Early Childhood Teacher Certification in New Jersey

Early Childhood Education in New Jersey

New Jersey, known as the Garden State, is also recognized for having a superb educational system. New Jersey’s public schools are ranked best in the nation, according to Education State Rankings 2011-2012: Pre K-12 Education Across America, and hold several high honors, according to many other respected publications. It is in the top two states for Education Week’s success and academic achievement categories, and is best in the nation for the percentage of three and four-year-olds enrolled in preschool. The National Institute for Early Education Research also praises New Jersey for its high-quality preschool programs. There are many opportunities for individuals pursuing a career in early childhood education in this thriving state.

* Rasmussen College, School of Education offers Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs at two levels to meet the needs of early childhood educators at any stage of their career: A 9-month ECE Certificate for those just getting started, or a Bachelor’s in ECE Leadership for those ready to advance their careers by moving into administration.

* The Online Master's in Early Childhood Education from Capella's NCATE-accredited professional education unit will prepare you to effectively engage young students in the pre-K setting. With the option to focus on special education or classroom supervision, Capella's Master’s in Early Childhood Education is designed with the modern pre-K classroom in mind.

* The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at the USC Rossier School of Education is designed for aspiring K-12 teachers looking to gain the skills and knowledge needed to become great teachers and help all students succeed. This teacher preparation program also prepares candidates to be recommended for a teaching credential.

Requirements for New Jersey Teacher Certification or Licensure

The New Jersey Department of Education includes extensive information about the ways to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.

The five main types of certificates available for teachers in New Jersey are as follows:

  1. The Certificate of Eligibility (CE) is an alternative route to licensure with lifetime validity awarded to individuals who have not completed a teacher preparation program but have met the basic requirements.
  2. The Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) is issued to individuals who have completed a teacher preparation program and have met the basic requirements.
  3. The Provisional Certificate is a two-year certificate for newly hired, first-time teachers.
  4. The Standard Certificate is a permanent certificate issued to individuals who have completed the Provisional Teacher Program, or who already hold an in-state or out-of-state license.
  5. The Non-Citizen Standard Certificate is a five-year certificate granted to individuals who have met all of the state requirements but are not U.S. citizens.

To apply, submit an application through the Teacher Certification Information System (TCIS) ensuring that you have followed all of the requirements on the application checklist.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact the customer service department should you have any further questions about the licensure/certification process.

Degree Programs in Early Childhood Education

There are approximately 10 accredited early childhood education colleges in New Jersey.

is a highly selective university rated the best institution in the northern region of the country by U.S. News & World Report. It offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (pre-K through eight years) and elementary education (K through eight). It also offersan integrated five-year program for undergraduate students interested in urban education that culminates in a master’s degree. In addition, a regular master’s degree in elementary education (K through eight) is available.

is a public cosmopolitan liberal arts university. It offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary education (pre-K through five). The college produces the most teachers in the state. It also has a Child Study Institute where students can practice their craft in a day-care setting with kids from the surrounding community.

is ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2013 as having the 18th best elementary graduate education program in the nation. The school offers a bachelor’s degree in early childhood (pre-K through three) and elementary education (K through five). It also offers several different options for earning a master’s degree in early childhood or elementary education.

offers a range of undergraduate certification options in Early Childhood, as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching with a K-5 focus and a Master’s in Education with an Early Childhood concentration. The University was recently awarded a $3.2 million, five year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation to recruit, train, and mentor principals for high-needs school districts.

Finding a Job as an Early Childhood Teacher in New Jersey

You can take several different avenues to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of those seeking careers in early childhood education. Check out the New Jersey School Directory and search for open positions on the NJ School Jobs listing.

Other employers to become familiar with are private and Montessori schools and Head Start. Be sure to research the child care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly-qualified teachers and assistant teachers.

GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community, as well.

Professional Organizations for Teachers

Many professional organizations for teachers in the state of New Jersey share similar goals.

The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) serves as a voice for labor, policy and professional interests for its members. Joining your local association automatically grants membership in the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization.

The New Jersey Association for the Education of Young Children (NJAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

The American Federation of Teachers in New Jersey (AFTNJ) promotes state-wide organization and unionization of teachers. By joining, you become part of a 1.5 million-member organization that stands up for teachers’ rights on the national, state and local levels.

New Jersey ECE Bloggers

The New Jersey Education Now blog is a multi-contributor site that covers hot topics current in New Jersey schools.

The NJ.com education blog features news articles from various periodicals. Several New Jersey teachers also offer insightful information through their personal blogs.

First Grade Hugs and High Fives is written by a passionate first-grade teacher of ten years who holds a master’s degree in reading and language arts as well as a reading specialist endorsement.

Compassionate Teacher is written by a first-grade teacher who shares early education classroom ideas and links to other valuable blog sites.

A Differentiated Kindergarten is written by a kindergarten teacher committed to the journey of creating a differentiated classroom for early elementary students.

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