New Jersey ESL Teacher Job Description and ESOL Certification Requirements

New Jersey has a growing community of immigrants that comprises nearly one quarter of the state’s population, according to the American Immigration Council. Making up nearly half of all workers in production and in the STEM fields, their value to the state economy and culture speaks for itself.

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The Master of Arts in Teaching - TESOL online program from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to teach students of all ages in the U.S. and internationally, gives you the option to pursue a teaching credential, and can be completed in 12 months.
Campbellsville University Offers an ESL Endorsement (P-12), M.A. in Teaching - Secondary Education, M.A. in TESOL
Liberty University Offers Undergrad Cert and B.Ed. in English as a Second Language.
Greenville University Offers a Master of Arts in Education - Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL)
George Mason University Offers a Master of Education (MEd) in Curriculum and Instruction, Concentration in TESOL
Capella University offers 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 to help students adapt to new cultural environments.
St. John's University Offers an Online Ph.D. in Literacy

A growing immigrant community in the Garden State has, of course, translated into a growing English Language Learner (ELL) student population. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), over the past generation, the number of ELLs in New Jersey’s public school system (PreK-12) has nearly doubled, rising from 55,463 to 83,560 in less than twenty years.

A strong ELL population has resulted in a shortage of English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. In fact, as of the 2021-2022 school year, the U.S. Department of Education reported ESL teacher shortages in all grade level (PreK-12).

These steps will show you exactly how to earn TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification and become an ESL teacher in New Jersey:

#1 ButtonEarn a Degree in ESL and Qualify to Become an ESL Teacher in New Jersey
#2 ButtonPass the Necessary Tests to Earn ESL Certification in New Jersey
#3 ButtonApply for Your New Jersey Teaching Certificate
#4 ButtonConsider Earning a Master’s to Maintain and Upgrade Your New Jersey Teaching Certificate
#5 ButtonLearn More About ESL Teacher Salary Expectations and Jobs in New Jersey

 


 

Step 1. Earn a Degree in ESL and Qualify to Become an ESL Teacher in New Jersey

In New Jersey, you’ll earn an ESL certificate of eligibility (endorsement) after first becoming licensed as an elementary, secondary, or special education teacher. That means that learning how to become an ESL teacher here first involves earning your initial teaching license by completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree or graduate certificate that includes ESL curriculum.

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There are two levels of certification possible for prospective ESL teachers in New Jersey, each of which has its own educational requirements:

  • Certificate of Eligibility (CE) in ESL  This option is designed for teachers that meet most education and exam requirements, but who have not yet completed the teacher certification portion of their training. You must possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
    • A cumulative GPA of 3.0
    • 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

You’ll find a nice selection of ESL certificate programs in New Jersey that will provide you with the necessary coursework to earn ESL certification. Many of these programs are offered as master’s in ESL degrees and graduate certificates and are designed specifically for licensed educators.

For example, Caldwell University offers a graduate certificate that consists of 21 credits in the following topics:

  • Linguistics
  • Language Acquisition: First and Second Language Development
  • Theory and Practice of Teaching English to Non-Native Speakers
  • Reading Foundations
  • Curricula in a Multicultural Society
  • Structure of American English

Already have a bachelor’s degree in another field?

With a bachelor’s degree in another field, you may qualify for a master’s degree leading to an initial teaching license. Many schools that offer bachelor’s level teaching certificate programs also offer master’s options that include all of the coursework and practical experiences necessary to become certified as a New Jersey teacher with the additional coursework required to teach English as a second language.

 


 

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

Whether you’re pursuing a CE or CEAS in ESL, you must pass the following tests prior to certification:

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 when filling out application
  • 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:

If you are applying for a CEAS in ESL:

  • Begin the online application process here
  • Pay all necessary fees when filling out application
  • 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. Consider Earning a Master’s to 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:

  • EdM with Certification in English as a Second Language
  • Master of Arts in Urban Education – ESL Specialization
  • MEd Teacher of ESL

 


 

Step 5. Learn More About ESL Teacher Salary Expectations and Jobs in New Jersey

As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the following salaries for educators in New Jersey:

 

Elementary School

Early Career (25th percentile): $59,790
Median: $70,920
Experienced (90th percentile): $100,760

 

Middle School

Early Career (25th percentile): $60,630
Median: $73,160
Experienced (90th percentile): $101,860

 

High School

Early Career (25th percentile): $63,420
Median: $77,790
Experienced (90th percentile): $107,200

 

BLS stats also reveal what ESL teachers are earning in some of New Jersey’s largest metro areas, as of May 2020:

 

Atlantic City (Elementary School)

Early Career (25th percentile): $61,560
Median: $76,680
Experienced (90th percentile): $102,240

 

Ocean City (Middle School)

Early Career (25th percentile): $57,870
Median: $71,290
Experienced (90th percentile): $102,130

 

Newark (part of the NYC metro area) (High School)

Early Career (25th percentile): $69,490
Median: $89,620
Experienced (90th percentile): $132,510

 

Find ESL teacher jobs through this online job portal for New Jersey Public School Jobs and learn more about New Jersey’s ESL education field through the NJ Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages/NJ Bilingual Educators – NJTESOL/NJBE.

 

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, and secondary school teachers. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.

National Center for Education Statistics, English language learner (ELL) students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, fall 2000 through fall 2018. Data accessed June 2021.

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