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:Yes. If you have a current email in TEACH the State Education Department will contact you about 6 months prior to your initial certificate expiring. You can also check your TEACH account for the expiration date.
Q3:What are the requirements for the professional certificate?
A3:The requirements for the professional teaching certificate include:
Q4:Can I use substitute teaching to fulfill part/all of the 3-year experience requirement?
A4:Yes and No. If your initial certificate was issued after February 2, 2014 the substitute teaching experience needs to be in the area or areas for which you are certified to count as teaching experience. Substitute teaching at the elementary level, for example, will not count if you are certified in grades 7-12 and your initial certificate was issued AFTER 2/2/14.
If your initial certificate was issued prior to February 2, 2014, the substitute teaching experience does not have to be in the area(s) of your certificate(s). Substitute teaching at the elementary level, for example, will count if you are certified in grades 7-12 and your initial certificate was issued PRIOR TO 2/2/14
Q5:I have been employed as a teaching assistant while I search for a teaching position; will this experience count toward the 3 years?
A5:No. Teaching assistant experience is not applicable to this requirement.
Q6:What does SED require as evidence to show that I have fulfilled the 3 years of teaching experience requirement?
A6:SED requires that you self-report your teaching experience on your TEACH account AND that your school/district completes and submits the 'Verification of Paid Experience Form for Classroom Teachers and Pupil Personnel Services Professionals.'
Q7: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?
A7: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.
Q8: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?
A8: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.
Q9: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?
A9: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.
Some graduate programs work for all certificates as the state considers them related to all content areas. These programs focus on grades P-12 and include: Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Technology, Literacy, Bilingual Education, and Teaching English as a Second Language. NOTE: these programs must be completed at an institution with an approved teacher preparation program.