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To become a physical education teacher in New Jersey, you must successfully complete the following steps:
The 2009 New Jersey Comprehensive Health and Physical Education model curriculum, which was developed from the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards (NJCCCS), focuses on comprehensive health and physical education in the 21st century by addressing it as an integral component of a student’s education.
Specifically, the New Jersey Board of Education recognizes that a contemporary view of health and physical education must include taking responsibility for one’s health through an active lifestyle that encourages a lifelong commitment to wellness. Therefore, a health and physical education program should foster a population that:
- Engages in a physically active lifestyle
- Maintains physical, social and emotional health
- Is knowledgeable about health and wellness and how to access resources related to health
- Accepts and respects individuals with cultural differences
- Advocates for family, community, global, and personal wellness
- Is knowledgeable about national and international public health and safety issues
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Related to Health and Fitness
Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS)
To qualify with for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing (CEAS), you must complete a bachelor’s degree in a related degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
If you have completed a teacher preparation program in New Jersey, you may apply for a (CEAS). There are currently five institutions in New Jersey that offer approved physical education teacher preparation programs.
Approved teacher preparation programs in New Jersey consist of a bachelor’s degree that includes a minimum of 30 credits in a coherent sequence in physical education (a “coherent” sequence means at least 12 credits in physical education are completed during your junior or senior year) and culminates in a student teaching experience.
Certificate of Eligibility (CE)
The certificate of eligibility (CE) is an alternate route to becoming a physical education teacher in New Jersey. You may qualify for a CE if you have not completed a teacher preparation program but have met the basic requirements for certification, including the completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. To qualify for a CE, you must show proof that you have completed the following:
- A cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 (Note: you may qualify with a minimum GPA of 2.5 if your praxis test scores offset the lower GPA. The current passing score for the Praxis II is 148; a GPA of between 2.5 and 2.75 requires a score of at least 163.)
- A minimum of 30 credits in a coherent sequence in physical education; a “coherent” sequence means at least 12 credits in physical education are completed during your junior or senior year.
- The completion of a physical education course in each of the following: Team, Dual, and Individual Sports; examples of accepted courses include:
- Fundamental skills and exercises
- Individual sports (bowling and golf)
- Team sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, or football)
- Dual sports (tennis and badminton)
Note: Related courses may be accepted, depending on the course description and content. Courses in pedagogy/education are not accepted toward subject matter preparation.
Step 2. Take the PRAXIS II Exam in Health and Physical Education
To receive licensure in New Jersey and be eligible for PE teacher jobs, you must pass the PRAXIS II Subject Assessment/Specialty Area test in health and physical education with a score of at least 148 if the overall GPA in your bachelor’s degree program was 2.75 or greater. If your GPA was at least 2.5 but lower than 2.75, your Praxis II score must be at least 163.
You must register to take the PRAXIS II directly through the Praxis Series. You can view test centers and upcoming test dates here. You can prepare to take the PRAXIS II in health and physical education by viewing the Physical Education: Content Knowledge study guide and test preparation videos on the Praxis Series website.
If you complete the PRAXIS II in New Jersey, your score will be automatically sent to the New Jersey Department of Education.
Step 3. Pass an Examination in Physiology and Hygiene
Before applying for an instructional certificate in New Jersey in health and physical education, you must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene, which also includes the effects of alcohol and narcotics. You may not need to take this test if you can show proof that you completed basic military training or if you have completed college-level courses in biology, nutrition, or health.
Note: Most of the approved teacher preparation programs in New Jersey include the required courses within their degree program requirements.
The Physiology and Hygiene examination, which is administered at the county offices of education, consists of 35 true/false questions. You must contact the appropriate county office of education to receive testing instructions.
Step 4. Apply for your Initial New Jersey PE Teaching Certificate
To apply for certification as physical education teacher in New Jersey, you must complete and submit the appropriate forms, which are available through the Department of Education. They include:
- Oath of Allegiance/Verification of Accuracy form
- Official transcripts detailing your degree, along with any other relevant transcripts
- Verification of Program Completion (if the student teaching component is not clearly noted on your transcripts)
- Copies of your Praxis test score report (not necessary if you took the test in New Jersey)
You must then submit all of the necessary documentation (noted above) in a single packet, addressed to the New Jersey Department of Education at:
Office of Licensure and Credentials
New Jersey Department of Education
P.O. Box 500
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500
You can view the applicant checklist here.
You can check the status of your application here.
Step 5. Keep your New Jersey Teaching Certificate Up to Date through Continuing Education
You must complete at least 20 hours of professional development every school year to maintain your teaching certification in New Jersey. This is a new change from the previous 100 hours over 5 years. The move to a yearly requirement ensures that all continuing education courses are aligned with school, team, and/or district policies. Continuing education for physical education teachers in New Jersey may include the following activities:
- In-service programs
- Formal courses
- Conferences sponsored by colleges, professional associations, boards of education, or other entities approved by the Commissioner of Education
- Action research
- Activities that are deemed to “serve the profession,” such as grant writing, mentoring, and other professional activities
The New Jersey Education Association has a number of resources for successfully completing your mandatory professional development hours, including:
- My PD Transcript: An online system that allows you to log your professional development experiences
- E-Learning Academy: Provides online professional development courses
- NEA Academy: Serves as a directory for the latest peer-reviewed and approved courses; Just a few of the most recent continuing education courses related to physical education include:
- Recognizing Early-Onset Mental Health Disorders
- Human Growth and Development
- Cyberbullying: The New Age of Harassment
- Child Abuse Prevention
- Bullying: Preventing the Problem
- Applied Behavior Analysis
- A Roadmap to School Indoor Environmental Quality
Step 6. Successfully Complete the Provisional Teacher Program (PTP) Certificate
Upon obtaining a CE or CEAS and obtaining a full-time teaching position, you are eligible to earn a provision teacher program (PTP) certificate, during which time you are required to undergo a period of mentoring, supervision, and evaluation.
If you have attained a PTP through CEAS, you must complete 30 weeks of support by a school-based, experienced teacher and receive three evaluations by school-based administrators, including a final summative evaluation recommending you for a standard certificate.
If you have attained a PTP through CE (alternate route), you must complete the following:
- 200 hours of formal instruction offered through one of New Jersey’s regional training centers or New Jersey college or university alternate route Master of Arts in Teaching program
- 34 weeks of support by a school-based, experienced teacher, including at least 4 weeks of intensive mentoring at the start of the program
You must then receive evaluations by school-based administrators, including a final summative evaluation recommending you for a standard certificate.
Phys Ed Teacher Salary in New Jersey
According to the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the average New Jersey PE teacher salary is much higher than the nationwide average. In fact, in New Jersey, the average is $70,020 while nationally it is almost 9% lower at $63,770. The median salary among PE teachers in New Jersey is $66,070.
Recent graduates and those new to teaching can expect to start out somewhere around $49,090, which is the bottom 25th percentile. However, salary increases with time and experience, as PE teachers in the top 75th percentile are reported to average $88,570 per year.
Below, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports PE teacher salary by city/county:
(Includes Newark and Elizabeth)
In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has also provided PE teacher salary data in the following table: