Teach STEM in New Jersey
Teaching a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subject in a K-12 School can be rewarding as a career, but figuring out the right pathway into teaching can be a challenge. We're here to help.
Basic Information about Teaching Science in NJ
If you wish to be a science teacher in New Jersey, and you do not already have NJ teaching certification, there are a few things to know:
1.) You need a teaching certificate. New Jersey requires teachers in public schools to earn a teaching certificate. Many states offer a general science certification that can be used to teach all science subjects, but currently NJ requires specializations in each area.
2.) You need a college degree with a major (or at least 30 credits) in the main certification area. (For Career and Technical Education endorsements however, an Associates degree or 8,000 hours in the appropriate field is required).
3.) There are other legal and professional requirements. You will need to pass a background check and basic skills test in order to even apply for entrance into a teacher certification program. See the NJ Department of Education website for details. Also, NJ currently has a residency requirement for teachers, but there is an appeal process, and in past years appeals have been regularly granted on the basis of employer need.
4.) There are many kinds science teacher preparation programs all throughout New Jersey. We have undergraduate where teachers earn certification alongside a Bachelors, post-baccalaureate programs that are just for certification, and graduate programs where a Masters degree is earned alongside the teaching certificate. Some people start out in community colleges and transfer to four-year institutions. Others hold other certifications and want to get certified in mathematics or a science area.
5.) There are multiple types of teaching science jobs. Many science teachers are certified in academic certification areas such as chemistry, biological science, physics, earth science, and even agriculture. Others aim to teach at the middle school or the elementary level. However, there is also a high need for teachers in Career and Technical Education (CTE), particularly in our state's expanding vocational and technical county school systems. The requirements for some of these CTE certification are less strict, and give credit to time spent developing expertise on the job. Others require an appropriate four-year degree in the field. Some of the CTE certification areas include:
Animal Services, Environmental Service Systems, Natural Resources Systems, Drafting and Design Technology, Engineering Technology, Emergency Medical Technicians, Computer Science Technology, Fire Science, Stationary Engineering, Electronics Technology, Chemical Technology, Electronics Technology, Marine Sciences, Veterinary Technicians, and many more. See here for a full list.
6.) New Jersey has some unique programs. Across the state, science teacher educators are always innovating and finding new ways to provide unique opportunities to those who would like to become science teachers. A number of university programs offer NSF-funded Noyce Teacher Scholarship programs to prospective teachers. Others offer one-year residency programs or combined Bachelors/Masters programs where students earn multiple certifications, such as a Teacher of Students with Disabilities (TSD) certification. The Knowles Teaching Initiative is a selective program designed to support first-year science and mathematics teachers. One of the purposes of this site is to help make prospective teachers aware of these programs.
7.) There are lots of people willing to help you. Science teachers are in high demand, and there are many science education leaders who are very willing to lend a hand to prospective science teachers. Becoming certified to teach science takes two years or more, and the requirements can seem onerous at times, but you will learn a great deal about yourself in the process. We encourage you to reach out to the faculty and staff at the preparation programs listed on this site, and there also are a great number of current teachers, science supervisors, and administrators throughout our state who can be counted on to point you in the right direction.
Click any of the buttons below to see which science teacher certification programs in New Jersey will lead you toward the certification and/or degree you seek.
Subject area certifications
Community College, Undergraduate, & Graduate pathways
Links to NJDOE requirements for each certification area:
Career and Technical Education
Middle School with Subject Matter Specialization: Mathematics in grades 5-8 (1102)
Middle School with Subject Matter Specialization: Science in grades 5-8 (1103)
Students with Disabilities (2475)
Adding NJ Certification if coming from a different state
New Jersey has some of the most rigorous requirements for teaching in the nation, so even if you have completed a teacher education program in a different state, or have an existing certification, it does not mean that you will be eligible to obtain a NJ teaching credential automatically.
Link to NJ Reciprocity information page
Link to NJDOE flowchart for out-of-state teachers seeking a NJ license
Note that anyone applying for a teaching credential in NJ must apply via the Teachers Certification Information System - Online
What if I want to teach computer science?
At the present time, the state of New Jersey does not offer a teacher certification in teaching computer science, and most people who teach computer science in schools are certified in K-12 mathematics. However, it does seem likely that there will be a computer science teaching certificate in the near future, according to the New Jersey Department of Education Computer Science State Plan.
More details on the recent changes, along with resources for teaching computer science are available on the NJDOE web page for the Office of Educational Technology & School Innovation.