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  Teacher of Dance Overview

New Jersey identifies two mechanisms for dance certification (to teach K-12 dance in New Jersey’s public schools)

1) Traditional route - this four year pathway is given to people holding undergraduate or advanced dance degrees, which have successfully completed an accredited teacher preparation program with student teaching. Currently only for out-of-state candidates (since there are no NJ colleges offering dance licensure programs).

2) Alternate route - designed for those individuals who HAVE NOT completed a formal teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university. Most NJ dancers will need to get this type of certification.

3) There is currently NO emergency certification.

There are also two endorsements/certifications available (depending on where you will be teaching). Both of these can be obtained by either Alternate Route OR Traditional route:

1) Teacher of Dance, certificate #1635; applicable in any New Jersey k-12 that is NOT a Votech.

2) Vocational Arts/Dance; endorsement #4068: applicable in any New Jersey high school that has an occupationally approved Career and Technical education program in dance (regardless of vocational status). If you plan on teaching at a Votech, you will need this endorsement. The Alternate Route for the #4068 requires 4 years of approved professional performing (not teaching) experience (and you must prove it with pay stubs!)

Visit http://www.state.nj.us to read more about Dance certification, or call Dale Schmid, Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator, New Jersey State Department of Education, (609) 984-6308.


Q. Why do I need Instructional certification?

A. Instructional Certification allows you to teach in New Jersey's public schools, k-12.

Q. What’s the first step towards certification?

A. The first step is getting a Certificate of Eligibility (CE). The CE permits you to seek and accept employment as a dance teacher in the public schools. In other words, you need a CE before you even start looking for a public school job in Dance.

Q. What’s the difference between a CE and a CEAS?

A. A CEAS is only available to people who have already completed a traditional college-level teacher preparation program with student teaching.

Q. How do I get a CE?

A. You can apply online at http://www.nj.gov/education/educators or through the county office of education of the county in which you live or work. You can go to http://www.state.nj.us/education/finance to get the info on the county offices. After applying online, submit ALL necessary documentation together IN A SINGLE PACKET to the NJ DOE. You will need to submit the oath of allegiance/verification of accuracy form available under “Forms and Documents” on the NJDOE website, official transcripts, copies of out-of-State certificates, and a letter of teaching experience. Have transcripts sent to you first and then forward them with any other documents. Remember to put your tracking number OR your Social Security number on all documents that you send.

Q. What do I need to get a CE?

A. There are some requirements that must be met before applying for a CE. They are the following:

1. You must have a bachelor's or an advanced degree (MA, MFA, PhD, etc.) from a regionally accredited college or university. This can be in anything, not necessarily Dance.

2. If you graduated before September 1, 2004, you must have a GPA of 2.50. If you graduated on or after September 1, 2004, you must have a GPA of 2.75. If your transcript does NOT outline a GPA, contact your college registrar to send an official letter stating the cumulative GPA upon completion of your degree.

3. You must have completed at least 30 credits in Dance at the higher education level. At least 12 credits must be at the advanced level of study, including junior, senior or graduate level study. All coursework must appear on the transcript of a regionally accredited four-year college or university. If courses are taken at a community college, those credits must be transferred to a regionally accredited 4-year college transcript.

4. As of 2008, there is no Praxis test in Dance, so you do not need to take a State test of subject matter knowledge.

5. You must pass an examination in physiology and hygiene. This is a 35 question True/False test administered in the county office of education. Go to http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license to contact a county office of education. In lieu of this examination, the applicant may present basic military training or complete a course such as biology, health or nutrition that appears on a regionally accredited 4-year college or university transcript.

You can view the requirements for a CE at:


Q. What happens after I get my CE and a job?

A. Once you are employed you need to get a Provisional Certificate. This is a two-year certificate given to people who have a CE, are employed AND are enrolled in a state-approved district training program or residency. The Provisional Certificate leads to full certification.

Q. Are there any restrictions or limitations while teaching under a provisional license?

A. While teaching under provisional licensure you enjoy the same rights, privileges and responsibilities as other tenured faculty.

Q. Who do I contact for information on the state-approved district training program or residency?

A. The Provisional Teacher Program Training Unit at 609-984-6377

Q. What do I need to do to complete my Provisional Certificate?

A. For a Provisional Certificate through Alternate Route there are a few things that need to happen once you get a job. The first two (Mentoring and Supervision/Evaluation) are set up by your employer. The formal instruction is something you must take care of.

1. Mentoring – 20 days of full time Mentoring (this is usually done by a teacher at the school you work in), followed by 30 weeks of less intensive support by district personnel.

2. Supervision and Evaluation – This is 34 weeks of supervision and evaluations done by a school based professional (Often times the principal). Generally you are formally observed four times by your direct supervisor (building principal, assistant principal, curriculum supervisor or superintendent).

3. Formal Instruction – You must attend 200 hours of training at a Regional Training Center or alternate route MAT program. This can also been done through New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey (NPTNJ) program. School districts register each alternate-route teacher for this instruction by sending a form to the state department.

Q. How do I get my 200 hours?

A. Currently there are 2 ways to get your hours: Regional Training Centers, or alternate route MAT programs.

Regional Training Centers: The 200 hrs are divided into 4 phases. The classes meet twice weekly, is Pass/Fail and there is a mandatory (90%) attendance policy. You can find Center locations through your employer or by contacting the Provisional Teacher Program Training Unit at 609-984-6377.

1. There are also MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) alternate route programs, such as New Pathways to Teaching (NPTNJ), New Jersey Consortium for Urban Education (NJCUE) or Richard Stockton Summer to Summer. New Pathways to Teaching programs are given at NJCU and 17 community colleges. The fees for these programs are the tuition as charged by the college or university.

Q. After I complete all of the above, what happens next?

A. At the end of the year you undergo a final evaluation and are either:

  • approved - become fully certified;
  • conditionally approved - create remedial plan and repeat review process in year two, or;
  • disapproved - There is no rebuttal of this status. You may not reapply for certification.

If approved, you get your Standard Certificate via mail. This is a permanent certificate issued to persons who have met all certification requirements. If you are not eligible, an official evaluation will be sent to you via email.

Q. How can I keep informed of my status and, if necessary, update my email address?

A. You may check your application status online at any time: https://www6.state.nj.us/DOE_TCIS_ASC/pages/

Once all your application materials have been received, the status of your application changes from INCOMPLETE to IN PROCESS. Once your application is IN PROCESS, allow an 8 to 12 week response time depending on the type of certificate you apply for and the time of year that you apply.

In order to update your email address on TCIS, RE-REGISTER on TCIS. This applies to applicants who have already created a user id.

Q. If I must call the licensing office, when may I do so?

A. They are difficult to get hold of. The daily telephone hours for Customer Service, (609) 292-2070, are 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. during the regular school year - except for major holidays.

Q. What are the fees?

A. As of January 8th, 2008, fees have been raised. Please go to http://www.nj.gov/education/educators/license/fees.pdf for more details.

The following are fees for Alternate route certification:

1. For your certificate of eligibility, which includes the issuance of the provisional certificate and standard certificate: $170.00

2. 200-Hour Instructional Training Program at a Regional Training Center total $1300. The district may pay the tuition or charge it to you. Richard Stockton College of NJ has a good website with Alternate Route info and fees: http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=84&pageID=14

3. Mentoring- $1000. Many times the school district will pay this fee, but not always (then you must).

Q. Is there anything else that needs to happen after I get certified?

A. There is one more requirement that must be met; you must meet the Highly Qualified requirements required by the federal government.

Q. What is a “highly Qualified Teacher”?

A. In New Jersey, dance teachers must meet the provisions of the Highly Qualified Teacher Act under the auspices of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. In order to meet HQT requirements you must be an Undergraduate/graduate Dance major OR have 30 credits in Dance (with 12 of those credits at junior/senior level). You probably have this already; since this is a requirement for get your CE anyway! In the future, there may be a Praxis II test for Dance available, and (if so) then passing that test would also qualify you.