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Alternate Route Certification
Many students who are interested in teaching Biology at the secondary education level express an interest in New Jersey's Provisional Teacher Program (aka "Alternate Route Certification"). To participate in the program, a student must complete the following:
1. A minimum of 30 - 36 semester hours of courses in the Biological Sciences with study in the following areas:
NOTE: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Note also that groups 1 & 2 above may be covered by an appropriate general biology laboratory program of at least 6 s.h. (e.g., Biology I & II). Observant students will note that groups 1 through 5 are very similar to the five curricular banks of the B.S. Biology degree and will plan their curriculum accordingly.
2. At least one course in space/earth science (examples would include Earth Science, Principles of Geology, Meteorology, and Astronomy).
The student does not have to complete a college teacher training program while they are working on their B.S. Biology degree. The student applies for a Certificate of Eligibility (CE); this allows the student to seek employment as a teacher, but is not an actual teaching license. (Note that there is a standardized test requirement for the CE). The student then seeks employment with a school district; that school district will assist the student in applying for and obtaining a Provisional License (good for one year).
Sometimes students hear rumors that only a small handful of schools are willing to hire recent graduates under the Provisional Teacher Program, but this is often not correct. One of the best ways to locate school districts interested in hiring "alternate route" teachers is to contact the individual County Offices of Education. It has been the Department's experience that County Offices of Education are very willing to answer questions pertaining to the Provisional Teacher Program and that they often have information about schools that are willing to hire B.S. Biology majors under the Program.