimum education requirement for New Jersey teachers is a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The only exceptions are for Career and Technical Education licenses, which can be awarded based on experience when other requirements are met.

If you are applying for a CEAS initial certification, you must complete an approved CEAS teacher preparation program in which you can earn a bachelor’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can complete a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program to earn a certificate or master’s degree. Educators with a CE must complete coursework and clinical practice in a CE teacher preparation program to qualify for a Standard license.

In New Jersey, you must achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 GPA scale in a bachelor’s degree program, higher degree program or a State-approved post-baccalaureate certification program with a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits. However, a passing score plus 10 percent on the required Praxis test may qualify you for GPA flexibility if your GPA is lower than 3.0 but equal or higher to 2.75.

Student Teaching

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) requires that approved CEAS teacher preparation programs provide both clinical experience and clinical practice. Clinical experience requires hand-on, practical applications and demonstrations of professional knowledge prior to clinical practice. The NJDOE requires at least 50 hours of clinical experience in at least two school settings.

Your CEAS clinical practice component occurs in two segments. The first segment lasts a minimum of 175 hours, with at least 100 hours occurring throughout the semester prior to your full-time clinical practice semester. In the second segment of your clinical practice, you must teach full-time for at least one semester.

Educators with a CE must complete 50 hours of pre-professional experience before they begin teaching. This includes 15 hours of coursework, 20 hours of clinical experience, including 10 hours of planning and delivering instruction individually or with a co-teacher, and 15 hours at the program’s discretion. This requirement can be met with appropriate experience working with children and/or special coursework. You can begin a CE teacher preparation program after you start teaching.

Pass New Jersey Certification Exams

New Jersey certification exams include a basic skills requirement, which is met by passing the Praxis Core Academic Skills assessment. You also can provide an ACT, SAT or GRE score that is at or above the cut score for the year in which you took the exam. In addition, CEAS candidates must pass the appropriate edTPA prior to earning CEAS certification. CE holders must pass the edTPA before earning Standard certification.

All certification candidates must earn the minimum qualifying score on the Praxis II content area test that aligns with their certification area. An additional examination in physiology and hygiene, administered at the county offices of education, is required of all candidates. Basic military training, or college-level study in related subjects, such as health, nutrition or biology can fulfill this requirement.


You can initiate and complete some of your application at the Teacher Certification Information System (TCIS) – Online. Here, you can verify your Oath of Allegiance and pay for fees online. Your edTPA and Praxis II test scores are sent electronically to the NJDOE and attached to your online application.

A paper Verification of Program Completion form, signed by the dean or program administrator, is required for proof of a CEAS or CE preparation program. You also must submit an original Record of Professional Experience form signed by an official from the school district in which you completed your full-time clinical experience. Official college transcripts and score reports from alternative basic skills assessments and required oral proficiencies must be submitted in sealed envelopes. All required paper documents, including individual sealed envelopes, are mailed to the Office of Certification and Induction together.

How Much Do Teachers in New Jersey Make?

New Jersey teacher salaries vary based on a teacher’s level of education, specific experience, type of certification and finances of the employing school district. Some average New Jersey teacher salaries are listed here.

salary outlook
Position Median Salary
Early Childhood Educator $36,290
Elementary School Teacher $73,910
Secondary School Teacher $78,070
Special Education Teacher $64,030
School Administrator $127,490


Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2031

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2021

Specialty Certifications

You can earn New Jersey specialty certifications in a wide range of subject areas and grade levels whether you are pursuing a CEAS or CE. Each specialty area has specific educational and assessment requirements that align with the subject matter the license authorizes you to teach. It’s important to confirm that you understand the requirements for the type of certificate you desire to ensure the quickest path to teacher certification.

Early Childhood Education


Early childhood teachers can earn a Preschool through Grade 3 certificate in New Jersey. This license requires a bachelor’s degree in a liberal arts or sciences major, or completion of a minimum of 60 liberal arts credits. You also must fulfill the requirements for a minimum GPA, proof of basic skills and physiology/hygiene knowledge. Required tests include the edTPA performance assessment for Preschool through Grade 3 and the Praxis II Early Childhood Education content area assessment.

CEAS candidates must complete an early childhood teacher education program or a post-baccalaureate certification program that includes a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits. You can apply for a CE in Preschool through Grade 3, without completing a teacher preparation program. To secure Standard licensure after a CE, you must attend a state-approved Preschool through Grade 3 program consisting of at least 24 semester credit hours. If you complete these credits while working, you must enroll in a New Jersey-based college or university CE teacher preparation program.

Elementary School Teacher


You can earn Elementary School Teacher (Grades K-6) certification in New Jersey. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree that has a liberal arts or sciences major or at least 60 liberal arts credits. You also must meet the minimum GPA requirement, demonstrate basic skills by approved assessment, and prove physiology/hygiene knowledge. In addition, you must achieve cut scores in the edTPA performance assessment for Elementary School Teacher in Grades K-6 and the Praxis II Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects assessments.

CEAS candidates for Elementary School certification must complete an elementary school education program or post-baccalaureate certification program that includes at least 13 semester-hour credits. Applicants for a CE in Elementary School Teacher in Grades K-6 must meet the same assessment, basic skills and physiology/hygiene requirements, without a teacher preparation program. Standard Licensure after a CE in this certification requires completion of a CE elementary school teacher preparation program and supervised clinical practice.

Secondary School Teacher


To become a certified secondary school teacher in New Jersey, you can earn a special area endorsement that authorizes you to teach grades P-12. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree with at least 30 semester hour credits in your subject area, with a minimum of 12 advanced level credits. Additional requirements include a minimum cumulative GPA, basic skills assessment, and physiology/hygiene knowledge. You also must achieve cut scores in the edTPA performance assessment and Praxis II content area assessments that correlate with your specialty area.

You can qualify for a CEAS in a subject area if you have completed a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate teacher certification program that includes a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits. Candidates can receive a CE in a subject area without a teacher preparation program if they meet the other requirements. You must complete an approved CE teacher preparation and supervised clinical practice to transition from a CE to a Standard License.

Substitute Teacher Certification


You can earn substitute teacher certification if you hold a New Jersey educator license. A CE or CEAS qualifies you to serve as a substitute teacher for up to 40 instructional days for subject areas in which you do not have certification, and from 60 instructional days to an entire school year in subject areas in which you have certification.

If you don’t have one of these licenses, you can apply for a Substitute Credential. This authorizes you to teach up to 40 instructional days per school year in the same class. You must have at least 60 semester-hour credits from a regionally accredited college or university. A CTE Substitute Credential requires two years of full-time related work experience in the five years prior to application. A criminal history background clearance is required for all Substitute Credentials.

Physical Education (PE) Certification


You can earn Physical Education (PE) certification with a Teacher of Physical Education certificate (P-12). A bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 30 credits in physical education, including at least one course each in team, dual and individual sports is required. At least 12 of the 30 credits must be in advanced courses. You also must meet the minimum GPA, basic skills assessment and physiology/hygiene knowledge requirements. In addition, you must pass the edTPA Physical Education performance assessment and the Praxis II content area assessment on Physical Education: Content Knowledge.

CE licensure doesn’t require a teacher preparation program, however, you have to complete an approved physical education teacher preparation program with supervised clinical practice to qualify for a Standard license from a CE. You can qualify for a CEAS in physical education if you have completed a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate physical education teacher certification program that includes a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits.

Special Education Certification


Special education certification in New Jersey is offered as a general Teacher of Students with Disabilities (Preschool to grade 12) endorsement or more specialized endorsements including Blind or Visually Impaired, Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Oral/Aural Communication, and Deaf or Hard of Hearing: Sign Language Communication.

For special education certification, the specific content area is added to an existing general education license. You must have dual certification so that you hold a CE, CEAS or Standard New Jersey teaching certificate with an endorsement appropriate to the subject or grade level you plan to teach, along with a special education endorsement.

To add a CEAS special education endorsement, you must complete a professional education program in special education that includes clinical practice. Additional qualifications include meeting requirements for a minimum GPA. An edTPA in special education is not required since your performance assessment was completed in your initial content area.

If you hold a CE in Special Education, you must attend a Special Education program consisting of 21-27 semester hour credits to earn Standard licensure. If you plan to work in special education while studying for Standard licensure, you must enroll in a CE teacher preparation program at a New Jersey college or university.

English as a Second Language Certification


You can earn English as a Second Language certification for Preschool through grade 12. Qualifications are a bachelor’s degree, the minimum cumulative GPA, a basic skills assessment and the physiology/hygiene component. You also must pass the edTPA English as a Second Language performance assessment. Passing scores on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) and Writing Proficiency assessments is also required.

You can earn a CE in English as a Second Language if you haven’t completed a teacher preparation program but meet all other requirements. You can qualify for a CEAS in English as a Second Language if you have completed a baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate teacher certification program that includes a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits.

Certifications for School Administrators


Certification for school administrators is available as either a Principal or Superintendent CE endorsement for Preschool through Grade 12. Qualifications for a Principal or School Administrator certificate include five years of successful professional educational experience and a master’s degree or higher in leadership or management or other post-master’s degree substitutions. You also must complete at least 30 graduate credits in the promotion of student learning, either within the master’s program or in addition to it. Candidates for School Administrator endorsements have additional options that include using work experience to establish certificate eligibility.

Candidates for School Administrator endorsements must complete a one-year residency and pass the Praxis II School Superintendent Assessment. Those pursuing a Principal endorsement must complete a two-year residency and pass the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.

Certificate vs Certification


A certificate is awarded by an educational institution, and signifies that a student has satisfactorily completed a given curriculum. Certificate programs can help students prepare for certification exams.


A certification is generally awarded by a trade group after an individual has met certain professional requirements (e.g. earned a specific degree, worked professionally in a given field for a set amount of time, etc.) and passed a certification exam.

In short, a certificate is evidence that someone has completed an educational program, while a certification denotes that someone has met a certain set of professional criteria and/or passed an exam.

Not all programs offered are designed to meet state educator licensing or advancement requirements; however, it may assist candidates in gaining these approvals in their state of residence depending on those requirements. Contact the state board of education in the applicable state(s) for requirements.

Teaching Reciprocity Agreements in New Jersey

Reciprocity agreements allow teachers to apply out-of-state credentials toward New Jersey teacher certification. You can begin your New Jersey teaching career earlier if you understand how your out-of-state license can be used to fulfill requirements for teacher certification in this state.

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement New Jersey participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.
State Grants Full Reciprocity New Jersey does not grant full reciprocity.
Coursework Requirements Out-of-state candidates have no additional coursework requirements, though CEAS candidates must have student teaching experience.
Test-out or Exemption New Jersey does not offer test-out or exemption.
Assessment Requirements Out-of-state CEAS candidates must pass a state-approved performance assessment or have passed one in their home state. Teachers holding National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification or the Meritorious New Teacher Candidate designation are exempt. Those without a performance assessment can receive a provisional CE while they fulfill the requirements. An out-of-state candidate must take a New Jersey subject matter test if they did not do so previously.
Different Requirements Based on Experience The same requirements exist for experienced and inexperienced out-of-state teachers. However, experienced teachers may qualify for a Standard certificate if they have a valid certificate and written documentation of at least two effective years of teaching within three consecutive years of the four calendar years prior to their application.
Performance Requirements To qualify for a Standard certificate, out-of-state candidates must have NBPTS certification or a valid out-of-state license with two years of teaching within three consecutive years of the four years prior to application, with written confirmation.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials Out-of-state candidates can qualify for a Standard certificate if they hold a valid out-of-state certification with two years of teaching within three consecutive years of the four calendar years immediately preceding their application. They must have a letter from their supervisor or a NBPTS certificate.

Information reported by the Education Commission of the States.

Alternate Teaching Certification

You can earn alternate teaching certification in New Jersey by participating in two-year Alternate Route or CE educator preparation programs. These programs offer a non-traditional option for candidates who meet education and experience requirements for teacher certification, but have not completed a traditional approved teacher preparation program. The CE authorizes you to teach in positions that require certification. You must complete an additional teacher certification program to progress to a Standard license from a CE.

Teach for America

Teach for America is a national organization that works to establish and support education equality in the United States. In New Jersey, volunteers impact low-income schools in Newark, Camden, and Passaic. Teach for America volunteers are talented college graduates who work as leaders in the classrooms and communities they serve. To participate, you must be chosen from a competitive applicant pool. Selected volunteers receive training so they can earn New Jersey teacher certifications to assume teaching positions where they are most needed.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

Career changers making the transition into teaching can earn teacher certification via Alternate Route teacher preparation programs. These programs are designed to fast track the certification process for candidates who did not complete a formal teacher preparation program. They offer the most affordable and efficient way to become a certified teacher in New Jersey. Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree with at least 30 credits in the subject area that you desire to teach. After acquiring a CE, you must complete a 50-hour pre-service course before you can begin teaching. Upon employment, you can enroll in a district mentoring program and CE educator preparation program to complete the requirements for a Standard teaching license while you work.

Student Loan Forgiveness for New Jersey Teachers

Certified teachers in New Jersey may qualify for partial or complete student loan forgiveness. By accepting a full-time position in a school that teaches a high number of students from low-income families, or serving in a teacher shortage area, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness programs administered by the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation for Teachers or Stafford Loan Forgiveness Program. The amount of time you spend in these teaching assignments typically affects the amount of loan forgiveness you receive.