How to Become a Teacher in New Jersey

Learn how to qualify for teaching certification in New Jersey, including degree requirements, student teaching experiences, and certification exams.
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Aspiring New Jersey teachers must earn a bachelor's degree, meet professional experience requirements, and pass certification exams in their teaching subject and grade level.

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) awards different teaching certifications depending on whether you have met the requirements or are still completing a teacher-training program. Educational services personnel, school administrators, and career and technical educators must also get certification to work in public schools in New Jersey.

New Jersey is among the highest-paying states for teachers in the United States. The state also has one of the highest employment levels of kindergarten, elementary, and secondary school teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Learn more below about how to become a teacher in New Jersey.

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4 Steps to Becoming a Teacher in New Jersey

The NJDOE offers a variety of paths toward teaching certification in New Jersey. Teachers who meet all requirements for certification, including completing an NJDOE-approved teacher training program and passing Praxis exams, may qualify for a provisional certificate through the school that extends an offer of employment.

You must then complete two years of teaching experience at that school within a consecutive three-year period, after which the school can recommend you to the NJDOE for a standard teaching certificate.

You must apply for a certificate of eligibility (CE) or certificate of eligibility with advanced standing (CEAS) to qualify for the provisional teaching process. The NJDOE also offers reciprocity to out-of-state educators who meet its certification requirements.

1. Earn Your Bachelor's Degree

Candidates for teaching certification in New Jersey must first earn an accredited bachelor's degree. Middle school, high school, and career/technical education educators should consider pursuing a degree or specialization in the subject they want to teach. You'll need a minimum 3.0 GPA to be eligible for certification.

A bachelor's degree in education commonly teaches classroom management, math and literacy skills, and how to create an inclusive classroom.

You must also complete a state-approved educator preparation program, including field experience. This combination of academic and career training prepares you to meet the core and subject-specific teaching requirements of the Praxis exams.

2. Gain Student Teaching Experience

A key certification requirement is the completion of the student teaching experience. Students can complete some or all of their required clinical practicum hours while earning a bachelor's degree; however, those still in the process of satisfying clinical hours may only qualify for CE certification.

You must complete a minimum of 175 field hours of student teaching. Starting in the 2024-2025 school year, eligible students can receive $3,000 to cover academic and living expenses while student teaching.

3. Take Required Certification Tests

In New Jersey, you must pass Praxis exams, offered through ETS. The test you must take varies depending on the grade and the subject you want to teach. There are also separate certification exams for some specializations, including ESL and world languages.

Students with a GPA between 2.75 and 3.0 may meet the GPA requirement if their Praxis exam score meets or exceeds the passing score + 10%. Similarly, if your GPA is above 3.5, your passing score can be slightly lower — but no less than the passing score — of 5%.

You may be eligible to waive the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test requirement if you score in the top one-third percentile on the ACT, SAT, or GRE in the year the test was taken.

4. Apply for Certification

The provisional certificate legalizes employment for a newly hired teacher. It is valid for up to two years and will allow you to go through the provisional teacher process, including mentoring and evaluation by credentialed educators.

You must apply through the New Jersey Educator Certification (NJEdCert) System. The application process requires you to submit certification test scores, transcripts, program completion verification, and professional experience verification.

Teachers requesting foreign or out-of-state credentials or a name change on their certificate should also submit supporting documents through the NJEdCert System.

All certification and credentialing fees are waived for applicants from July 1, 2023, until June 20, 2024, due to a provision in the state budget.

What's the Career Outlook for Teachers in New Jersey?

New Jersey teachers enjoy many job opportunities, especially in the state's teacher shortage areas. According to data from the U.S. Department of Education, almost five people completed teacher preparation programs for every 1,000 students in New Jersey in 2015. Almost a decade later, only two students in 1,000 complete such a program.

Already in a high-paying geographical area, you can earn more for committing to work in a high-need district, subject, or specialization. Additionally, starting during the 2024-2025 school year, you can earn $3,000 to support yourself while student teaching.

How Much Will You Make as a Teacher in New Jersey?

New Jersey is among the top ten highest-paying states for teachers. New Jersey teachers earned an average annual salary of nearly $80,000 — higher than the national average public school teacher salary of $66,745.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), secondary teachers in New Jersey earned an especially high annual mean wage of $85,930 in 2023. New Jersey special educators earned between $77,000 and $84,000 in 2022, depending on which level of schooling they worked.

Here is how much you can earn to become a teacher in the Garden State.

Average Starting Salaries for New Jersey Teachers
Job Title Average Salary (2023)
Elementary School Teacher $79,050
Middle School Teacher $81,920
High School Teacher $83,590
Career/Technical Education Teacher $78,210
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Frequently Asked Questions About Teacher Certification in NJ

Can you become a teacher in NJ without a teaching degree?

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Yes, NJ offers an alternate route to earn a teaching certificate for those who have not completed a teacher preparation program or an education degree.

Applicants must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility and pass all required background checks to begin teaching in a public school classroom. To secure a permanent teaching certificate, you must complete the Provisional Teacher Process, which includes mentoring, evaluation, and formal instruction requirements.

How long does it take to become a teacher in New Jersey?

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Traditionally, it takes four to five years to start teaching professionally in New Jersey. Those who have earned a four-year bachelor's degree and have completed a New Jersey Department of Education-approved educator training program qualify for a provisional certificate to start teaching in a classroom.

However, there are alternate routes that take around two years to complete. Those require a bachelor's degree and additional experience in the subject you want to teach.

How do you become a substitute teacher in NJ?

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To earn a substitute credential, you must first get a sponsor from a school district or organization and complete a criminal history records check, including getting fingerprinted.

Those who apply for an instructional substitute credential must also have completed 30 semester-hour credits at an accredited university. To be eligible to substitute in career and technical education, you must have two years of applicable work experience.

Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed March 18, 2024. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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