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How to Obtain a New Jersey Substitute Teaching Certificate

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Most New Jersey substitute teachers possess a standard instructional credential. Some substitutes, however, are not credentialed teachers. They hold the New Jersey substitute certificate, which allows them to fill in for absences when no credentialed teachers are available.

Substitute Certificate

While the New Jersey standard teaching credential is issued at the state level, the substitute certificate is granted at the county level. Every New Jersey county superintendent of schools has the authority to issue substitute teacher certificates in emergency situations when credentialed teachers are unavailable for substitute teaching. The substitute certificate is good for five years and valid throughout the state of New Jersey.

Qualifications by County

Every New Jersey county office of education sets its own requirements for the substitute certificate. In general, you need a minimum of 60 semester hours of college credit. You do not necessarily need work experience, although some counties prefer applicants who have experience working with children. For specific details, contact the county office of education that oversees the jurisdiction where you want to work as a substitute teacher.

Application Process

For an application package, contact the human resources office of either the local school district or the New Jersey county office of education that oversees the schools where you want to work. You must complete an application for the substitute credential and another for employment as a substitute teacher. As part of the credential application, you must sign an Oath of Allegiance form before a notary public and submit a money order or cashier's check for the certificate fee, which was $125 as of publication. You also must have your official college transcripts sent to the human resources office.

Fingerprinting Requirement

All candidates for substitute teacher positions undergo a thorough criminal background check, which involves running applicants' fingerprints through the New Jersey State Police and FBI criminal fingerprint databases. This process begins when you submit an initial form and processing fee through the New Jersey Department of Education website. Next is a fingerprint scan at a specified location. You forward the results of the background check from the State of New Jersey to the human resources office where you applied.

Job Application Forms

In addition to filling in a job application, you must complete the IRS Form W-4, the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-9, which verifies you are eligible for work in the United States. You must also submit documentation from your physician that you got an approved Mantoux test, a test screening for tuberculosis.