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The New York Teaching and Certification Resource

For those looking to become a certified teacher in New York, the process, which is overseen by the state’s Department of Education Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI), is fairly straightforward. The traditional routes to become a teacher in New York are described below. For information on alternatives to traditional certification in the state, see our guide to alternative teacher certification in New York.

How to Become a Teacher in New York

To become a New York teacher, a candidate must meet the requirements stipulated by the Office of Teaching Initiatives. Like most states, New York requires that all state teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a New York teacher certification program, and pass the required content examinations. Upon meeting the requirements for certification, an applicant may be issued an initial certificate, which is valid for five years. This entry-level certificate leads to the professional certificate, which is an advanced level license that is continuously valid, assuming the teacher completes the appropriate number of professional development hours every five years.

The most direct, traditional route to New York teaching certification is to complete an approved teacher preparation program at a New York college or university and be recommended for certification by the certification officer at that university, which is known as an institutional recommendation. For more detailed information on the New York teacher certification renewal process, contact the OTI Office or continue reading.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in New York

Projected Job Growth

5%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in NY through 202215

In addition to requiring all new teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, New York requires prospective teachers to complete an approved teacher preparation program at an accredited institution. You can find a list of approved teacher preparation programs, known as NYS Registered Programs, through the New York State Education Department. Programs in other states that hold accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education may also be acceptable. New York will not issue a teacher certification to those who have not completed a program at an accredited school, so it’s best to confirm accreditation before making a decision.

Additionally, most schools seek accreditation from the national accreditation organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP was formed from the merger of two former accreditation agencies, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation is not mandatory for schools, but due to its highly-regarded reputation for stringent standards most schools apply for its official accreditation.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in New York.

New York Teacher Outlook
The New York Department of Labor has projected 2,560 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 1,210 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 1,950 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in New York from 2012 to 2022.2 The majority of these openings will come from replacement positions, although growth estimates are also positive for new teachers at all levels of the education system.2 According to estimates from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 179,820 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state.3 In New York, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $74,830, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $75,470, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $76,680, excluding special education.3 The New York State United Teachers federation provides further information on standards, employment opportunities, and education news of interest in the state.

New York Teacher Education Requirements

The minimum education requirement to earn New York teacher certification is a bachelor’s degree. Candidates should also complete an approved teacher preparation program, also known as an NYS Registered Program. However, candidates who attended teacher preparation programs out-of-state may be eligible for an educator’s certificate if the program completed is deemed comparable to an approved program in New York. Such a program may be completed as part of the candidate’s bachelor’s degree or as a post-graduate certificate or master’s program.

New York Teacher Testing Requirements

New York State SealThere are several exams that are required for obtaining a teaching license in New York. The first is the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST), which contains multiple-choice questions as well as a written assignment that assesses abilities in written analysis and expression. Candidates must also pass the Educating All Students (EAS) test, which measures direct teaching skills and knowledge. All prospective teachers must also pass the edTPA, which measures teaching performance and instructional practice. Those teaching core subjects must also pass the appropriate Content Specialty Test (CST).

Additional tests, such as the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST), the Bilingual Education Assessments (BEAs), or the Communication and Quantitative Skills Test (CQST) may be required depending on the candidate’s educational background and content area and grade level(s) to be taught. You can find more specific information through the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations website.

Additional New York Teacher Certification Requirements

Like in all US states, New York requires that anyone applying for teacher certification in the state submit to a federal and state criminal history background check. The digital fingerprinting process should be completed through IdentoGO before sending in the teacher licensing application packet.

New York Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all of the requirements for New York teacher certification have been completed, applicants should send in their application to the Office of Teaching Initiatives. The office receives most applications in June, July, and August, so it’s recommended to send in all information three to four months in advance of your estimated date of employment. The required steps to obtain a New York educator certificate are as follows:

  • Verification of background clearance by the state
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of completing a teacher preparation program at an approved school
  • Passing scores on the required examinations
  • Completed application for teaching certification in New York
  • Payment of non-refundable processing fees

Supporting documents and the application fees should be sent to:

Office of Teaching Initiatives
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Ave, Room 5N EB
Albany, New York 12234

Visit the New York Department of Education website for further details on New York teacher certification.

New York Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 31,210 $42,190
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 5,050 $62,280
Kindergarten Teachers 6,920 $66,990
Elementary School Teachers 73,280 $74,830
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 21,540 $69,610
Middle School Teachers 39,220 $75,470
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 11,600 $74,830
Secondary School Teachers 8,600 $57,610
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 19,000 $76,760
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 4,160 $72,140

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

New York Teacher Interviews

Interview with Jose Vilson, New York Math Teacher and TEDx Speaker

Interview with Marisa Kaplan, Instructional Coach in New York

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in New York

Question: What degree is required to teach early childhood education in New York state?

Answer: There are several requirements to become certified in early childhood education in New York State. The first requirement is to earn a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from an approved teacher preparation program in the state. The second requirement is passing the New York State Teacher Certification exams in Academic Literacy Skills and Educating All Students, as well as the Content Specialty Test – Multi-Subject: Teachers of Early Childhood and the edTPA Early Childhood. Prospective teachers must also complete the Dignity for All Students Act Workshop.

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in New York City?

Answer: Substitute teachers in New York state are not required to hold certification, and no statewide substitute teaching certificate is currently offered. Certain districts may prefer certification or candidates who are currently working towards certification. For example, the New York City Board of Education does issue a substitute license, which candidates must hold to teach on a substitute basis. In all other districts, those who are not certified may not work as a substitute for more than 40 days in a school district per school year.

Question: How do I become a high school teacher in New York?

Answer: To become a high school teacher in New York, you must be certified by the state. This requires a bachelor’s degree and coursework in education. You must also pass basic skills and teaching skills tests. You also must participate in student teaching in a secondary classroom and pass a background check.

Question: How do I become a kindergarten teacher in New York?

Answer: You must be certified through the state for K-6 education to work as a kindergarten teacher in New York. Certification requirements include holding a bachelor’s degree, proof of completion of a teacher preparation program, and two student teaching experiences, as well as passing the state’s battery of exams for teacher certification.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. New York Education Department: http://www.nysed.gov/
2. New York Department of Labor Employment Projections: https://www.labor.ny.gov/stats/lsproj.shtm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New York: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ny.htm#25-0000
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm