Preschool Teacher Requirements in New Jersey

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Teaching is a rewarding occupation that offers a chance to shape the lives of young people, and early childhood education can be an especially fulfilling career. New Jersey is among the highest-ranked states in certain educational performance categories, according to a 2011 article cited on the Huffington Post. To achieve that high ranking, New Jersey asks a lot from teachers, including those in early education. If you are planning on teaching Pre-K in the Garden State, there are some requirements you will need to fill before entering the classroom.

Certificate of Eligibility

For teachers with prior experience from another state, securing a certificate of eligibility to teach in preschool in New Jersey is the first step in the process. According to the New Jersey Department of Education website, requirements include possession of a bachelor’s degree; a GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale, or 2.50 for those graduating before September 1, 2004; and successful completion of a state-issued subject matter test. You must also meet the state's Physiology and Hygiene Requirement, though this might be waived if you are ex-military or have college course study in these areas. Before entering the classroom or playroom, preschool teachers in New Jersey must complete a state-approved Preschool through Grade 3 program, regardless of past experience. Completion of the program grants the applicant full licensure to teach in a preschool.

First-Time Teachers

Individuals new to the world of preschool teaching follow a slightly different route than experienced teachers in New Jersey. Applicants still must secure a certificate of eligibility to apply for a teaching position at a preschool. Upon hiring, the teacher is placed into the provisional teacher program and receives a provisional certificate. During the next 30 weeks of employment, the teacher receives supervision and support from other experienced teachers. If the teacher is successful, the hiring school will evaluate and recommend to the state that a standard certificate be granted.