Frequently Asked Questions for Education Majors
Below are some frequently asked questions regarding our programs. The brief answers provided are intended to be a quick guide. For further details and explanations please refer to the information in the NJCU Undergraduate Catalog and/or contact your advisor.
- What's the difference in preparing to teach in an elementary school, junior high or middle school, or high school?
- What if I want to teach really young kids?
- When do I actually work with kids in schools?
- If I want to teach a subject, (grades K-12) such as Spanish, am I in the College of Education or Arts and Sciences? What is my major?
- What is my major if I want to teach in elementary school?
- At what point am I officially admitted into the College Of Education?
- Who is my academic advisor? Do I have more than one?
- How often should I see my advisor?
- Do I get to choose where I student teach?
- Can I work a job while I student teach?
- In order to become a certified teacher in New Jersey, what teacher certification exams must I pass?
- If I finish this program, what state(s) will I be eligible to teach in?
Scroll down for answers to all of your questions
1. What's the difference in preparing to teach in an elementary school, junior high or middle school, or high school?
- You can prepare to teach in elementary school (grades K-5) by following the Elementary Education major. Students in this major prepare to teach all core subjects. If you are an Elementary Education major and want to teach in grades 6, 7 and 8, you need to add a middle school extension in a content area to your license. This will require additional coursework and another Praxis exam. If you want to teach in a specific content area (i.e. mathematics, English, Spanish, social studies, etc.), follow the Secondary Education major. This will certify you in the content area for grades K-12; however, most job opportunities will be from grades 7 through 12. Often the K-12 content certification is referred to as the "secondary‚Äù certification.
2. What if I want to teach really young kids?
- If you want to teach in pre-school settings, and only in pre-school settings, you should pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education, which is a different department. That program will certify you for pre-school through third grade.
3. When do I actually work with kids in schools?
- Beginning in Phase I (usually your sophomore year), you will be an observer in real classroom settings as part of your coursework. During Phase II, you will take EDU 331 Practicum/Clinical Experience. This course requires students to spend one full day per week for a semester in a classroom setting. Generally in your final semester, you will begin a full-time student teaching internship for an entire semester (EDU 480). During this experience you will gradually increase your responsibilities, eventually running an entire class.
4. If I want to teach a subject, (grades K-12) such as Spanish, am I in the College of Education or Arts and Sciences? What is my major?
- You take courses in both colleges. You are in the College of Arts and Sciences and have a major there, and you also take 30 credits in education.
5. What is my major if I want to teach in elementary school?
- You have a co-major in Elementary Education and a co-major in the College of Arts and Sciences.
6. At what point am I officially admitted into the College Of Education?
- Typically you would apply in the Spring semester of your sophomore year. Admittance to the College of Education is contingent upon meeting all entrance criteria.
7. Who is my academic advisor? Do I have more than one?
- You have two academic advisors. One from your Arts and Sciences major and one assigned to you by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. You will receive a letter from the Department informing you of who your education faculty advisor is.
8. How often should I see my advisor?
- Office hours for education faculty are posted each term. You may visit with your advisor whenever you have a question or concern; however you should find out how your advisor handles advisement holds so that it is lifted in time to register for classes.
9. Do I get to choose where I student teach?
- Usually not. You should discuss your placement with your advisor. Student teaching placements are arranged based on established partnerships with quality schools. Call the Center for Teacher Preparation & Partnerships (201-200-3015) for details
10. Can I work a job while I student teach?
- The time required to student teach is essentially equivalent to working a full time job. You will have to modify any outside work obligations to fit your new schedule.
11. In order to become a certified teacher in New Jersey, what teacher certification exams must I pass?
- You must pass the Praxis II exam in your designated area. Details on the exams and passing scores may be obtained through the NJ Department of Education website. Specific information on registering for the Praxis can be obtained through the Praxis website. Additional tests may be required based on certification areas.
- New Praxis Core requirement:
- The State of New Jersey is requiring teacher candidates to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test in math (test #5733), reading (test #5712), and writing (test #5722). Passing scores on the tests are 150, 156, and 162, respectively. You can register for the tests at https://www.ets.org/praxis. Additional information, including how to prepare for the tests, can be found HERE.
- The CORE must be taken and passed prior to entry into an educator preparation program.
- Note: This requirement is waived for candidates with at least:
- 1660 combined SAT score (critical reading, writing, math)
- 23 ACT score
- 4.0 analytical writing and combined 310 quantitative and verbal GRE scores
- This requirement is also waived for candidates who successfully complete all phase I coursework before September 2015 with a grade of B- or above.
13. If I finish this program, what state(s) will I be eligible to teach in?
- You will be certified to teach in New Jersey and any state that has a reciprocity agreement with New Jersey. Check with the Department of Education for the state in which you plan to teach for the most current reciprocity information.