How to Become a Teacher in New Jersey

Individuals wondering how to become a teacher in New Jersey must become familiar with the educational and other requirements for licensure. A bachelor degree is required to become a teacher, and online degree programs are a great way to fulfill this requirement while maintaining school-life balance. Before choosing your area of specialization, look at the specific requirements for certification in your area of interest. Knowing the relevant guidelines early in your education process ensures that you will have a rewarding teaching career.

Teaching in New Jersey: An Overview

As the most densely inhabited and 11th-most-populous state in the United States, New Jersey has a large number of schools and teachers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the state educates 1.4 million students in public schools. Still more enroll in private schools, although exact data are not available for private institutions.

New Jersey school districts employ more than 110,000 teachers in 2,634 public schools. With a large workforce, New Jersey schools maintain an average student-to-teacher ratio of 12.73, significantly below the national average of 15.97. The opportunity to work in smaller classrooms draws teachers to join the New Jersey education workforce.

How to Become a Teacher in New Jersey

 

Traditional Route to Certification

Teachers in New Jersey must fulfill several requirements to become fully certified.

Bachelor degree. All teachers in the state must earn a bachelor degree from an accredited college or university. Official transcripts must be sent to the state Department of Education to establish these credentials.

Teacher preparation program. Individuals who follow the traditional route to becoming a teacher in New Jersey must complete an approved teacher-preparation program, commonly an education major at an accredited university. These programs prepare students for a career in classroom education.

Testing requirements. To qualify for certification in New Jersey, you must have experience in a specialty. This may range from early childhood education to Italian to biological sciences. To demonstrate competency, the New Jersey Department of Education requires teaching candidates to take the Praxis II examination in their specialty. Passing scores on this exam are determined by the state.

Alternate Route to Certification

In many cases, individuals realize they want to pursue a career in education after having completed a bachelor degree in a different subject area. New Jersey provides an alternate route to certification to meet the needs of these individuals. There is an option to earn a two-year provisional certificate, which provides a legal opportunity for employment without the candidate having completed a teacher-preparation program. However, the individual must be mentored and supervised, and has to complete formal instruction to receive a traditional certificate after the provisional certificate expires.

Benefits to Becoming a New Jersey Teacher

There are several benefits to working in New Jersey, and teachers report relatively high satisfaction with their work in the state. First, although New Jersey has an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the education sector is adding jobs. In the past 12 months, the education and health services sector of the state economy grew by 3.2 percent, representing strong opportunities for educators. With a large teaching workforce, expect adequate teaching job availability for beginning educators.

Another benefit to working in New Jersey is the opportunity to work with a wide variety of students. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that New Jersey students frequently perform below the national average in tests of math, science, reading and writing. Talented teachers can make a strong difference in the lives of these students by preparing for a career in education. For individuals passionate about education and improving students’ abilities, becoming a teacher in New Jersey is an excellent choice.