New Jersey considers the biological sciences to include the subjects of biology, anatomy and physiology, zoology, and botany. If you would like to teach one of the biological sciences in high school, read on to find out what steps you'll need to take.
Requirements for New Jersey Biology Teachers
|Average Salary for Teachers in New Jersey (2017)*||$76,430 (Secondary School)|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Required Field||Biological Sciences|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, Biology: Content Knowledge, General Science: Content Knowledge|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Fulfill Education Requirements
In New Jersey, you are required to earn a bachelor's degree in a biological science to become a biology teacher. Many New Jersey colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts/Science in Biological Science Education or something similar. This means that the college program prepares you with biology and teaching knowledge. The Department of Education in New Jersey requires you to take at least 30 hours of biology science credits. Some of those credits can be in courses such as genetics, physics, biometry, zoology, and cell biology. Keep in mind that New Jersey requires prospective teachers to keep a GPA of 3.0 through their studies.
As part of New Jersey's teacher requirements, you must complete a professional teacher preparation program (PTPP). This will educate you on the basics of pedagogy and teaching in the classroom. This may be completed separately from your degree, or as in the case of some biology teacher programs, these requirements may be completed as part of your bachelor's degree program. Be sure to check with your college or university to see if your program is an approved PTPP. This program should include a teacher performance assessment that the school department will fill out. This verifies you have spent time student teaching in real classrooms.
Step 2: Complete Testing Requirements
The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators series consist of three exams that test you on reading, writing, and math, and are required for all prospective teachers. You must earn a minimum score of 150 on the math exam, 156 on the reading exam, and 162 on the writing exam.
Each subject endorsement also requires you to take specific content knowledge exams. For biology, you need to take two content knowledge exams -- Biology: Content Knowledge and General Science: Content Knowledge.
The General Science: Content Knowledge exam is made up of 135 multiple-choice questions. You'll have 150 minutes to complete it. This exam tests you in five areas: scientific methodology, physical science, life science, earth/space science, and technology & society. You must earn a score of 152 or higher.
You're also given 150 minutes to complete the Biology: Content Knowledge exam. This exam has 150 questions and covers six different biology categories: nature of science, molecular/cellular biology, genetics, diversity of life, ecology, and technology & social perspective. Again, you must have a score of over 152 to have the exam qualify toward your certificate.
Step 3: Pass Other Requirements
You must be fingerprinted and have a background check. This is standard for all teachers who work with children. In New Jersey, you're also required to prove your physiology knowledge. While some prospective teachers may need to take the 35-question test given by the county office of education or take a biology or health college course, you'll likely have met this criteria with your biology bachelor's degree program.
Certification Resources for New Jersey Biology Teachers
Science teachers are heavily assessed with exams and teacher performance assessments. The following list provides some resources to study for those Praxis exams.