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Requirements to Become a Special Education Teacher in New Jersey

Sep 02, 2022

New Jersey employs the third-highest number of kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers in the United States. This means that individuals interested in becoming special education teachers may find they have good job prospects in New Jersey.

New Jersey Special Education Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in New Jersey (2021)* $72,140 (Kindergarten and Elementary); $75,540 (Middle School); $79,070 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Liberal arts or science subject area
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills test; Praxis II content area exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Special education teachers in New Jersey must earn a bachelor's degree. They must maintain GPA minimums in their degree studies. When the GPA requirement for an A is 4.0, students are required to graduate with a minimum 3.0 average. Students who have not maintained a GPA of 3.0 but have a GPA of 2.75 or higher may still qualify if they take the Praxis test in their teaching subject area and receive a high enough score.

If an aspiring special education teacher plans to teach in middle school or high school, they may opt to major in the subject they want to teach. Students planning to teach elementary school must pursue a liberal arts major or a science major, or complete at least 60 credits in liberal arts studies. Regardless of the grade level they intend on teaching, students must also complete between 21 and 27 hours of special education coursework as part of their program.

Step 2: Complete Age/Content Area Certification Requirements

Special education teachers are required to obtain dual certification. The first step is to acquire certification to teach the subject area and age group they intend to work with. Applicants planning to teach kindergarten or elementary school students would complete the Elementary School Teacher in Grades K-6 certification requirements. Middle school certification involves selecting a subject to specialize in, such as math or science. Applicants planning to teach high school also pursue certification in their subject area.

To earn an initial Certificate of Eligibility (CE) for these grade levels it is necessary to fulfill a basic skills assessment requirement. This can be met by demonstrating a score on a standardized test that is within the top third percentile or passing the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test. Passing scores for each subtest are:

  • Reading - 156
  • Writing - 162
  • Mathematics - 150

In addition to the basic skills requirement, applicants must also pass the Praxis II subject exam required for their teaching subject and grade level.

The physiology and hygiene requirement can be completed by taking a college course in a qualifying subject area, such as biology or nutrition, passing an exam, or completing military training.

To earn the Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS), it is necessary to fulfill all of the requirements for the CE. The CEAS has additional requirements that include completing an approved program that provides teacher training. Applicants must also pass a teaching evaluation.

Step 3: Complete Students with Disabilities Certification Requirements

Once an individual has obtained a CE or CEAS, they can apply for a Students With Disabilities certification. The only additional requirement for the Students With Disabilities CEAS is to demonstrate possession of certification in an instructional area.

Teacher Certification Resources

Use these resources prepare to take the Praxis tests to obtain teacher certification in New Jersey. Teachers planning to teach elementary school will find the Praxis Elementary Education - Multiple Subjects practice and study guide helpful, while those planning to teach middle school social studies to students in grades 6 through 8 can use the practice and study guide for the Praxis Middle School Social Studies test. All aspiring teachers can take advantage of the Core Academic Skills study guide.

  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators
  • Praxis Elementary Education - Multiple Subjects: Practice & Study Guide
  • Praxis Middle School - Social Studies: Practice & Study Guide
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