New York Teacher Certification and Career Guide

The New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI) issues certificates to New York teachers, administrators, and pupil personnel service providers who work in the public school system. The main steps for the traditional path to teacher certification in New York are:

  1. Complete a state-approved bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component.
  2. Complete a student teaching placement.
  3. Pass the required teacher certification exams.
  4. Apply for a teaching certificate or license.
  5. Upgrade your license.

Continue reading to learn more about the traditional certification pathway in New York.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a Teacher in New York
Teacher Certification Renewal
Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate
Teaching License Reciprocity
Related Licenses
Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
New York School District Requirements
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Teacher in New York

The steps below detail the route to traditional teacher certification in New York. If you are a bachelor’s degree holder who has yet to complete a teacher preparation program, check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in New York. New York has a tiered certification structure:

  • Initial Certificate (5-year): Entry-level certificate for classroom teachers issued in specific subject areas and grade titles.
  • Professional Certificate: Advanced-level certificate for classroom teachers with at least three years of teaching experience. Continuously valid but must be renewed every five years.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program.

The first step to certification in New York is to complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree major you pursue will depend on the grade level and subject you wish to teach. You must also complete a New-York approved teacher preparation program. In most cases, the teacher preparation program will be a part of the bachelor’s degree program. You can find a list of New York teacher preparation programs on the Inventory of Registered Programs (IRP) search page.

You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs on our New York schools page. You can also read about two important accreditations to consider, institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, on our teaching schools guide.

2. Complete a student teaching placement.

The teacher preparation program will include a student teaching component. New York-approved teacher preparation programs must include at least 100 hours of related field experiences related to the coursework. It will also include a college-supervised student teaching or practicum experience of at least 70 days that aligns with your program. This student teaching experience will be co-supervised by a university-based educator and a certified school-based teacher. Together, the experiences must address the full range of student developmental levels from pre-K to grade 12.

3. Pass the required New York teacher exams.

New York State SealAll teacher candidates in New York must pass the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE). For the Initial Certificate, candidates must pass:

  • Educating All Students (EAS) test
  • Content Speciality Test (CST) in their certification area

You can register for the tests through the NYSTCE website. Scores are automatically reported to the online application system. For more information about the certification test requirements, visit the OTI website.

4. Apply for New York teacher certification.

Your school will complete an institutional recommendation on your behalf and provide you with a Student Application Information Sheet outlining all the information you will need to apply for your certificate. To apply for teacher certification, you must have a TEACH Online Services account. You must select an Area of Interest (Classroom Teacher), Subject Area (Biology, Early Childhood Education), Grade Level (Middle Childhood, All Grades), Title (Biology, Grade 7-12), and Type of Certificate (Initial Certificate). Then, you will select your pathway and add a certificate to your application. The application will include:

  • Moral character questions
  • Official original transcripts (must be mailed)
  • Exam scores
  • Fingerprint clearance

5. Advance to a Professional Certificate.

To advance from your Initial Certificate to a Professional Certificate, you must have three years of acceptable experience verified by your employer or a master’s degree with a college/university recommendation. You can submit the documentation needed to advance your certificate through your TEACH account. For more information, you can visit the NYSED website.

Guide to Other Teaching Pathways

New York Teacher Certification Renewal

If you have not met the requirements for the Professional Certificate, you can apply for up to two reissuances of the Initial Certificate. For the first reissuance, you must meet all requirements for the Professional Certificate except the education and/or experience requirements, and for the second reissuance, you must meet all requirements for the Professional Certificate except the education or experience requirements (not both).

Professional Certificate holders must re-register with the OTI every five years to keep their certificate current. You must complete 100 clock hours of acceptable CTLE to re-register your certification. At the end of the five-year cycle, you can re-register in TEACH, where you will attest to completing the Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE).

Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate

Certified teachers in New York can only work in the subject and grade level they are certified in, although occasional, temporary exceptions are made. If you have a Professional Teaching Certificate and are seeking an additional teacher certificate, you can apply through the Additional Classroom Teaching Certificate Pathway.

To add a certificate, you must meet the content core requirements and pass the content specialty test in that subject. Additional pedagogical coursework may also be required. You can review the requirements for any certificate on the OTI website.

New York Teaching License Reciprocity

If you have completed at least three years of certified public school teaching experience in another state, you can apply for an Initial Certificate in New York. Teachers can apply through the Endorsement of Certificate Pathway with:

  • A valid, comparable teacher certificate
  • A bachelor’s degree with a cumulative 2.5 GPA
  • Three years of experience with positive evaluation ratings
  • Fingerprinting
  • Proof of completing the Workshops Required for Educator Certification

Out-of-state applicants who have completed a comparable educator preparation program in another state and completed all examination, workshop, and fingerprinting requirements can apply for an Initial Certificate through the Program Completer Pathway.

In addition to teaching certificates, New York also offers several credentials to support, administrative, and supervisory staff, each requiring specific educational and experiential qualifications:

  • Professional Coaching License: For coaches of sports in grades 7-12, including bowling, football, rugby, soccer, and track and field. To qualify for a Professional Coaching License, you need to take a First Aid course, a CPR course, complete specified coursework, complete the required workshops, complete fingerprint clearance, and have three years of experience as a coach in New York under a Temporary Coaching License.
  • Pupil Personnel Service (PPS) Certificate: For titles including School Attendance Teacher, School Counselor, School Dental Hygiene Teacher, School Nurse-Teacher, School Psychologist, and School Social Worker. To qualify, you need at least two years of acceptable PPS experience and a degree, ranging from an associate degree for a School Dental Hygiene Teacher to a bachelor’s degree for a school attendance teacher to a master’s degree for a school psychologist.
  • School Administrator/Supervisor (SAS) Certificate: For principals, assistant principals (APs), education administrators (EAs), or supervisory positions. Must have a master’s degree and at least two years of full-time administrative experience gained under a valid Provisional SAS Certificate.

For more information, visit the Types of Certificates and Licenses page.

New York Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in NY through 20302*

During the 2017-2018 school year, New York had an estimated 4,795 K-12 public schools.3 There were 2,724,663 students and 213,158 teachers, which equates to a student-to-teacher ratio of about 13:1.3

Projections for teachers in New York are positive compared to the rest of the country. Growth for preschool teachers is expected to be the fastest at 38.9% (compared to 18.4% nationally).2 Growth for kindergarten teachers is expected to be the next-fastest, at 17.2% compared to 13.9% nationally.2

TypeNumber Employed in NY4Average Annual Openings in NY2NY Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302Average Annual Salary in NY425th Percentile Wages in NY575th Percentile Wages in NY5
Preschool Teachers26,9503,81038.9%$46,420$34,250$51,340
Preschool Teachers, Special Education3,47055027.2%$99,620$62,700$126,980
Kindergarten Teachers7,75088017.2%$89,640$61,080$118,770
Elementary School Teachers98,3008,53015.5%$89,580$62,070$123,320
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Special Education18,0102,05015.6%$86,920$62,790$103,620
Middle School Teachers39,6703,89015.4%$93,380$64,670$127,430
Middle School Teachers, Special Education6,76085014.9%$93,630$74,390$125,600
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education1,270$83,650$64,160$97,310
Secondary School Teachers66,3605,94015.3%$91,290$62,890$126,440
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education15,6201,41015%$89,170$62,540$116,920
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education5,68041014.5%$83,600$62,270$102,840

*The estimated job growth average is based on projections for mainstream kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Projections for other categories, such as special education and career and technical education, may be higher or lower than the average.

Teacher Shortages in New York

According to data from the US Department of Education, the following teaching areas have been designated in the Teacher Shortage Area report for 2023-2024.

According to recent research, 15,289 teachers in New York were considered underqualified for their positions, including those assigned to classrooms outside of their certification field on a temporary or emergency basis.7

New York School District Requirements

If your goal is to become a teacher in New York City, check out our How to Become a Teacher in New York City page. On this page, you can find the step-by-step process for becoming an NYC teacher, information on private and charter schools in NYC, and NYC school district contact information.

Additional Resources

New York Teacher Interviews

Related Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

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. Prospective teachers must also complete the Dignity for All Students Act Workshop.

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

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. For the NYC substitute license, a bachelor’s degree is required as well as nomination by a local school district. 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 completion of a teacher preparation program. 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.

Question: How many private schools and private school teachers are in New York?

Answer: According to data from the 2019-2020 school year, there were 1,656 private schools in New York with a total of 355,784 students and 40,008 full-time teachers.8. Private schools can hire unlicensed teachers if an application is filed before the teacher starts. Some private schools have more stringent license requirements. Check with schools of interest for more information on teacher requirements.

1. New York State Education Department: https://www.nysed.gov/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2017-2018: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, New York: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ny.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Teacher Shortages in the United States, Tuan D. Nguyen et al.: https://teachershortages.com/
8. National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey, 2019-20: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/TABLE15fl1920.asp