Goals of the Certification Committee

  • To promote professionalism in scholastic journalism.
  • To offer national certification to scholastic journalism teachers and advisers.
  • To designate as master teachers educators whose experience and expertise make them outstanding professionals.
  • To recognize educators who possess the education or experience to teach scholastic journalism and advise student publications.
  • To encourage those who are teaching scholastic journalism or advising student publications without an adequate background to increase their knowledge of journalism and to provide a model for their continuing education.
  • To increase the availability of courses and workshops appropriate for the scholastic journalism teacher and adviser.
  • To provide model certification requirements for scholastic journalism teachers in states that do not offer licensing in this field.
  • To improve public and school district perceptions of certified scholastic journalism teachers as professionals.

Deadline for all applications for spring and fall national conventions of the year we are in.

The spring national convention deadline is Feb. 1.

The fall national convention application deadline is Sept. 1.

The CJE and MJE exams are given at 3:30-6 p.m. Friday at the convention, with an optional study session at 2:30 p.m. Friday.


Why should I seek certification?

Certification will demonstrate that you are qualified to teach journalism and validate the credibility of your program to administrators, parents, fellow teachers, students and others. It will recognize your commitment to journalistic training and provide tangible evidence of your qualifications to remain in journalism education. It recognizes journalism teaching and advising as an academic field worthy of professional status. For business/ commercial JEA members associated with a scholastic journalism enterprise, it will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and commitment to the students and advisers they serve. JEA will notify administrators and local media of your certification. A certificate and pin will testify to your qualification. When you attend or speak at national conventions, you will be designated as a CJE or MJE on your name badge and in the program.

Does this mean journalism teachers and advisers must earn this certification?

No. Designed to recognize teachers with the background and experience necessary to do a good job, this program is entirely voluntary. JEA encourages all journalism educators to be well prepared.

How does this program differ from state certification?

State certification, which does not exist in many states, is usually mandatory and based entirely on college credits. Through the test, this program will recognize teachers who have gained knowledge through experience and self-study or from attending convention sessions or non-credit workshops. It also offers national certification whether or not a state program exists. The Master Journalism Educator program recognizes the teacher of unusual ability and expertise, a recognition that state certification cannot provide.

How will it improve journalism education nationwide?

JEA hopes colleges and universities will offer courses and workshops to help teachers meet these requirements. JEA also hopes colleges and universities will realize classes taught by CJEs and MJEs are bona fide English classes and should be accepted as such when determining college admissions.

Anything I need to know about the online application?

Yes! CJE applicants need to be sure to have the required documentation for their application ready as PDFs. Be sure to wait until the application indicates the PDF upload has completed before pressing SUBMIT.

Option A applicants must upload (1) a PDF copy of a valid teaching license, or if one is not required at the applicant’s school, a PDF of an employment verification letter on school letterhead signed by the principal or a direct supervisor AND (2) a PDF copy of transcripts to verify the JEA course requirements.

Option B applicants need a valid teaching license, or if one is not required at your school, an employment verification letter on school letterhead from your principal or supervisor.

Option C applicants need a resume that includes examples of teaching experiences/workshops/sessions taught/presented beyond company curriculum AND a letter from a CJE or MJE that directly address the applicant’s journalism teaching expertise.

After the application deadline -- Feb. 1 for the spring convention and Sept. 1 for the fall convention each year --, applications will be evaluated by the Certification Committee. It may take up to two weeks after the deadline for all applications to be evaluated. Chair Kim Green, MJE, contacts any applicant who is missing documentation or does not have the required course(s). The Certification Committee chair then shares with JEA Headquarters the list of candidates who meet all the requirements.

Applicants who meet all Option A requirements will be notified by JEA Headquarters before the end of each deadline month (February and September) that they are officially Certified Journalism Educators and will be recognized at the upcoming national convention. Candidates who do not qualify with the course requirements will be encouraged to take the CJE exam without having to reapply.

What does it cost to become a Certified Journalism Educator?

Application fee is $60 for JEA members. Nonmembers must join JEA before they apply. Fees cover only a portion of administration, judging, mailing and costs of pins and certificates. Other expenses for developing criteria and tests will be covered by JEA. School districts are encouraged to pay the fees for their applicants.

What are the qualifications for CJE?

Applicants must be a current JEA member. Applicants must complete an application and (1) provide evidence of a valid state teaching certificate, unless one is not required in special instances, a verification letter of employment on official school letterhead from a principal or immediate supervisor and (2) provide evidence of journalistic training from one of two options:

Option A: Copies of transcripts showing 18 semester (27 quarter) credits of journalism, which must include three courses required by JEA: (1) media law/ethics, (2) writing/reporting and (3) teaching journalism/advising student media methods. Credit may be from undergraduate or graduate courses.

Option B: Provide evidence of at least three years, minimum, journalism teaching or advising and pass a written examination administered by JEA.

Option C: Provide evidence of at least three years of scholastic journalism-related employment, a letter of recommendation from a CJE or MJE, a resume and list of courses/sessions taught and pass a written examination administered by JEA.

Why does JEA require three specific courses as part of the Option A requirement: law/ethics, writing/reporting and teaching/advising methods course even if I have a journalism degree and/or have worked in the journalism field or taught/advised journalism?

The CJE designation in Option A indicates that a publications adviser has specific knowledge in advising and teaching in this particular subject area. The emphasis is on knowledge of teaching and advising methods in scholastic journalism. While a journalism degree qualifies a person to become a knowledgeable journalist, it does not prepare a person to advise student media, which comes with its own unique set of requirements and challenges. While being a certified teacher in another subject area may provide a person with proper teaching and coaching methods and content area knowledge in that subject, it does not provide the content-area knowledge specific to journalism.

Option A recognizes those advisers who have the specific combination of both teaching methods and journalism content knowledge. These are people who have selected coursework specifically to prepare themselves for both teaching and practicing journalism.

If I choose Option B or Option C, what kind of test will I take?

The 2.5-hour, online test is aligned to JEA’s Curriculum Initiative and is the recommended study tool. The test is worth 100 points and consists of multiple choice, fill in the blank and short answer questions.

Can I take the certification on computer?

Yes, candidates taking CJE and MJE exams should bring their own laptops to the testing sites at national conventions in the fall and spring and to JEA Advisers Institute in July. Candidates use their laptops to word process their responses. A safe system has been developed to make sure the exams and responses are secure and reliable.

After CJE status, what’s the next step?

CJEs may apply for Master Journalism Educator status, which recognizes journalism teachers with outstanding abilities and expertise in the field.

What are the qualifications for MJE?

Applicants must complete an application and

  • Have earned CJE status.
  • Verify five years of journalism teaching or advising experience.
  • Submit a letter of endorsement from a supervisor or principal who has directly observed the journalism educator while teaching or advising.
  • Show evidence of participation in scholastic journalism professional growth activities at local, state, regional or national levels.
  • Pass the Master Journalism Educator examination (a 2 1/2-hour essay test of the educator’s knowledge and ability to advise others about journalism).
  • Submit a pre-approved project, paper or teaching unit.

What is the fee for MJE status?

Application fee is $85 for JEA members. Nonmembers must join JEA before they apply. This fee is higher than that for CJE because more extensive judging is necessary. School districts are encouraged to pay the fee.

What is the application deadline, and when will I receive my award?

Applications for MJE or CJE using Options B or C should be received by Feb. 1 to take the test at the spring convention or Sept. 1 to take the test at the fall convention. Test results will be sent about eight weeks after the convention, and applicants will be notified about selection as soon as all application procedures are complete. Successful applicants will be announced at the next convention.

CJE certificates or MJE plaques are presented at JEA conventions or mailed to those who cannot attend.

How will tests be judged?

All test judging will be anonymous. A Review Board of evaluators will independently grade the test. A composite score will be awarded.

How long will certification be current?

The CJE and MJE will be valid for five years and may be renewed by showing evidence of continued professional growth. The renewal fee is $10. If certification is not renewed at the end of five years, it will be considered void.

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