The Alternate Route is a certification program that allows qualified candidates to begin teaching after taking a 50-hour Introduction to Teaching course. The candidates then take the remaining two years of coursework while they are teaching. Alternate route candidates begin as a regular classroom teacher. They will have a mentor assigned to them–typically another teacher in the school—for the first year. They will have all the responsibilities and salary of a fully certified teacher and must obtain an effective summative evaluation rating in two of their first three years of teaching.

The Alternate Route is not an easier route to becoming a licensed teacher. It requires 400 hours of coursework, similar to a traditional teacher preparation program. A candidate must be able to learn on the job and be able to handle the workload of graduate-level classes while teaching. The advantage is that the candidate can start teaching right away and apply their knowledge in their own classroom.

For more information about the alternate route visit the NJDOE website.

Applying for a Certificate of Eligibility

  1. Submit your application to the New Jersey State Department of Education (NJDOE) for a Certificate of Eligibility (CE). You will apply online.
  2. Send an official transcript to NJDOE.
  3. Meet the Basic Skills Requirement. The NJDOE requires a passing score on the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests or an exemption. For more information about test, refer to Test Requirements for Certification in NJ. 
  4. Pass the Praxis II Subject Assessment test for the area you plan to teach. For the latest test requirements please visit the NJDOE web site or the Praxis test site.
  5. For more specific information about the CE application process, you may visit the New Jersey State Department of Education web site.

What should I do while the state is reviewing my CE application?

  • While the state is reviewing your application, you should register for the 50-hour Introduction to Teaching course. If you have met all the requirements for the Certificate of Eligibility (CE), the NJDOE will issue your CE in approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Once you have your CE, you can begin applying for a teaching position.

How do I check on the status of my CE application?

  • Once your DOE online application has been processed you may check the status of your application by choosing “CHECK APPLICATION STATUS” on the DOE website.

How long is the CE valid? Does it expire?

  • The CE is not a license and does not have an expiration date.

May I look for a job if I don’t have my CE?

  • Yes, however you must inform your potential employer that your CE is in process. You cannot sign a contract without a CE.  If you have additional questions regarding the application process, contact NJDOE at (877) 900-6960 or check with your county office of education.

Does my teaching job have to be in the same area as my CE?

  • Yes.  

What are the criteria for a teaching position?

  • The position must be one in which you are eligible to be enrolled in the Provisional Teacher Program. Check with the hiring administrator in the district for which you are going to work to confirm that your  position is appropriate for the provisional teacher program. If so, you will be enrolled in the Provisional Teacher Program.

May I teach in a private or charter school in New Jersey?

  • Yes. However, the school must be approved by the NJDOE and willing to enroll you in the Provisional Teacher Program. 

How can I find a job?

How do I earn the Standard Certificate?

  • After you have successfully passed each of the four semesters of New Pathways and edTPA, the state performance assessment, successfully taught for two years, and completed one year of mentoring, you can apply to the NJDOE for a Standard Certificate.

What if I have a degree from outside the United States?

  • You will need to have your transcript evaluated by a third party organization course-by-course evaluation, to include an overall GPA, indicating that the applicant's education is equivalent to a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited U.S. institution, with a GPA of at least 3.0. 
  • Visit the NACES web site for more information and a current list of accredited agencies. 

If I previously completed the Introduction to Teaching class under the initial Pathways program do I need to re-take the new 50-hour Pre-Service class?

  • If you completed the Introduction to Teaching class under the Pathways program prior to September 2017 you have until August 2022 to enroll in a special 24-hour Bridge class. You should contact the New Pathways Liaison at the college you attended and they will direct you to a Bridge course that will provide you with the additional hours and requirements of New Pathways. All other candidates must enroll in the 50-hour Pre-Service class.

If I previously completed Stage I of the program before Fall 2017 what do I do?

  • If you completed Stage I prior to Fall 2017, we will count the hours or credits you earned and apply them to the new program. You will not have to repeat those hours.

Do I need to have a job prior to enrolling in the First Semester of New Pathways?

  • Yes. All of the assignments in our courses are related to activities in the classroom. You will need to have some access to classrooms/students. This could be as a long-term substitute or a teaching assistant. It is preferable to get a teaching job as soon as you can since you will also need to complete two full years in the Provisional Teacher Program in order to apply for your Standard Certificate.

What is the difference between the non-credit certification only option and the graduate credit option?

  • There is no difference in the classroom experience; all coursework, including assignments and readings, are identical. The difference is that the credit option provides you with up to 24 graduate credits from New Jersey City University that you can use towards a Master’s degree. Therefore, while all students who complete the program receive the required  “Verification of Program Completion” form to submit to the NJDOE, only the students who completed  the courses for credit will see those courses on a transcript.
  • You may elect each semester to take any particular course or all of your courses for credit.

What are the advantages to taking the NPTNJ program for graduate credit?

  • The graduate credit option is a way to capitalize on the hard work completed throughout the program. See below for more information about which programs accept New Pathways credits.
  • Teachers with a graduate degree typically earn more compared to those with a Bachelors.

What do I need to do if I want to pursue a master’s degree after I complete NPTNJ?

  • You need to apply to the specific degree program at NPTNJ. See below for more information on those programs.

If I completed New Pathways as a non-credit student but wanted to convert non-credits to graduate credits is that possible?

The following NJCU graduate degree programs accept course credits from NPTNJ. Please contact the appropriate department chairperson for more information and be sure the advisor knows you have credits from NPTNJ. Learn more on how to apply for matriculation into a degree program.

Elementary/Secondary Education: Please contact Dr. Morales, Department Chair.

M.A.T. in Elementary or Secondary Education – 24 credits accepted; additional 12 credits needed for M.A.T. Degree. These credits are offered online during the summer and academic year.

Special Education: Please contact either Department Co-Chair: Dr. Fleres or Dr. Taylor.

M.A.T. in Special Education – 12 credits converted from NPTNJ; additional 24 credits needed for eligibility to apply for the Teacher of Students with Disabilities endorsement and M.A.T. degree. These courses are offered online during the summer and academic year.

Educational Technology: Please contact Dr. Zieger, Department Chair.

M.A. in Educational Technology – 15 credits accepted; additional 21 credits needed for M.A. Degree.

MA in Educational Technology with School Library Media Specialist certification – 12 credits accepted, additional 24 credits needed for certification. Please contact Dr. Zieger, Department Chair. This program is entirely online.

Multicultural Education: Please contact Dr. Kim, Department Chair.

M.A. in English as a Second Language – 3 credits accepted; additional 21 credits needed to apply for ESL endorsement.

M.A. in Bilingual Education – 3 credits accepted; additional 18 credits needed to apply for Bilingual endorsement.

The GPA requirements for obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility and entering the Alternate Route are set by the New Jersey Department of Education and we cannot change them nor waive those requirements. In order to enter any Alternate Route program in New Jersey you must have a 3.0 if you graduated after Sept. 2016 or a 2.75 if you graduate before that date. If your GPA is lower than this, you are NOT eligible for any Alternate Route program.

You may still be able to pursue a teaching career by entering a TRADITIONAL teacher preparation program: https://nj.gov/education/educators/newteacher/ . If you can gain entry and complete a full teacher preparation program, you can re-establish a new GPA at the end of that program, and then apply for a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing. In a traditional teacher preparation program, you complete your coursework and clinical practice hours (i.e. student teaching) before applying for your certification. The challenge will be gaining entry into a traditional teaching preparation program. It may be possible to complete a program as a post-baccalaureate candidate or to transfer in credits from your previous degree and complete a second bachelor’s degree. The following is a list of institutions that have traditional teacher preparation programs: Programs List

Our recommendation is to contact a representative from one of these institutions to determine their admission policies for their traditional teacher preparation programs.

Orientation video

The New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey Candidate Handbook contains important information to review prior to, and during, your time in the program.