Licensure Reciprocity: New Jersey

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: New Jersey results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of New Jersey's policies

New Jersey does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.

Regrettably, New Jersey's recent policy change now allows a waiver for its subject-matter test if the out-of-state teacher possesses an equivalent certificate and endorsement and was required to pass a subject-matter test in that previous state.

Teachers with valid out-of-state certificates are eligible for New Jersey's standard license. Those who have not taught successfully for three years under their out-of-state certificate must meet New Jersey's minimum GPA requirement of 2.75. Successful teaching experience is documented by a letter from the applicant's supervisor or district representative.

In addition, transcripts are required for all out-of-state teachers; however, it is not clear whether the state analyzes transcripts to determine whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route or whether additional coursework will be required.

New Jersey is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.


Recommendations for New Jersey

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
New Jersey takes considerable risk by granting a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has an equivalent license and has already passed a content test. The state should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards. The negative impact on student learning stemming from a teacher's inadequate subject-matter knowledge is not mitigated by the teacher's having a license from another state.

Accord the same license to out-of-state alternate route teachers as would be accorded to traditionally prepared teachers.
New Jersey should consider discontinuing its requirements for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in New Jersey. Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment.

Reconsider policy that allows a minimum GPA to mitigate unsuccessful teaching experience.
New Jersey's requirement that teachers from other states must have successful teaching experience is sound policy. However, the reasoning behind allowing out-of-state candidates who fail this criterion to earn a standard license if they meet a minimum grade point average is unclear. While academic background is important, a GPA is not indicative of a teacher's ability in the classroom and should therefore not be substituted as such.  

State response to our analysis

New Jersey contended that it accepts standard certificates—indeed all certificates—from other states and does not require transcripts. The state added that it only requires a copy of the out-of-state certificate and proof of three years experience. 

Last word

The state's website specifically articulates that the out-of-state teacher application process requires the submission of transcripts. 

Research rationale

Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at: .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).