New York State Certification, Professional Development
May 08, 2012

Fact Sheet: 12-21: Professional Development Requirement for Certification

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The NYS Board of Regents changed certification requirements in February 2004, creating new certification types for teachers and teaching assistants. Initial/Professional certificates replaced Provisional/Permanent certificates for classroom teaching titles and Level I-III certificates replaced the Temporary License/Continuing Certificates for Teaching Assistants.

Individuals holding professional certification in a teaching title and Level III teaching assistants are required to complete a prescribed number of professional development hours to maintain their certificates.

Specifically:

  • Professional certificate holders must complete 175 clock hours of professional development every five years, and
  • Level III teaching assistants must complete 75 clock hours of professional development every five years.

It is important to note that these are the only certificates that require continuing professional development for certification purposes.

This Fact Sheet provides the following additional information to assist NYSUT members in meeting the professional development requirements set forth in Section 80-3.6 of the Commissioner's Regulations:

  • An overview of the professional development requirement for certification;
  • Key items to consider regarding Professional Development; and
  • Links to State Education Department (SED) guidance on this topic.

OVERVIEW

The following provides a brief overview of the professional development requirement. Follow the links provided at the end of this document for more detailed information.

Who is affected?

Only individuals possessing a professional certificate or a level III teaching assistant certificate are affected.

How much professional development is required?

Professional certificate holders must complete 175 clock hours of professional development every five years, and level III teaching assistants must complete 75 clock hours of professional development every five years.

When must the professional development occur?

The professional development must occur during the five year professional development period which is defined in regulation as beginning on July 1st after the effective date of the professional or level III certificate (the date actually printed on the certificate). For example, an individual holding a professional certificate that is effective on September 1, 2010 would count professional development hours completed in the period beginning on July 1, 2011 and ending on June 30, 2016.

What type of professional development is acceptable?

For individuals employed in a public school or Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), the district's professional development plan (PDP) identifies acceptable professional development.

For individuals employed in nonpublic schools or not regularly employed, professional development must be in the content area of the certificate or in pedagogy related to the certificate.

Can the professional development requirement be reduced or adjusted?

Yes. It can be reduced by 10% for each professional development year an individual is not regularly employed by a public school or BOCES. In addition, the hours can be adjusted for good cause upon request to the State Education Department (SED) including, but not be limited to, any of the following reasons: poor health certified by a physician; or a specific physical or mental disability certified by an appropriate health care professional; or extended active duty with the Armed Forces of the United States; or extreme hardship which, in the judgment of SED, makes it impossible for the professional certificate holder to comply with the professional development requirements in a timely manner; or for a certificate holder who is regularly employed by a public school or BOCES, inability to complete the requirement because of the failure of the school to adopt and implement a professional development plan.

How is professional development reported to the State Education Department?

If you are employed by a public school or BOCES, the district or BOCES will report all of your professional development hours to SED via the Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI) TEACH system. If you are not regularly employed (less than 90 days) by a public school or BOCES, you must report your professional development hours annually to SED.

What type of professional development records must be maintained by professional and level III teaching certificate holders?

Individuals must keep personal records of completed professional development that includes the provider name, date and location of the activity, description of the activity, hours completed, and attendance verification. These records must be retained for a minimum of seven years and be made available upon request by SED.

Do professionally certified teachers or level III teaching assistant need to re-apply to the State Education Department every 5 years to maintain their certificate?

No. Verification of completed hours is done using the TEACH online system and completion of the required hours by itself maintains the certificate.

KEY ITEMS TO CONSIDER

Responsibility for certification, including all professional development activities for certification purposes, is an individual's responsibility. Failure to fulfill the professional development requirement for professional and level III teaching assistant certification will lead to a suspended credential.

Maintain personal records of completed professional development hours. Annually check those personal records against any records maintained or reported by the employing district.

Acceptable professional development opportunities are identified within the employing district's Professional Development Plan (PDP). PDPs should ensure access to these identified professional development opportunities and that they are provided at no cost to members during school hours. If a PDP does not identify such opportunities, members should work through their locals to identify the appropriate approval process for professional development opportunities.

Members, working through their locals, should receive documentation or have access to electronic verification of completed professional development hours that includes all record-keeping components required by SED.

The NYS Education Department recognizes mentoring service as acceptable professional development for the mentor's certification requirements; members, working through their locals, should ensure that mentoring service is recognized by the district's PDP as such.

Section 80-3.6(h) the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education details an individual's due process rights. This protection is critical in order to challenge determinations by SED to suspend a credential based upon a failure to fulfill the professional development requirement.

RESOURCES

Maintaining Your Certificate - Professional Certificate Holders
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/maintaincert-prof.html

Maintaining Your Certificate - Teaching Assistant Level III Certificate Holders
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/maintaincert-ta3.html

School District - Roles and Responsibilities
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/maintaincert-sd.html

Frequently Asked Questions
http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/faqpd.html

May 2012 89076
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