Alternate Route NJ/Lynettstoy

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by robb, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. robb

    robb Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2015

    I have some questions regarding the alternate route in New Jersey. I have done several searches and found a lot of useful information but since I am at the very beginning of the process my questions are more procedural. I put Lynettstoy in the title because I believe she went alternate route in New Jersey and seems to have a wealth of information. Anyone else who has any information I would gladly appreciate.

    First, I would like to know how to prioritize what to do. Is the first thing that should be done sending my transcripts out to have them reviewed to see what I am eligible for? Is there something else I should start with?

    There are a lot of things that are confusing to me about the process overall. In order to begin you need the CE...Now once that is obtained you're supposed to begin seeking employment...It seems a difficult thing to do to seek employment for a job that you have no experience in and aren't yet certified for. What is the best way to approach this? Do you contact districts directly and tell them what you're doing first? I don't see how anyone would get any responses to applications unless they knew someone/talked to someone first.

    It is the end of April. Is it too late to be starting this process for September? I assume I will have my transcripts by the beginning of next week. If I then send them out to be reviewed perhaps I will know what I am eligible for by the second week of May? Then I would take the Praxis?

    There are a lot of questions that I have about all of this but I look forward to reading any answers or hearing about anyone's personal experiences.

    Thanks so much.
     
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  3. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2015

    Hey robb - you are right, Lynettstoy can provide wealth of information on this topic that I can't even come close to, truly tremendously helpful in understanding a confusing process. However, I am beginning the process and will get things started for you.

    First off, if you aren't sure what you can teach you can submit your transcripts for review. If there are areas you know you have enough credits to become certified, you can move forward with the other steps accordingly while waiting for full review. I assume you have a degree, what was your major? What do you want to teach?

    The primary things you need do are:

    1. Take the praxis. Here, you would need to know what you want to become eligible to teach in order to know what tests to take. You don't need the DOE to tell you what you are eligible for to register, just what you will become certified in going forward. You can find the required tests and scores for certification in NJ on the ETS website. Obviously, the sooner you register the faster you get scores.

    2. Take the 24 hour pre-service course. This is available via some community colleges and Rutgers offers it online. It is a 24 hour course, with 4 hours of observation, for getting your cert. I am currently registered for the Rutgers online one, starting this Saturday actually. I would check out their site for openings https://cesp.rutgers.edu/24hour

    3. Submit your transcripts and other paperwork if you didnt. The application process is track-able online on the NJ DOE website. http://www.state.nj.us/education/educators/license/

    The first two are the truly time consuming things on your end. Then you have to wait for the DOE to get the cert. It could be very tight to get the cert before Sept, but thats no reason not to get started.

    After that, yes, you have a certificate and can apply for jobs in NJ public schools. You don't have to contact the schools to explicitly explain what you are doing, they will know what a CE is/means. It may be difficult to get a job, but thats just part of the process if you choose alternate route. Lynettstoy has said alt route teachers make up half the teacher population in NJ.

    Once you get a job, you have to enroll in the later parts of the alt route program, night courses about teaching, during your first year.

    This is just to get you moving, I am sure you will have more questions, feel free to ask.
     
  4. robb

    robb Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2015

    Awesome. Thanks a lot.

    Since the Praxis is available online, I assume they can be taken at any time? Is there a limit to how many times you are allowed to take them, or can you just retake over again if you don't pass (obviously paying the fee over and over again as well)?

    My degree is in Communications with a journalism concentration. I'm assuming that does not give me a lot of options. I would be opening to teaching a lot of different things. That's not really my concern at this point. I'm more interested in getting into the field and moving forward from there.

    Since it is the end up April, should I apply for a substitute certificate and try and get my foot in the door that way first? I've heard mixed reviews about doing that. I'm not sure how I feel about it at the moment.

    What about teaching aide if a position is available in September? I only say that because it seems obvious that this might be easier to obtain than employment through alternate route for September. I'm not terribly concerned about pay scale at this point. I want to get into things and hope that it might help me move the process forward when some of the higher ups in the system know my face and learn that I want to advance.
     
  5. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2015

    Ah gotcha, I can see how getting your transcript reviewed would be very helpful to see your options. Most of the praxis tests are offered in roughly two week windows every month. You can take it any day in that window as long as you can find a test center offering. If you are cool going in the middle of the day during the work week, you will have lots of options, if you are looking for after work its a little tougher. I found the one in Fairlawn good for that if its reasonable for you.

    I would definitely investigate either the sub or the aide route at this point. I have thought about the same, but I am working full time and the pay cut is hard to accept. I do think its a good way to get your foot in the door and have classroom experience, even if just classroom management.
     
  6. robb

    robb Rookie

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    Apr 28, 2015

    Yeah that's what I was thinking as well. I have a feeling I'm not going to be eligible for very many things, and the things that I am eligible for will probably in fields that are in extremely low demand.

    You mentioned that there is a 4 hour observation required with the 24 hour pre-service course. What exactly does that entail, and in your case how would that be done via an online course?

    I can take the Praxis at any time, so I'd definitely try and figure something out during the day time. I lost my job a month ago and am currently unemployed. I'm trying to use this time to transition into something that I actually want to do (only took me six years after graduating college).

    I can understand how that would be an issue for you. I wanted to try to make this change for a while since I was miserable in my other job, but the fact that I was making decent money made it hard for me to ever really pursue it. Now that I've lost that job I don't really have any excuse and working as a substitute or an aide would actually be a step up from being unemployed! Even if it meant a paltry salary.

    I'm sure I'll have plenty of other questions but thanks for all your help so far.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    Apr 28, 2015

    It seems like I have done my job well - Robb, you have received good information, and I will help as I can. You do want to get your transcript evaluated, since to earn a K-12 certification you will need the equivalent of a major, including upper level courses, and it will be 30 or more hours. However, you may qualify to teach elementary or middle school, if so desired. Elementary requires 60 credits that would be considered broad knowledge courses, such as beginning courses in lit, math, science, social science, history, etc. To teach middle school, you will need the elementary ed. certification. For middles school specialization, you will need a minimum of 15 hours in the content, no particular order. Example, you might have biology for 5 credits, intro to chem for 5 hours, and physics or genetics for 5 hours. That is your 15 credits. Of course, you could also have any 15 credits in life sciences, or physics, etc., but you would be eligible to take the Praxis II exam for that certification, and if you had your elementary ed., you would be qualified with that specific certification. I am K-12 Content-Biology and General Science, but also Elem Ed. K-6, MS ELA, MS Science, MS Social Studies, ESL certified, and currently have my provisional TOSD for special ed as I complete my coursework. I have toyed with working for the MS Math, but would need to take a couple of CLEP exams since I passed out of most math for my BS. However, if I did that, it would certainly give me great range.

    Best part of all of this is that you don't have to have all of the answers as you start your journey. That 4 hour observation means spending a day observing at a school, and it is best to go and do that in person, IMO. You need to know what you are qualified for to be able to take the right Praxis exams. If interested in having your transcript evaluated by the NJ DOE, sooner is better than later, since they get caught up in the rush at graduation and it is hard to get it done over the summer.

    Subbing is much easier to qualify for. You need 60 college credits, a hygiene or health class, an oath of allegiance, and an application. You will need a certified transcript, but this is handled by the county, and schools will help you with this. There is a fee, but one certificate is good all over the county (actually the state), but you will need to be fingerprinted, and sometimes between districts you have to be fingerprinted again, or have the prints archived. You will get a criminal clearance letter to show districts.

    If your major is in science or math, you will find it easier to find a job. Other certifications are so common that it can be hard to get hired.

    If you are receiving unemployment, you might check to see if you would qualify for further training with a waiver to make you more qualified sooner. Teachers are always considered in demand.

    I just walked in the door, so try to let me know what you need, and I will try to help. The truth is that half of NJ's teachers are AR, but NJ is still rich in competition. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but know TR and AR teachers who would walk away in a heartbeat if they didn't need a paycheck. Only you can decide if you have the drive to invest the time and effort into going from being a college grad to an accomplished teacher. I have worked hard to get where I am, but it was a no-brainer for me. I couldn't imagine anything I wanted more, no matter how silly that sounds.

    Best of luck!
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 28, 2015

    I'm traditional route but have served on my district hiring committee and know the job market fairly well having mentored several STs and serving as a coach to new teachers.... Your communications degree isn't likely to open you up to many possibilities....probably ELA kinds of positions, but there's not a lack of highly qualified, experienced, traditional route candidates for that content area. There are some districts who screen out alt route candidates simply because the market is so competitive. Alt route seems to pan out better for those in high demand areas....I wish you well.:love:
     
  9. Amanda1688

    Amanda1688 New Member

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    May 19, 2016

    Hi All!
    I recently graduated with my B.S. in Biology. I have decided to complete the alternate route program in NJ. Does anyone know exactly what Praxis exams I need to take to become certified in K-12? I'm looking to be an elementary school teacher or middle school science teacher. I am scheduled to take the Basic Skill Assessment this week, but I'm unsure about what other exams I need to take to get me CE.

    Thank you!!!
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    May 20, 2016

    Greetings from one AR to another. You will need the Biology Praxis, General Science Praxis, Elementary Praxis, and the good news is that if you want to teach only science in MS, you are done. Your K-12 Biology certification will take the place of needing the MS Specialization Exam in Science, but you still need the Elementary Praxis, I believe, to teach MS. I could be mistaken, since I just went ahead and took the MS Praxis for Science - over eager, excited teacher wannabe. If you want to teach other MS subject matter, you only need 15 college credits in the content, no specified order or need for it to be a major. If you come up short on the credits, look into CLEP exams, since any credit that can be on a transcript of a community college will count in NJ. You will, of course, need to take the appropriate Praxis for each content you add - ELA/literacy, Math, Social Studies.

    If in doubt about anything, contact your county superintendent - they have a lot of experience with the process, and will have some time to sit down and map the steps for you. I have no problems calling Trenton DOE, but be aware that at this time of year they may not be willing to evaluate your transcript since it is graduating season, and they are knee deep in applications from universities and new grads from traditional ed programs, all hoping to have credentials ready for a potential job come fall. I learned this through trial and error, and believe me, the DOE and I are practically on a first name basis. If you are respectful and understand their pressures, you will get along fine with them.

    Best of luck on your exams. For the specific numbers of the tests needed, go to ETS, Praxis, NJ, and you will see all of the required exams for everything I was listing above.
     
  11. Amanda1688

    Amanda1688 New Member

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    May 20, 2016



    Thank you so much for all the information!! I appreciate it!
    Just to clarify, since I received my degree in Biology, you are saying I do not need to take any science exams to be able to teach middle school science, just my degree and the praxis basic skill exam? Thank you again for being so helpful. Decided last minute that my original career choice in Dentistry just wasn't for me anymore and I enjoyed teaching much more!

    -Amanda
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    No, Amanda, you will have to take the Praxis exams in Biology and General Science to teach at the HS level. I believe that you will still need to take the K-6 Elementary Praxis exams if you want to teach MS, but you really should check that out with the state. Generally, to teach MS, you must have the elementary certificate. If you want to start with the Bio certification, you will need the Bio and General Science exams. Hope that helps.

    If you want to teach MS in math, for instance, you would need 15 math credits, and pass the Praxis for MS Math (and have the elementary certification, as well.) If you are a good test taker, I recommend, personally, chipping away at whatever you think you might like. The more certifications that you possess, the greater the number of jobs that you might be eligible for. I was lucky and went right into a HS bio job, but since I had already earned my elementary certification, I added all of the other MS certs except math. I "could" teach it, but I have no passion for it. Now here is the part nobody told me going in. When I completed my AR requirements and my CE in Biology became a standard certificate, so did all the other CE's that I held, including the elementary and middle school content areas. Pleasant surprise. I have since obtained my M.Ed. in ESL, and my TOSD. Special education can be a big plus, but it is something that you have to want, so not anything I would worry about at this point.

    Best of luck - I would do it again in a heartbeat.
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    May 25, 2016

    I was talking to a more recent NJ AR candidate, and NJ has some changes that will become effective very soon. Instead of the 200 hours, apparently it will now be 400 hours, a portfolio, and I am thinking likely a longer probationary term of 2 years instead of 1. Not one of these things is wrong - it will grow better AR teachers, but there are worthy AR candidates that may walk away. Some universities will allow you to "buy back" your credit for the work done as an AR candidate. I don't know the cost, but it would be a good start on a graduate degree or at least B +15. I looked into it when I went AR, but at that time there were so many hoops to jump through that I just dropped it. One university that was mentioned was Seton Hall, but you would have to figure out whether the bought credit would be worth the higher tuition of some schools.

    Like any thing else, it kind of depends on your content area and what you can bring to the table. I am scienced to the hilt, and that first job was won based on that strength. I think that AR candidates who are looking towards K-6 will have a much harder time finding a job. Science and Math, STEM, Robotics, and some World Languages/Bilingual content are good choices for AR candidates if that is your strength and passion. Be prepared to consider earning your TOSD Certification if you want to be truly competitive. The percentage of students with IEP's is growing, and if you can't deal effectively with that population, you will not be a top contender in the job market. I do think that the more certifications you have, the better the chance of being considered for varied jobs, but you need some true expertise to go with the paperwork. I can honestly say that every one of my certificates represents an academic content area that I enjoy and have a passion for. That explains my lack of a MS Math certificate - I can do it, but I don't have a love for it, so why bother?

    Hope this update is helpful.
     
  14. Luvmy2boys

    Luvmy2boys New Member

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    Jan 10, 2017

    Hello! I am also considering completing the alternate route program. I hold a bachelor's degree in history and that is probably the subject I would feel the most comfortable teaching. I would also like to teach social studies. My question is though how in demand are those subjects?? Should i try to get certified in math or science?? The only science i actually like is physics. I did well in it in college. Got A's in physics I and II. Is that enough to pass the Praxis though?
     
  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Virtuoso

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    You would need 15 hours of science, any science, to teach it at the MS level. For the HS level, it is more complex. If you acquire your certificate in History, I believe you can teach MS SS, but most of the MS specializations also require you to obtain your certificate in teaching Elementary School, with a multiple part exam covering ELA, Math, SS, and Science. Things have changed a lot since I went through the program, but you can check out the current NJ requirements at NJDOE. For the science, if you can pass a CLEP exam at the JC for a science course you haven't taken, it is a good way to pick up credits for MS and Elem.

    When in doubt, submit a certified copy of your transcript(s) to the state, pay the money, and they will evaluate what you are currently eligible to teach, what you may need to become eligible to teach, and what Praxis exams you would need to pass. The good news is that the money you paid for the transcript evaluation gets utilized if you get to the certificate portion. If you do not go forward, the money just becomes property of the state DOE.
     

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