New York Teacher Certification
The Office of Teaching Initiatives at the New York State Education Department is responsible for New York teacher certification. The Office of Teaching Initiatives has set forth a new certification process that took effect on February 1, 2004. These new requirements replace regulations that took effect September 1, 1993.
The State of New York issues certificates in a number of titles (subjects) within each of three major categories:
- Administrative and supervisory personnel
- Pupil personnel service professionals
Certification titles (subjects) exist in the following areas:
- Lower and Upper Elementary Grades
- Early Secondary Grades 7-9 Extensions
- Middle Childhood Education Grades 5-9
- Secondary Academic Subjects Grades 7-12
- Secondary Academic Subjects Grades 5-6 Extension
- Special Subjects
- English to Speakers of Other Languages
- Bilingual Education Extension
- Teaching Students With Disabilities
- Annotations And Extensions
- Career And Technical Education Grades 7-12
- Technical Subject Titles
- Trade Subject Titles
There are several types of certificates issued by the State of New York. These include:
- Initial - The Initial certificate is the entry-level certificate for classroom teaching. It is issued for a specific subject and is good for five years. There is also the possibility of a one-year extension. The Initial certificate is the first step toward attaining a Professional certificate, the highest and final level of teacher certification in New York State.
- Professional - The Professional certificate is the second and highest level of classroom teaching certificate for the State of New York. It is issued to holders of Initial certificates who complete the necessary additional education and experience requirements. This certificate is continuously valid as long as the holder completes the continuing education requirements of 175 hours of professional development every five years.
- Teaching Assistant - The Teaching Assistant certificate authorizes individuals to provide teaching services to students under the direction of a certified teacher. This certificate is continuously valid as long as the holder completes the continuing education requirements of 75 hours of professional development every five years.
- Transitional - The Transitional certificate is a special certificate issued in situations where a candidate has not met the requirements for a teaching certificate (Initial or Professional) but who has an employment and mentoring commitment from a public school district or who may be enrolled in a special program to complete the academic requirement for an Initial certificate.
- Provisional - The provisional certificate is the entry-level certificate for pupil personnel service and administrative and supervisory service titles. It is valid for a five year period. This certificate is the initial step to obtaining a Permanent certificate.
- Permanent - The Permanent certificate is the second and highest level certificate for pupil personnel service and administrative and supervisory service titles. Once earned, it is continuously valid with no additional requirements.
The remainder of this article will focus on the requirements to become a teacher in New York, and thus, will focus on the Initial and Professional certificates.
Individuals who have a valid classroom teaching certificate may qualify for an additional teaching certificate in another subject by meeting the necessary requirements. At a minimum, this will entail completion of the necessary education in the subject area and taking the appropriate Content Speciality Test (CST). Some subjects require additional education in teaching methodologies (pedagogy) for that subject. Individuals may also obtain Certificate Subject Extensions allowing them to teach an additional student population, grade, or subject. In addition, annotations are available for teaching certificates. An annotation recognizes that an individual has additional pedagogical knowledge, skills, and experience beyond their base certificate. Currently the only annotation available is for severe or multiple disabilities.
The Process for New York Teacher Certification
The process to become certified to teach in New York is rigorous. To receive an Initial certificate, an individual must:
- Submit an application with the required fee.
- Obtain a bachelor's degree with the required education, content, and pedagogical coursework from a registered teacher education program at a New York State college or university. Alternatively, an individual may obtain a bachelor's degree from an approved program in any of more than 30 other states with which New York has reciprocal (interstate) agreements. The most up-to-date list of such states may be obtained at the New York State Education Department Office of Teaching Initiatives web site. The education requirement can also be fulfilled through approved alternative education programs aimed at second career professionals. An individual may also submit their credentials for individual evaluation to see if they meet New York State Requirements. Finally, a holder of a National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certificate is deemed to have met the necessary educational requirements.
- Have student teaching experience usually obtained as part of an approved education program. NBPTS certificate holders are exempt from this requirement as are certified teachers from one of the states with which New York has reciprocal agreements.
- Pass three tests:
- The Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST)
- The Assessment of Teaching Skill-Written (ATS-W)
- A Content Speciality Test (CST) in the certification subject area
- Complete a 2-hour child abuse identification workshop.
- Complete a 2-hour school violence prevention workshop.
- Pass a fingerprint criminal background check clearance.
- Maintain a high standard of conduct and moral character.
To receive a Professional certificate, an individual must meet the following, additional requirements:
- Submit an application with the required fee.
- Have three years of teaching experience with the first year being a "mentored" teaching experience.
- Have completed a master's degree.
- Pass the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Performance (ATS-P) test. This is not required for all subject areas.
- Be a US citizen or Permanent Resident.
Certification for Teachers Certified in Other States
Individuals with a valid certificate from any of more than 30 states with which New York has a reciprocal (interstate) agreement may apply for a Conditional Initial certificate which is valid for two years. During the two years of the Conditional Initial certificate, the individual must pass all of the required New York State Certification Examinations. Once they have fulfilled the examination requirement, a regular Initial certificate will be issued that is valid for three years. To obtain a Professional certificate, an individual must meet all of the requirements for that certificate. The one exception is that if they have two years of prior teaching experience before the issuance of the Conditional Initial certificate, they are exempt from the requirement for one year of mentored teaching experience. The states with which New York has Reciprocal Agreements include:
|District of Columbia||Montana||Texas|
|Illinois||North Carolina||West Virginia|
New York Professional Certificate Renewal
An Initial certificate is not renewable. It is valid for 5 years with the option for a 1-year extension. A Professional certificate is continuously valid as long as the continuing education requirement of 175 hours of professional development every five years is met. The Teachers Aide certificate is also continuously valid as long as the continuing education requirement of 75 hours of professional development every five years is met.