Certification & Induction

Career & Technical Educators

General Information and Frequently Asked Questions

I. Introduction to Career and Technical Education Instructional Certificates

Career and Technical Education Instructional Certificates: The New Jersey Department of Education (Department) offers instructional certificates that authorize the holder of the certificate to teach career and technical education programs (CTE programs) in all public schools.  CTE programs are secondary programs that prepare students to enter postsecondary education, training, and employment in emerging occupations and established professions.  Teachers of CTE programs must hold a “career and technical education certificate” (CTE certificate) issued by the Department. 

titles: Each CTE certificate issued by the Department also includes an “title.”  The title identifies the subject area for which the holder of the CTE certificate is authorized to teach.  For example, the Department may issue a CTE certificate with an title in carpentry, which would authorize the holder of the CTE certificate to teach carpentry CTE programs in all public schools.  Or, the Department may issue a CTE certificate with an title in culinary arts, which would authorize the holder of the CTE certificate to teach culinary arts CTE programs in all public schools. 

A list of the titles currently available for CTE certificates may be found here.  On the website, select the document titled, “Alphabetical Order by Type of Certificate.”  Once on the document, scroll down to the section titled, “Career and Technical Education Instructional titles,” which contains a list of all of the CTE certificate titles currently offered by the Department. 

Types of Applications: Applicants may use a teacher education degree with a concentration in the occupational area of the title to apply for a CTE certificate.  These are called “traditional” applications.  Applicants may also use a degree in the occupational area of the title, employment experience, self-employment experience, or a combination of education and employment experience to meet the requirements for the CTE certificate.  These applications are called the “alternate route” applications for teacher certification.  Sections III, IV, V, and VI of this document explain the alternate route application process for CTE certificates under these requirements.

Certificate of Eligibility: Applicants who successfully meet all of the alternate route requirements for a CTE certificate are issued a “certificate of eligibility” (CE) by the Department.  Individuals holding a CE are eligible to be hired by a school district to teach a CTE program in the area of their title.  Once hired by a school district, the individual holding a CE becomes a “provisional teacher.”  Provisional teachers must participate in a two-year “Provisional Teacher Program” during which they will be supervised by experienced teachers and district staff, will be partnered with a mentor, and will complete formal course work that is part of the Provisional Teacher Program. 

Standard Certificate: At the conclusion of the two-year Provisional Teacher Program, the school district may or may not recommend the provisional teacher for a “standard certificate.”  If recommended by the school district, the Department will issue a permanent CTE certificate, which is a standard certificate, to the recommended provsional teacher.  Individuals holding a standard CTE certificate are eligible to teach CTE programs in the area of their title in all public schools.

II. Applying for a Career and Technical Education Certificate of Eligibility

The first step for individuals interested in becoming a teacher in a CTE program is to apply to the Department for a certificate of eligibility for the title they are seeking.  Individuals may apply using their employment experience, self-employment experience, college degree, or a combination of experience and education. 

Employment Experience: When using employment experience or self-employment experience, the applicant’s experience must be in the occupation identified on the title for which the individual is applying.  For example, when applying for a CTE certificate of eligibility with an title in carpentry, the individual must have employment experience or self-employment experience as a carpenter. 

College Degree: Similarly, when using a college degree, the applicant’s degree must be in a subject area for the occupation identified on the title for which the individual is applying.  For example, an individual applying for a CTE certificate of eligibility with an title in culinary arts must have a degree in culinary arts, food service, or chef preparation.  Details regarding the application requirements for a degree-based, employment experience, self-employment experience, or a combination of education and employment may be found in Sections III and IV of this document. 

State Occupational Licenses: Note that if the State of New Jersey requires that an individual hold an occupational license or certificate for employment, the applicant must also posses a current occupational license or certificate as required by the State in addition to meeting the educational and/or employment experience requirements of the CTE certificate of eligibility.  For example, applicants for the CTE certificate of eligibility with an title in cosmetology must possess a current cosmetology-hairstylist license issued by the New Jersey Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling.  For a list of occupations requiring a State-issued occupational license or certificate, visit the following link: 
http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/coei/license2007.pdf

APPLICATION FEES:  There is a fee to apply for an alternate route CTE certificate of eligibility.  For fee details, visit the Office of Certification and Induction at the following link:
http://www.state.nj.us/education/educators/license/fees.pdf

CTE Program Offerings: Individuals are encourage to research which school districts in the state currently offer CTE programs in the content area for which the individual is considering applying for an CTE certificate title.  A database of CTE programs offered at public schools throughout the state may be found at the following link:
http://www.state.nj.us/education/cte/pubvoc.htm
CTE Teaching Jobs: Current job offerings may also be researched on the Department’s free teaching job resource found on the “NJHire” website at the following link:
http://www.njhire.com    

III. Applying for a CTE Certificate of Eligibility Using a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

Applicants for a CTE certificate of eligibility using a bachelor’s degree or higher must meet all of the following requirements:

1) The applicant must submit an official transcript for a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university.  The transcript must:

(A) Demonstrate that the applicant completed a coherent sequence of courses in the occupational field of the title for which the applicant is applying; and,

(B) Demonstrate that the applicant meets the required GPA pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-8.1.  For students graduating before September 1, 2004, the cumulative GPA must be at least 2.50 when a GPA of 4.00 equals an A grade.  For students graduating on or after September 1, 2004, achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 when a GPA of 4.00 equals an A grade.

2) The applicant must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene, including the effects of narcotics and alcohol.  The examination is administered at the county offices of education.  In lieu of this examination, the applicant may present basic military training or college level study in areas such as biology, health or nutrition.  To locate a county office of education, visit the following link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/counties/

IV. Applying for a CTE Certificate of Eligibility Using an Associate’s Degree and Employment Experience

Applicants for a CTE certificate of eligibility using an associate’s degree must meet all of the following requirements:

1) The applicant must submit an official transcript for an associate’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.  The transcript must:

(A) Demonstrate that the applicant completed a coherent sequence of courses in the occupational field of the title for which the applicant is applying; and,

(B) Demonstrate that the applicant meets the required GPA pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:9B-8.1.  For students graduating before September 1, 2004, the cumulative GPA must be at least 2.50 when a GPA of 4.00 equals an A grade.  For students graduating on or after September 1, 2004, achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 when a GPA of 4.00 equals an A grade.

2) The applicant must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene, including the effects of narcotics and alcohol.  The examination is administered at the county offices of education.  In lieu of this examination, the applicant may present basic military training or college level study in areas such as biology, health or nutrition.  To locate a county office of education, visit the following link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/counties/

3) The applicant must submit evidence of at least two years of employment experience (approximately 4,000 hours) in the occupational field of the title.  The employment experience must:

(A) Have occurred within 10 years of the CTE certificate application date; and

(B) Be documented and verified by the applicant’s employer(s) on the Department of Education’s “Statement of Employment Experience” form.  To obtain a copy of this form, visit the following link:http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/forms/voc_employer_experience.pdf

V. Applying for a CTE Certificate Using Employment Experience

Applicants for a CTE certificate using employment experience only must meet all of the following requirements:

1) The applicant must submit evidence of at least four years of employment experience (approximately 8,000 hours) in the occupational field of the title.  The employment experience must:

(A) Have occurred within 10 years of the CTE certificate application date; and

(B) Be documented and verified by the applicant’s employer(s) on the Department of Education’s “Statement of Employment Experience” form.  To obtain a copy of the form, visit the following link:http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/forms/voc_employer_experience.pdf

2) The applicant must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene, including the effects of narcotics and alcohol.  The examination is administered at the county offices of education.  In lieu of this examination, the applicant may present basic military training or college level study in areas such as biology, health or nutrition.  To locate a county office of education, visit the following link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/counties/

3)   The applicant must pass three pre-professional state tests.  The applicant must pass the following three pre-professional state tests (PPST):  PPST: Reading (10710), PPST: Math (10730), and PPST: Writing (20720).  For information regarding the pre-professional state tests, including test schedules, see page 4 of the doucment titled, “Test Requirement for Certification in New Jersey Effective December 1, 2007.”  On page 6, see the first chart titled, “Praxis II: Subject Assessment/Specialty Area Tests” for dates.  The testing fees and information about registration, test sites, and test site contact information are located on page 7. To obtain a copy of this document, visit the following link:
http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/1112.pdf

VI.  Applying for a CTE Certificate of Eligibility Using Self-Employment Experience

Applicants for a CTE certificate of eligibility using employment experience only must meet all of the following requirements:

1) The applicant must submit evidence of at least four years of self-employment experience (approximately 8,000 hours) in the occupational field of the title.  The self-employment experience must:

(A) Have occurred within 10 years of the CTE certificate application date.

(B) Be documented with a notarized letter from a tax preparer and/or an attorney verifying the following that the candidate has filed state and/or federal taxes for the self-employment using a federal U.S. Census North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code in the occupational field of the title.  For a link to the U.S. NAICS code list, go to the following link:  http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/

2) The applicant must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene, including the effects of narcotics and alcohol.  The examination is administered at the county offices of education.  In lieu of this examination, the applicant may present basic military training or college level study in areas such as biology, health or nutrition.  To locate a county office of education, visit the following link: http://www.state.nj.us/education/counties/

3)   The applicant must pass three pre-professional stats tests, one for reading, one for math, and one for writing.  For information regarding the pre-professional tests, including schedules, see  Section V, number 3, above.

VII. Military Service/Troops to Teachers

Individuals with military service may have obtained qualifying employment experience, education, and/or training during their military service via the New Jersey Troops to Teachers program.  The Troops to Teachers program (TTT) assists eligible military personnel with the transition to a new career as public school teachers.  The New Jersey TTT office will provide participants with counseling and assistance regarding certification requirements, routes to state teacher certification and employment leads. For information, contact the New Jersey Department of Education Troops to Teachers office at 800-680-0884, or e-mail tttnj@doe.state.nj.us, or visit the New Jersey Troops to Teachers website at the following link: www.nj.gov/education/tttnj

VIII. Submitting a CTE Certificate Application

Applicants may submit their application for a CTE certificate of eligibility using the Department’s Office of Certification and Induction’ online application system.  For details, go to the “How to Apply for Certification” homepage at the following link:
http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/howtoapply.htm  

New Jersey residents will select “Applicants for the Alternate Route Certification (Seeking CE),” which is Option B.  A handbook detailing the online application instructions is also available on this site.  Individuals may apply using a paper application by contacting their county superintendent of schools office.  For office listings and contact information, go to the following link:  http://www.state.nj.us/education/counties/

IX CTE Certification Q&A

Below are commonly asked question regarding CTE certificates of eligibility and the application process:

A. Employment Experience Questions

QUESTION:  How can I determine if my employment experiences falls within the ten-year requirement?

ANSWER: Your employment experience must be within 10 years of the application date for the CTE certificate of eligibility.  For example, if your CTE certificate of eligibility application date is 01/01/2008, then your employment experience cannot be older than 01/01/1998.

QUESTION: Does the ten-year requirement apply to self-employment experience?

ANSWER: Yes.  Your self-employment experience must be within 10 years of the application date for the CTE certificate of eligibility.  For example, if your CTE certificate of eligibility application date is 01/01/2008, then your self-employment experience cannot be older than 01/01/1998.

QUESTION:  Section VI, above, states that my self-employment experience must be in an appropriate North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry code.  Please explain what you mean by that.

ANSWER: When you or your accountant files your state and federal taxes, he or she must identify under which U.S. Census North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industry code your business falls under.  All businesses are classified by the federal government under the NAICS code system.  For example, if you own a restaurant, your accountant would file your taxes using one of the following NAICS categories: 

  • Caterers: NAIC Code # 722320
  • Food Service Contractors: NAIC Code # 722310
  • Restaurant: NAIC Code # 722110 and NAIC Code # 722211

In order for the Department to assess whether or not your self-employment experience is in an appropriate occupational area for the title for which you are applying, the Department will use the NAICS code to make that determination.  To research the U.S. NAICS code list, go to the following link:  http://www.census.gov/epcd/naics02/ 

QUESTION:  If my employment experience or self-employment experience was part-time, can I still apply for a CTE certificate?

ANSWER: Yes.  As long as you can document at least 8,000 hours of part-time employment or part-time self-employment experience, which occurred with 10 years of the date of your CTE certificate of eligibility application, part-time experience will be accepted by the Department.

QUESTION: What happens if my employment experience was “under the table”?  I was paid with cash and no taxes were filed by my employer, but I did the work.  If I don’t have an official record of my employment, can I still apply?

ANSWER: No.  Employment experience or self-employment experience that cannot be documented as described in Part V or Part VI, above, will not be accepted by the Department.

QUESTION: I worked in a “free-lance” capacity or as a consultant for my employment experience.  Will that be accepted?

ANSWER: Maybe. Whenever self-employment experience, including free-lance self-employment, is being used to satisfy the employment experience requirement for a CTE certificate of eligibility application, you must submit a notarized letter from an accountant or attorney attesting to the fact that the you have filed state and/or federal income taxes in an appropriate employment NAICS code and that your “free-lance” self employment experience equals a minimum of 8,000 hours within the past 10 years, as described in Part VI, above.  If your self-employment experience meets those requirements and it is appropriate for the title that you seek, it will be accepted by the Department.

QUESTION: The title for which I want to apply requires that the applicant have a current State of New Jersey occupational license. My state-issued occupational license is expired.  Can I still apply for a CTE certificate of eligibility?   

ANSWER: No.  Your state-issued occupational license must be current in order to apply for a CTE certificate of eligibility.  You must obtain a current license.  For a list of occupations requiring a State-issued occupational license or certificate, visit the following link:  http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/forms_pdfs/coei/license2007.pdf

QUESTION:  I have a state-issued occupational license, but it is not from the State of New Jersey.  Can I still apply?

ANSWER:  Maybe.  Contact the appropriate New Jersey licensing office for your occupation to inquire if your out-of-state license is accepted by the State of New Jersey.  If not, then you will have to apply for the New Jersey-issued license in order to apply for a CTE certificate of eligibility. 

B. College Degree Questions

QUESTION: Is there a grade point average (G.P.A.) requirement in order to apply for a CTE certificates of eligibility using my college degree?

ANSWER: Yes.  Individuals who hold an associate’s, bachelor’s, or an advanced degree from a regionally accredited college or university, who will use their degree to satisfy the requirement for a CTE certificate of eligibility, must meet one of the following:

  • Achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50 when a GPA of 4.00 equals an A grade for students graduating before September 1, 2004, in a baccalaureate degree program, higher degree program or a State-approved post-baccalaureate certification program with a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits.
  • For students graduating on or after September 1, 2004, achieve a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 when a GPA of 4.00 equals an A grade in a baccalaureate degree program, higher degree program or in a State-approved post-baccalaureate certification program with a minimum of 13 semester-hour credits.

C. Other Questions

QUESTION: I have a standard CTE certificate issued prior to the current certificates listed on the Office of Certification and Induction website.  Do I have to apply for the new certificate?

ANSWER:  No.  Your CTE certificate is automatically grandfathered into the new certificate title.  You are not required to re-apply or to meet the new requirements.

QUESTION:  I have a Part-Time Vocational Certificate that I used to teach at the adult evening school program at my county vocational school.  I want to apply for a full-time CTE certificate with the same title.  What am I required to do?

ANSWER:  If you do not have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the area of the title for which you are applying, you are required to take the three pre-professional tests discussed under Section V, Number 3.  If you pass the three tests, you may qualify for the certificate of eligibility. 

QUESTION: What happens if I pass two of the three required pre-professional exams?  Can I obtain a CTE certificate of eligibility and retake the exam I failed at a future date?

ANSWER: No.  You must pass all three exams prior to the Department issuing the CTE certificate of eligibility.

QUESTION: Can I obtain CTE certificates of eligibility in more than one title? 

ANSWER:  Yes.  However, you must submit a separate application for each CTE title for which you want to apply and you must meet the requirements for each title.

Link to the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Certification and Induction: http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/

Link to the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Career and Technical Education:
http://www.nj.gov/education/cte/