N.J. Center for Teaching and Learning, leader in STEM education, earns initial accreditation

Mahwah-based education center helps teachers earn master’s degrees, improve their STEM certifications — or helps alternative route candidates to join profession

If you’re a teacher looking to get a master’s degree in a STEM field or get certified to teach a new course — or, if you’re looking to join the teaching profession through an alternative route program — you now have a new option in New Jersey.

The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning, a leader in science, technology, engineering and math education based in Mahwah, recently was awarded initial accreditation status by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation, a national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

The commission’s action affirms that the nonprofit’s programs meet AAQEP standards.

AAQEP has accredited NJCTL for Master of Science in teaching and learning degrees in chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, mathematics and elementary mathematics, as well as their associated New Jersey post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs:

  • Add-On Endorsement: For current certified teachers to add an endorsement to teach a new STEM subject;
  • Traditional Alternate Route: For those with a bachelor’s degree (or 30 credits) in the subject they plan to teach and a minimum GPA of 3.0;
  • Shortage Area Alternate Route: For those with any bachelor’s degree and any GPA.

The courses in NJCTL programs are designed so graduate students can learn online, anywhere, anytime, at their own pace. NJCTL’s results speak for themselves, as the nonprofit has become the nation’s largest producer of physics teachers (recently graduating its 300th physics teacher) and has created or trained teachers from kindergarten through early college in many science, math and computer science courses.

NJCTL Executive Director Bob Goodman clearly was pleased by the news — and the fact the commendation noted the program’s strong assessment plan and wraparound support to ensure candidate success.

“We very much appreciate the detailed review of the assessment team at AAQEP, as well as its recognition of the important service we provide to educators who are eager to teach STEM courses,” he said.

NJCTL charges $195 per credit for its graduate-level courses, leading to master’s degrees for some programs. Discounts are provided to members of the New Jersey Education Association.

National accreditation assures the quality of NJCTL’s professional preparation programs through a nongovernmental, nonregulatory process of self-study and peer review. This standard and evidence-based process serves two broad aims: accountability and continuous improvement.

The AAQEP model is also designed to honor local context and foster innovation and collaboration among institutions. AAQEP currently has members in 37 states and other jurisdictions with more than 190 educator preparation providers participating in the accreditation system.