New York State Certification
April 27, 2015

FAQ: NYS Teacher Certification

Source: Research and Educational Services
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New York State Certification FAQ's

This section contains three sets of Frequently Asked Questions pertaining to New York State Certification:

FAQ 1 on "Professional Certification Requirements" is a generic overview of questions regarding moving from initial to professional certification.

FAQs 2 and 3 address the impact of the 2015 NYS Budget which establishes new policies and procedures relating to certification requirements for NYS teachers and teaching assistants.  The new law (Section 3006 of Education Law) specifies a Certificate Registration process for a select group of certificate holders as well as Continuing Teacher & Leader Education requirements for another group of certificate holders.

FAQ 4 on "Courses for Certification" is a listing of courses approved by the NYS Education Department as fulfilling specific certification requirements.    

The FAQs below address these new requirements based on available information as of May 2015. Please continue to check this site for information on these requirements as the NYS Education Department develops the specific procedures to implement these changes.

If you still have questions, please select "I have a question about Teacher Certification in New York State" on our Contact Us form.


FAQ 1 – Professional Certification Requirements

Q1:      Once I have my Initial certificate, how many years do I have to complete the requirements for a Professional certificate?

A1:       The Initial certificate is valid for 5 years, during which time you must complete the requirements for the professional certificate.  If you cannot complete all the requirements for the professional certificate in that 5-year window, you can apply for a time extension or a re-issuance of your initial certificate using the TEACH system.    

Q2:      Will the State Education Department notify me when my initial certificate is about to expire?

A2:       No.  The State Education Department considers it your responsibility to know what is required to maintain your certificate, including when a certificate is set to expire.  You can check on the status of your certificate(s) on your TEACH account.    

Q3:      What are the requirements for the professional certificate?   

A3:       The requirements for the professional teaching certificate include:

Q4:      Are there guidelines as to what counts toward the ‘3 years of teaching experience’?

A4:      Classroom teaching experience includes experience earned in a public or approved nonpublic preschool or elementary, middle, or secondary school in the subject area of the certificate. Experience that is not full time may be credited on a prorated basis.

Substitute teaching experience (per diem, leave replacement, long-term substitute positions) counts toward the ‘3 years teaching experience’.  Teachers working as substitutes in numerous districts may wish to have each district verify the experiences on district letterhead, including subject and/or grade level information.

Teaching assistant experience is not applicable to this requirement.

Q5:      When should I actually apply for the professional, as soon as I have met the requirements or at the end of the five year window? 

A5:       When to apply is entirely up to you.  Allow for three to four (3-4) months for the State Education Department to process your application.     

Q6:      I hold Initial certificates in more than one subject (e.g., Childhood Education Grades 1-6 and English 7-12). Must I teach for three years in each subject area to meet the three-year experience requirement for a Professional certificate?

A6:       No. An individual who holds more than one classroom teaching certificate may meet the requirement with three years of classroom teaching experience in any of the certificate titles.   For instance, a teacher who holds the Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) and English 7-12 certificates could satisfy the experience requirement for both certificates by teaching for three years in an elementary classroom, three years as a secondary English teacher, or a combination of both.

Please note that service in non-classroom teaching areas such as pupil personnel services or school leadership may not be used to satisfy the experience requirement for classroom teaching. 

Q7:      Once I receive my Initial certificate, I will be enrolling in graduate school. How can I find out which master’s degrees will be acceptable toward satisfying the requirements for a Professional certificate?

A7:       You can go to Professional Certificate - Master's Degree Requirement to see the possible ways to meet the educational requirement for a Professional certificate.  In layman’s terms, you can:

  • Pursue a graduate degree that leads to another certificate title, in NY or in another state;
  • Pursue a graduate degree in content area of your initial certificate;
  • Pursue a graduate degree that includes 12 credits in the content area or how to teach the content area of your initial certificate. 

If you earned your initial certification by completing a graduate level teacher education program and that college recommended you for the initial certificate, that same program satisfies the master’s degree requirement for the professional certificate.   

FAQ 2 – Registering Certificates with the State Education Department

Q1:      When does this registration process begin?

A1:      The law requires that the registration process begin July 1, 2016. The State Education Department is charged with developing the timeline for registration and the application process itself.  Please note that the law allows for a staggered and/or rolling registration process, so not every impacted certificate holder may need to register their certificate in the 2016-17 school year.     

Q2:      Who has to register their NYS certificate(s) with the State Education Department?

A2:      Any holder of a teaching certificate in the classroom teaching service, teaching assistant certificate, or education leadership certificate that is valid for life. ‘Valid for Life’ includes certificate titles that currently require professional development hours to maintain the certificates “in good standing” with the State Education Department. 

Q3:      Do permanently certified teachers need to register with the State Education Department?

A3:      Yes. 

Q3a:    Do permanently certified teachers who are not currently working as teachers need to register with the State Education Department?

A3a:     Yes.  If you are considering teaching again in the future, you need to register your certificate.  If you do not plan on teaching again in the future, you are required to advise the State Education Department of such.  The NYS Education Department is charged with developing this notification process.      

Q4:      Do permanently certified school guidance counselors need to register their certificates?

A4:      No.  School guidance counselors are categorized as ‘Pupil Personnel Service’ providers  and therefore not impacted by this new requirement.

Q5:      Do teaching assistants with pre-2004 continuing certificates need to register their certificates with the State Education Department?

A5:      No.

Q6:      Is there a requirement to notify the State Education Department if I move?

A6:      Yes.  Impacted certificate holders are required to notify the State Education Department within 30 days of moving.  Address changes (and name changes) will be done using the TEACH system.  

Q7:      Is there a fee for this registration process?

A7:      The law does not specify that a fee is required.   However, it does specify that certificate holders who file late can be charged a fee.


FAQ 3 – Continuing Teacher Education Requirements

Q1:      Who will be required to complete these continuing teacher education hours?

A1:      Holders of professional certificates in the classroom teaching service, holders of Level III teaching assistant certificates and holders of
            professional certificates in the educational leadership service.

Q2:      How many hours of continuing education will be required?

A2:      A minimum of 100 hours of continuing teacher education will be required during each 5 year registration period.

Q3:      Do these 100 hours of continuing teacher education replace the current professional   development hours’ requirement for teachers and Level III teaching assistants?

A3:      Yes.

Q4:      What will count toward these 100 hours?

A4:      The State Education Department is charged with developing standards for these 100 hours.  As of September 25, 2015, the standards have not been developed.  

Q5:      When will this “100 hour” requirement begin?

A5:      The requirement will begin July 1, 2016.  


FAQ 4 – Courses for Certification

We are pleased to announce the following courses have been reviewed and approved by the NYS Education Department as fulfilling specific certification requirements.


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