Alternative Teaching Certification in New Jersey

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The New Jersey Department of Education offers an Alternate Route to Teaching program for candidates who do not fit the traditional mold. This route is designed for you if you have not completed a teacher preparation program but wish to become a certified teacher in New Jersey.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in New Jersey.

Alternative Certification Requirements


Education Requirements

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You must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility before beginning an alternate program. This means that you must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75
  • Complete at least 30 credits in the subject area in which you wish to teach
  • Pass the necessary examinations (see below)

After you have your CE and Provisional Teaching Certificate and are working as a New Jersey teacher, you must complete additional education requirements, as follows:

  • If you seek an Elementary CE: you must complete 200 hours at a state-approved regional training center or a Master of Arts in Teaching program. This includes 45 hours of study in teaching language arts/literacy and 45 hours of study in teaching mathematics. A list of approved college-based alternate route programs may be found here.
  • If you seek an Elementary School with Middle School Specialization CE: you must complete the above Elementary CE requirements plus a course in adolescent psychology
  • If you seek a Subject Area CE: you must complete 200 hours at a state-approved regional training center or a Master of Arts in Teaching program.
  • If you seek a Preschool through Grade 3 CE: you must complete an approved NJ college/university program consisting of 13 to 17 credits
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To embark on this route, you must meet the education requirements stated above as well as pass the following examinations:

  • An examination in hygiene, physiology, and substance abuse (or, to become exempt from this examination, prove that you have completed college courses in biology, health, or nutrition).
  • The correct subject area Praxis II exam

Experience Requirements

Once you obtain the Certificate of Eligibility, you may seek and accept employment as a teacher in New Jersey. A listing of available teaching positions in the state may be found here. You must then enroll in that school’s Provisional Teacher Program and receive a Provisional Teaching Certificate, good for two years. You will be mentored by a fellow teacher during the PTP and must complete additional educational requirements, as listed above. When you complete the PTP and all educational requirements, your school principal will recommend you for a Standard Teaching Certificate.


Criminal History Background Check

Before any New Jersey school will hire you, you must submit to a criminal history background check. This includes fingerprinting. Your fingerprints will be run through the Federal Bureau of Investigation as well as the New Jersey State Police (NJSP). Your employer will provide more information on this process to you.


Contact Information

For more information on approved alternate route programs, contact the colleges and universities housing them.

For more information on alternate route teacher certification, contact the Office of Licensure and Credentials Customer Service at 609-292-2070.

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