New York Teacher Certification Guide


How to Become a Teacher in New York

All teaching candidates wishing to teach in New York State must possess a New York State certificate (specifically in the category of classroom teaching) for employment in the State's public school system. These certificates are issued by the NY Department of Education Office of Teaching Initiatives, and reflect that a candidate has met all relevant degree, coursework, assessment and experience requirements.

The available paths to obtaining certification depends on the candidate's background as well as subject and grade level preferences:

Subject Area: Certificate titles include subject specifications, such as math and biology.

Grade Level: Certificates include grade level specifications; these include early childhood (birth to 2nd grade), childhood (1st to 6th grade), middle childhood (5th to 9th grade), adolescent (7th to 12th grade), and "all grades" (pre-k to 12th grade).

Title: The certificate title denotes the subject and grade level that you are authorized to teach. Examples include Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 2), Biology (Grade 7-12), and School District Administrator (K-12).

Type: The type of the certificate also depends on the candidate's educational background and experience; levels include Initial certificate, which is valid for 5 years, and the Professional certificate, an advanced level license that is continually valid assuming the teacher completes the required number of professional development hours every 5 years.

New York Teacher Certification Programs

One pathway for earning a New York State certificate for employment in the State's public school system, involves completing a teacher education program at a New York college or university. Upon completion, the candidate must then be recommended for a certificate by the New York college or university where they completed the program.

The program must be approved and registered by New York State as leading to certification, and must be specific to the desired subject and grade level. A list of approved certification programs is available on the New York State Education website.

For example, if you are seeking a certification in Middle Childhood (5th to 9th grade) Math, the following are some examples of NYS colleges and universities that offer approved certification programs in this specialty:

  • Alfred University
  • Bank Street College of Education
  • The City University of New York
  • Hartwick College
  • Manhattanville College

The college or university (where the program is completed) will supply the applicant with a "Student Application Information Sheet", which outlines all the relevant information needed for applying for certification. The college or university will also submit their recommendation for certification through TEACH Online Services.

Candidates seeking certification through university/college recommendations must still also complete applicable testing requirements as well as obtain fingerprint clearance.

New York Teacher Education Requirements

New York State Certification Requirements are dependent on one's level of education and experience.

If you are a high school graduate:

  • You must earn a bachelor's degree from an approved teacher preparation program at a New York State college or university, or a college or university in a state with a reciprocity agreement with NYS.
  • Upon graduation from a NYS program, the college or university then recommends candidates for Certification.

If you are a professional in another field, have not completed a teaching program, and are looking to become a teacher:

  • You must have or earn a bachelor's degree with a GPA of at least 2.5.
  • You must meet semester hour and content/subject requirements (e.g., pedagogical core competencies for the subject you wish to teach).

If you have not completed a teaching program, but do have subject matter expertise (e.g., a degree in Chemistry and you wish to teach Science):

  • You must have a bachelor's degree in the subject you wish to teach, or 18 semester hours in the subject you plan to teach with 12 semester hours in a related subject.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0.

New York State Teacher Certification Exams

Test Description
edTPA National performance assessment in which candidates demonstrate their ability to teach by planning and teaching lessons that support their students' strengths and needs. Passing the edTPA is a requirement for most New York State Initial teacher certificates. Candidates must pass the edTPA in the subject area of the certification sought. However, candidates who have completed an approved teaching program are not required to take the edTPA.
Educating All Students (EAS) Computer-based test (CBT), consisting of 40 selected-response and 3 constructed-response questions; assesses a candidate's knowledge, skills and ability as it relates to teaching a diverse student population with a broad range of backgrounds and needs. The EAS is offered year round, and by appointment.
Content Specialty Tests (CST) Subject based, and must be passed for certification in a given subject. Most CSTs are computer-based tests, consisting of selected-response and constructed-response questions. CSTs are generally offered year-round, and by appointment.
Praxis Test For Certification in the field of Speech and Language Disabilities, candidates must pass the Speech-Language Pathology Praxis exam.

Additional New York State Teacher Certification Requirements

Candidates who have not received a college recommendation for certification must also complete the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training workshop, which focuses on preventing harassment, bullying, and discrimination in schools.

In addition, candidates must complete a fingerprint-supported criminal history background check through MorphoTrust/IDEMIA, which costs $101.75.

New York Teacher Certification Application Process

Candidates will be applying for certification via the TEACH Online system. During the application process you will specify the type of certificate you are applying for, as well as your current credentials; this will determine the pathway that is most appropriate.

The processing fee is $50. The current processing time is approximately 16 weeks, but varies depending on the type of certificate and pathway chosen.

Candidates will need to mail certain supporting documents to the New York State Education Department. These supporting documents could include:

  • Original official transcripts of all college work.
  • CLEP, DANTE, ACTFL, or Excelsior exam scores.
  • Evidence of paid teaching experience, or other relevant experience.
  • Copies of teaching certificates from other states if applicable.

Alternative Paths to New York Teacher Certification

Alternative teaching programs (ATPs) for New York State teacher certification are available for professionals looking to transition into teaching; these are:

  • Transitional B Program- For candidates who possess a bachelor's degree.
  • Transitional C (Intensive) Program - For candidates who possess a master's, graduate or professional degree.

ATP candidates must:

  • Complete a 200-clock hour introductory requirement (including 40 clock hours of field experiences).
  • Pass several New York State Teacher Certification exams ( e.g., EAS, CST) as well as required workshops.
  • Meet certain class/grade requirements (e.g., 3.0 undergraduate GPA).
  • Commit to a school district for three years of employment.

Those seeking to apply for the ATP Pathway must apply through New York State Colleges and Universities offering the program(s).

Certification in New York for Out-of-State Educators

Praxis teacher certification requirements in the state of New York for out-of-state educators are contingent on classroom experience.

To get a teaching certificate in New York State, candidates with at least 3 years of public-school classroom experience must:

  • Hold a valid and applicable teaching certificate in the subject of your application.
  • Have their prior employer(s) complete and submit the Classroom Teacher Rating Form verifying the candidate received evaluation ratings of effective or highly effective (or equivalent) for at least three of those years of teaching.
  • Hold a Bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA.
  • Complete the fingerprint background check.

To get a teaching certificate in New York State, candidates without at least 3 years of public-school classroom experience must:

  • Hold a valid and applicable teaching certificate in the subject of your application.
  • Pass all required exams for the Initial certificate sought.
  • Complete all required workshops.
  • Complete the fingerprint background check.
  • Apply for the Initial certificate and pay the related fees.

New York Teacher Salary

New York State Teacher salaries are based on prior teaching experience, as well as one's academic resume (e.g., coursework/degrees). For example, in 2019-20 the starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no teaching experience was $57,845; while a teacher with a master's degree and no experience started at $65,026. Salaries increase with each year of experience, as well as with any new educational credentials earned. For context, private school educators in New York State earn an average of $33,672 a year.

In addition to health, dental and vision insurance, teachers are eligible for additional benefits such as commuter assistance, continuing education assistance, and discounts on various other services.

According to the most recent data available, there are currently 2,512,973 students enrolled in public K-12 schools in New York State, with a student-teacher ratio of 13:1. As of 2018-2019 there were 442,594 students enrolled in private K-12 schools in New York State.

According to the New York State Department of Labor, qualified teaching candidates currently have a reasonable expectation of obtaining employment in at least one region of New York State.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get certified to teach in New York?

    In New York State, there are two common pathways to teacher certification. These are: 1) a traditional college/university teacher preparation program with certification recommendation and, 2) Alternative Teacher Preparation programs, or ATPs - also offered through a college or university. You must have a Bachelor's or Master's degree to apply for an ATP.

  • How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in NY?

    This is contingent on one's education history, as well as professional credentials--both of which dictate the pathway to certification. Once one applies for certification , the application is usually processed in 16 weeks.

  • What exams do teachers have to take in New York?

    The most common required exams for candidates seeking certification are the edTPA (educative Teacher Performance Assessment), the ESA (Educating All Students) and the CST (Content Speciality Test).

  • How much do teachers make in New York State?

    Salaries are based on years of teaching experience, as well as one's academic resume. Salaries typically range from $57,845 (Bachelor's degree/No experience) to $87,510 (Master's degree, 8 years of experience).Salaries increase with gained experience/education.