Becoming a Preschool Teacher in New Jersey

Research the steps required to become a preschool teacher in New Jersey. Learn about the education requirements, certification levels, and application process. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Info for New Jersey Preschool Teachers

Preschool teacher candidates in New Jersey must earn a certificate of eligibility before applying for their first job in the state. There are two different certificates of eligibility available, each with different requirements depending the candidate's educational background. The table below is an overview of the requirements, certification options, and salary expectations for preschool teachers in New Jersey.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Exam Requirements Praxis II: Early Childhood: Content Knowledge; Basic Skills Assessment or Teacher Performance Assessment
Certification Certificate of Eligibility (CE), Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS), and Standard Certificate (SC)
Certification Renewal Period Lifetime validity
Average Salary (2018) $40,880 (for all New Jersey preschool teachers)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% growth (for all preschool teachers except special education nationwide)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Pursue the Required Education

In order to begin the process to become a preschool teacher in New Jersey, you must first earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. New Jersey requires all preschool teacher candidates to have at least 60 liberal arts credits or a degree in a liberal arts or sciences field. Those who graduated after September 1, 2016, must have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average or higher in order to be eligible, though exceptions apply for those with a slightly lower grade point average. For those who graduated college before September 1, 2016, the minimum grade point average is 2.75.

Step 2: Select the Appropriate Certificate of Eligibility

The state of New Jersey has two separate tracks to full certification. The Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) is designed for candidates who have completed a formal teacher preparation program, and the Certificate of Eligibility (CE) is for those who have earned a bachelor's degree without formal teacher preparation. Each track has different requirements, and both can be converted into a a lifetime Standard Certificate (SC) after two years of teaching experience.

Step 3: Complete the Examination Requirements

Candidates on both certification tracks must complete the Praxis II examination administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The Praxis II is a subject-specific standardized test with many versions. New Jersey preschool teacher candidates must take the Early Childhood: Content Knowledge version. After completing the Praxis II test, CE candidates must complete an additional Basic Skills Assessment examination. CEAS candidates must complete a Teacher Performance Assessment so the state can evaluate their training in formal teacher preparation programs.

Step 4: Submit Your Application

Once you have met the required examination and education requirements, you will be able to submit a formal application through the NJ Department of Education website. After submitting your application, you will have to ensure you have met the physiology and hygiene requirement. If you did not complete a course on physiology or human hygiene-related subjects (such as biology or health) as part of your bachelor's degree or have not completed military training, you will have to take an additional 30 question examination at a New Jersey county office of education. You can only register for this final examination after you have submitted your online application.

Step 5: Get Hired and Complete the Steps to Obtain a Standard Certificate

Once you have completed a CE or CEAS certificate, you will be eligible to apply and get hired into any preschool teaching position in New Jersey. All new teachers are required to join the Provisional Teacher Program (PTP), which includes formal supervision and mentorship from other licensed education professionals. After two years of professional teaching experience, both CE and CEAS certified teachers are eligible to apply for a lifetime Standard Certificate.

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