Suspension and Revocation of Teaching Certificates and Other New Jersey Public Education Employment Certificates

Many employees in New Jersey public schools require certificates to hold their positions.  These include teachers, of course, but also principals, nurses and many other administrative and educational employees.  However, these certificates can be suspended or revoked for various reasons by the New Jersey Commissioner of Education or the State Board of Examiners.


Suspension for Leaving Employment Early

The New Jersey Commissioner of Education may suspend the certificate of any certified education employee who ceases performing their duties prior to the expiration of their term of employment (usually found in their individual employment contract) without the consent of the board of education which employed them.  The applicable statutes and regulations provide that this constitutes professional misconduct by the employee.  In such cases, the Commissioner may suspend the employee’s certificate for up to one year.


Suspension for Incapacity or Misconduct

The New Jersey State Board of Examiners, the New Jersey governmental licensing agency for public education, may suspend or revoke an employee's certificate for inefficiency, incapacity, conduct unbecoming or other just cause.  The Board may also suspend or revoke an employee’s certificate if the employee did not have the requirements when the certificate was issued, or if she no longer has them.  Likewise, conviction of certain crimes relating to the employee’s employment may also be grounds for revocation or suspension.


Hearings and Appeals

The employee must be given notice of the charges by the New Jersey State Board of Examiners and a hearing before the certificate may be revoked.  The New Jersey Administrative Code sets out the procedures.

The New Jersey State Board of Examiners ordinarily initiates revocation or suspension proceedings by the service of an order to show cause on the employee.  The Board may initiate revocation or suspension proceedings upon referral from a local board of education or from the Commissioner of Education.  It may also initiate the proceedings on its own initiative when it has grounds to believe that appropriate circumstances exist.  A public vote on whether to initiate the proceedings must be held by the Board.

The employee must respond in writing and in detail to the charges within 30 days from the date of mailing.  If the answer shows that there are material issues of fact in dispute, the Board may either hear the matter itself or refer it to the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law where an administrative law judge will hold a fact-finding hearing and make a recommended decision to the Board.  If no facts are in dispute, the Board will hear the matter itself.

Adverse decisions may be appealed.



The employee must surrender her certificate to the Board within 30 days of the decision to suspend or revoke their certificate.  This obviously has the effect of rendering the employee unable to serve in a position for which the certificate is required.

Additionally, the Board is required to notify: The county superintendent of education; all states which are parties of the Interstate Certification Project; the applicable pension funds; the chief administrator of the employee’s school district; and any other entities required by law.


Reinstatement of Teaching Certificates

An applicant may apply for reinstatement of her certificate after the suspension period expires if she has met the requirements set forth by the Board.  A revoked certificate generally will not be reinstated.  In limited circumstances, however, an employee whose certificate has been revoked may be able to apply for a different certificate.


The Bottom Line

Suspension or revocation of a teaching certificate has drastic consequences for an employee.  However, there are procedures to fight suspension or revocation, and to appeal an adverse decision.  Given these drastic effects, it often makes sense to fight the revocation or suspension.


Contact Us

Our New Jersey employment lawyers help teachers, administrators, nurses and other school employees in all aspects of New Jersey employment law, including certificate suspension and revocation hearings.  Call us at (973) 890-0004 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our New Jersey employment attorneys.  We can help.

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