Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in New York

New York recognizes many teaching areas. Educator preparation programs will entail different coursework, assessment, and student teaching experiences. There are also different pathways to teaching; options depend on professional background as well as on subject preferences. Commonalities include the level of degree and the expectation that the individual will have preparation and assessment in both pedagogy and subject area. A bachelor’s degree is the educational standard at the entry-level.

New York has provisions in place for out-of-state teachers. For some, the process has gotten a little easier. An individual who does not qualify for an initial license may receive another credential such as one designated ‘conditional’.

Applicants can expect to complete minor state-specific requirements, for example, a Dignity for All workshop.

Pathways to Initial Teacher Certification in New York State

The New York State Department of Education describes the traditional path as either a four-year undergraduate degree or two-year graduate level academic program. New York boasts many. A person can also be credentialed on the basis of a program approved in another jurisdiction, though it may mean that he or she will need to arrange separately to take needed examinations.

The nontraditional path is designed for mature professionals who have degrees in the fields where they want to teach. The degree could be in a secondary subject area like mathematics. A person who had a liberal arts or science major could be a candidate at the elementary level (provided he or she was competitive in other ways). Potential students are advised to contact schools about the appropriateness of their major. A nontraditional program includes introductory preparation which is completed at an accelerated pace; then the person becomes teacher of record in a position where he or she is needed. The individual receives mentoring and completes coursework while carrying out classroom responsibilities. NYSED notes that this type of program is a partnership between colleges and districts with hiring needs.

The New York State Department of Education describes two types of alternative program that a teacher may enroll in. Alternative Teacher Preparation (Transitional B) Programs are for individuals who hold bachelor's degrees in areas where they want to teach. Intensive Transitional C programs are for individuals who hold master's degrees.

A prospective teacher can also have an individual evaluation of credentials; this is considered a separate pathway. The initial point of contact is usually a Regional Certification Office. An individual who applies under this pathway may be notified of deficiencies that he or she can make up. The Education Department has provided information for students who need to pursue additional coursework ( In some cases, a person may be able to make up a requirement through a credit-bearing exam like the CLEP.

Teaching Subject Area Requirements

NYSED has provided a directory of requirements, specific to teaching area. Prospective New York teachers can search to find requirements for their subject area, grade level, and title (

A person can, for example, select the ‘theatre K-12 initial certificate’ and find a requirement for a 30-credit general studies core, 30 credits of theatre (the equivalent of a major), 18 credits of pedagogy, and at least 40 days of student teaching.

A person can select ‘middle childhood grades 1-6 initial certificate’ and again find multiple pathways delineated. An individual credential evaluation would look for 30 credit hours of general liberal arts and sciences with coursework in particular areas, including artistic expression. The subject area core in this instance would be an additional 30 semester hours of arts and sciences. The individual would need 21 semester hours of pedagogy. He or she would take the Multi Subjects or Elementary Multi Subjects exam.

An individual already certified as a teacher who wishes to add a teaching area can also expect to complete a program or pursue a minimum number of credit hours in the area; in some cases, there will be a requirement for additional pedagogical coursework.

Teacher Assessment

An individual can expect to take multiple assessments en route to licensure. One will be the New York State Teacher Certification Exam - Educating All Students Test (EAS).

Another will be the edTPA, a portfolio-based performance assessment. New York programs integrate the edTPA with the student teaching/ experiential component. So do some programs in other states. The assessment is required of all teachers except those who qualify for endorsement of an out-of-state license ( The work is typically carried out within the context of student teaching, but can be carried out in other contexts. A graduate from an out-of-state program who did not go through the edTPA process as part of his or her student teaching can completed edTPA while working under a conditional initial license. A person will register for the version of edTPA that best corresponds to his or her teaching area. The testing vendor has provided a list of New York certifications and corresponding edTPA assessments (

New York has provisions for review of candidates who come very close to the cut-off score on the edTPA but miss it.

The individual will also complete a subject area test. New York State Teacher Certification Examinations are administered by Pearson Education (

For an added teaching area, there is no additional edTPA requirement.

The Application Process

Prospective teachers can apply online using the TEACH system.

Some documents will be sent separately. Official transcripts will be required. An out-of-state teacher will provide a copy of his or her license. Instructions for document submission are available online (

Additional Information

Certification information is available from the New York State Education Department. Individuals with general questions about what pathway to pursue may contact the Office of Teaching Initiatives by email at ‘tcert at’ or by telephone at (518) 474-3901.

Teach NYC, a website of the New York City Department of Education, is an additional resource. Teach NYC has provided a succinct description of the certification process (

Requirements do occasionally change.