Certification FAQs

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 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.

What do I need to submit on the application?

MJE applicants need to include a resume and letter of recommendation ready as PDF files. The letter of recommendation can be from a principal or from a current MJE. The application will give you the naming conventions for the files. Make sure you have your supervisor’s contact information readily available. In addition, MJE applicants will answer questions about their project proposal and submit professional growth activities.

What is the cost?

The CJE application fee is $60 for JEA members; the MJE application fee is $85 for JEA members. There is an additional fee for online test takers to cover the test proctoring. Nonmembers must join JEA before they apply for CJE; MJE applicants must have current CJE status. 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 complete an application which shows the applicant’s experience in scholastic journalism. Applicants must then pass the CJE exam within one year of the application.

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.
  • Five years of journalism teaching and/or advising experience.
  • Submit a resume verifying five years of journalism teaching and/or advising experience.
  • Submit a letter of endorsement from a supervisor or principal who has directly observed the journalism educator while teaching or advising or from a current MJE that has worked with the applicant.
  • 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 format of the exam?

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

Can I take the certification on my 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. A safe system has been developed to make sure the exams and responses are secure and reliable.

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

Applications for MJE or CJE should be received by March 15 to take the test at the spring convention or online spring session, June 15 to take the test at Advisers Institute or online summer session, or Oct. 15 to take the test at the fall convention or online fall session. Test results will be sent four to eight weeks after the test, and applicants will be notified about selection as soon as all application procedures are complete. Successful applicants will be announced online and recognized at the next convention. CJE certificates or MJE plaques are mailed.

How long will certification be current?

The CJE and MJE will be valid for five years, as long as JEA membership is current, and may be renewed by showing evidence of continued professional growth. The renewal fee is $10. If JEA membership lapses during the five-year period or certification is not renewed at the end of five years, it will be considered void. The renewal fee is waived for retired teachers.

Do retired teachers need to renew?

The CJE and MJE exams are designed to prove mastery, but the renewal process is built to support the greater scholastic journalism community. While JEA did not previously have a policy for the renewal of retired teachers, the organization is committed to asking all certified individuals, retired or active teachers, to renew using the same process. The only difference is that retired teachers won’t be charged a renewal fee. Waiving this expense is a small way we can recognize the significance of retirees who generously continue their professional growth and service after leaving the classroom.

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