Teacher Certification Degrees » Teacher Certification Center » The New York Teaching and Certification Resource

The New York Teaching and Certification Resource

New York is a great place to work in education. 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. There are some alternative ways to obtaining a New York teacher certification, but the traditional routes are described in detail below.

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 teachers certification program and pass the required content examinations. When applying for a teacher certification in New York, a candidate must submit proof that he/she has met the requirements in terms of degree and/or coursework, test scores, and experience requirements). 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 within each 5-year period.

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The most direct, traditional route to New York teaching certification is by completing a teacher education program in a New York college or university, and being recommended for certification by the certification officer at that university. Typical degree programs include elementary education, secondary education (with a content area specialty), and special education.

For those teachers with an out-of-state certification, reciprocity in New York is possible as long as applicants meet the additional requirements. For more information on reciprocity and the New York teacher certification renewal process, contact the OTI Office.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in New York

It is imperative that teacher applicants attend an approved teacher program in New York. In addition to requiring all new teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, teacher must also complete a teacher education program at an accredited institution. To find approved programs, applicants should look for accreditation from the state’s regional accreditation body, the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA). This organization is part of six regional accreditation agencies that are overseen by the US Department of Education. 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 the MSA accreditation before making a decision. And for those considering an online teacher certification program, it’s equally as important to confirm that the online school, even if headquartered out of state, is accredited by its corresponding regional accreditation body.

Additionally, most schools look for an accreditation from the national accreditation organization, CAEP. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness is an accreditation organization that was recently formed from the merger of two former accreditation agencies, the NCATE and TEAC. A CAEP accreditation is not mandatory for schools, but due to its highly-regarded accreditation, which is recognized by the US Department of Education, most schools apply for its official accreditation.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in New York.

New York Teacher Education Requirements

The most direct, traditional route to New York teaching certification is by completing a teacher education program in a New York college or university, and being recommended for certification by the certification officer at that university. Typical degree programs include elementary education, secondary education (with a content area specialty), and special education.

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 Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST), which contains multiple-choice questions in communication, history, social science, math, science, technology, arts, and the humanities, as well as a written assignment that assesses a candidate’s abilities in written analysis and expression.

The Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W) contains multiple-choice questions and a written assignment. It assesses a candidate’s professional and pedagogical knowledge. There is an Elementary and Secondary version.

Candidates must also pass the Content Specialty Test (CST) that is appropriate for their desired certification area. This contains multiple-choice questions and a written assignment.

Additional New York Teacher Certification Requirements

Lile all US states, New York requires that anyone applying for New York teacher certification must submit to a federal and state criminal history background check. Digital fingerprinting (known as LIVESCAN) is offered by the Department of Education through the new teacher application and database system, TEACH. This process should be completed before sending in the teacher application packet.

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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 gets a lot of 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:

  1. Verification of background clearance by the state
  2. Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  3. Proof of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
  4. Passing score on the required examinations
  5. Completed application for teaching certification in New York
  6. Payment of non-refundable processing fees

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

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

New York Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 24,890 $40,010
Kindergarten Teachers 9,830 $71,850
Elementary School Teachers 82,580 $71,270
Middle School Teachers 39,300 $74,550
Secondary School Teachers 66,740 $74,130

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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New York Teacher Interviews

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

Interview with Marisa Kaplan, Instructional Coach in New York

New York Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply and Demand System has projected 2,570 average annual new job opportunities for elementary school teachers, 1,210 average annual new job opportunities for middle school teachers, and 1,950 average annual new job opportunities for secondary school teachers in New York from 2012 to 2022. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, there are 181,960 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state (2013). Elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $72,840, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $75,340, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $75,250, excluding special education (BLS 2013). The New York State United Teachers, an advocacy group for education professionals in New York, suggests subject specialization, particularly in foreign language or special education to increase employment opportunity for young teachers.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in New York

Question: What is the first degree you must achieve in early childhood education in New York state?

Answer: There are two avenues to being able to work in early childhood education in New York State. The first avenue is to achieve a bachelors degree from an approved teacher preparation program in the state. The second route is passing the New York State Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST), the Assessment of Teaching Skills- Written (ATS-W), and the appropriate Content Specialty Test(s) (CST).

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

Answer: There are no specific requirements in New York state for working as a substitute teacher. To work as a substitute, you must apply to each individual district in which you hope to work. Each district may have its own requirements, but no one can work as a substitute in the same position for more than 40 days.

Question: How to 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 having a bachelor’s degree, completion of a teacher preparation program, and two student teaching experiences.

Teaching and Education Programs

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Programs:

  • M.Ed. Teaching & Learning: History
  • AA in Education (Non-Licensure)
  • CERT: Preschool
  • And more...

Programs:

  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Common Core State Standards Instructional Leader
  • M.Ed: Special Education (Non-Endorsement)
  • M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
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  • Early Childhood Education
Locations: Pittsfield

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  • MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
  • MA in Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)

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  • Global Training and Development - EdS
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  • General Education - Doctor of Education
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References:
1. New York Education Department: http://www.nysed.gov/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.