New Jersey ESL Teacher Job Description and ESOL Certification Requirements

The New Jersey Department of Education is encouraging college graduates to become teachers, and offer both traditional and alternative certification programs designed to meet the needs of all students. English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers in New Jersey are an important part of this initiative.

According to the New Jersey Department of Education, in 2007 the state was home to 65,000 school aged English Language Learners (ELLs). The diversity within this group is due in part to the fact that within the Princeton Regional School System, many of the ELLs are the children of visiting professors from Europe who are working at the university. TESOL certification in New Jersey is in great demand, as more jobs for ESL teachers are anticipated.

Follow these steps to become an ESL teacher in New Jersey:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Preparation Program
Pass the Necessary Tests to Earn ESL Certification in New Jersey
Apply for Your New Jersey Teaching Certificate
Maintain and Upgrade Your New Jersey Teaching Certificate

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Degree and Teacher Preparation Program in New Jersey

There are two levels of certification possible for prospective ESL teachers in New Jersey– Certificate of Eligibility and Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing. Each has its own educational requirements:

*Capella University offers an online Master’s program in English Language Learning and Teaching designed to help educators advance their career in supporting diverse student populations. While it does not satisfy licensure requirements, the program can help you build the skills to use instructional strategies, emerging trends, and best practices to effectively teach English Language Learners and help students adapt to new cultural environments.

*The USC Rossier School of Education offers its Master of Arts in Teaching - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MAT-TESOL) program online, allowing current and aspiring educators to earn a master’s degree from a top-ranked university and specialize in teaching English to non-native speakers - from anywhere in the world.

  • Certificate of Eligibility (CE) in ESL  You must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university (a list of such accreditations may be found here).
    • If you are graduating on or after September 1, 2016, you must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (if you graduate before that date, your cumulative GPA must be 2.75)
    • You must meet New Jersey’s physiology and hygiene requirement by completing a course in nutrition, health or biology
    • You will be required to pass additional tests (listed in Step 2 below)
    • You must complete 24 hours of pre-service courses to show your knowledge of pedagogical skills
    • Once you receive your CE in ESL and have a teaching job, you must enroll in a New Jersey state-approved teacher preparation program in ESL and complete 15 to 21 credit hours.
  • Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) in ESL – You must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution AND have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program in ESL
    • You must meet the GPA requirements listed above
    • You must meet the physiology and hygiene requirement listed above
    • Your program must include a student teaching component

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Necessary Tests to Earn ESL Certification in New Jersey

If you are pursuing a CE in ESL, you must pass the following tests prior to certification:

If you are pursuing a CEAS in ESL, the following tests must be passed before certification will occur:

Prospective ESL teachers in New Jersey are currently exempt from taking the Praxis II ESL Examination, according to the Educational Testing Service.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Your New Jersey Teaching Certificate

Once you have completed the above steps, you are ready to apply for your New Jersey Teaching Certificate.

If you are applying for a CE in ESL:

  • Begin the online application process here
  • Pay all necessary fees here
  • Have the Educational Testing Service send your SAT, ACT or GRE scores directly to the NJ Department of Education at the address below
  • Submit all of the following documents together in a packet to New Jersey Department of Education Office of Certification and Induction, P.O. Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625-0500:
    • Evidence of passing English language proficiency tests
    • Certificate of Completion for meeting the 24 hour pre-service requirement
    • Official sealed transcripts
    • Completed Oath of Allegiance/verification of accuracy form

If you are applying for a CEAS in ESL:

  • Begin the online application process here
  • Pay all necessary fees here
  • Submit all of the following documents together in a packet to New Jersey Department of Education Office of Certification and Induction, P.O. Box 500, Trenton, NJ 08625-0500:

 


 

Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your New Jersey Teaching Certificate

If you have received a CE or CEAS in ESL, it is valid for your lifetime, and you may seek ESL teaching positions in New Jersey under this certificate. Most certified teachers, however, go on to seek Provisional Certification and Standard Certification.

  • Provisional Certification occurs when you have a CE or CEAS and are employed in a New Jersey public school, where you complete an induction program. You must complete 30 weeks of mentoring under the direction of a teaching holding a Standard Certificate, and your performance will be evaluated three times. You do not apply for this certificate – rather, your school district will apply for it when you meet the requirements. The Provisional Certificate is valid for two years, and is renewable up to two times

  • Standard Certification occurs when you have completed the two-year induction program under your Provisional Certificate. and have also met the following requirements (again, your school district will apply when you meet the requirements):
    • If you hold an out-of-state teaching certificate, have a letter of teaching experience from a school official, on school letterhead, that documents you have taught for one year full time
    • If you hold a NJ teaching certificate, you need not send in a letter of teaching experience
    • Send in a copy of your out-of-state teaching certificate if applicable (if you hold a NJ teaching certificate, you need not send a copy in)

Your Standard Certificate never expires. However, you are expected to meet professional standards, listed here. Because each district has its own special requirements, your school district will help you develop a Professional Development Plan individualized to your needs and specifications. There is no centralized registration through the New Jersey Department of Education for professional development.

Graduate Degrees

This might be the perfect time to pursue a graduate degree in ESL. This type of degree can help you to advance within your school district, seek ESL teaching positions in other New Jersey schools, and possibly to earn a higher salary. These programs are also designed for New Jersey teachers who are certified in another area but seek ESL certification. New Jersey graduate degrees in ESL that are possible include:

  • Ed.M with Certification in English as a Second Language
  • Master of Arts in Urban Education – ESL Specialization
  • M.Ed Teacher of ESL
  • Post-Master Certificate in ESL

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