New York State Certification, Special Education, Professional Development
April 06, 2020

Fact Sheet 20-10: NYS Certification: Students with Disabilities

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
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Updated and Replaces 19-18



Table of Contents

Background

Special education certification has undergone many changes in the past 20 years.  Prior to 2004, the special education certificate was considered an ‘All Grades’ certificate, or K-12.  Individuals with this certificate could fulfill any and all assignments related to special education, including special class assignments.

In 2004 the special education certificate was replaced by the certificate title of Students with Disabilities (SWD) and this SWD title was broken into four (4) grade level certificates:

  • SWD: Birth – Grade 2
  • SWD: Grades 1 – 6
  • SWD: Grades 5 – 9
  • SWD: Grades 7 –12: Content Area

The SWD Grades 5-9 certificate was further delineated into a generalist title (for non-departmentalized assignments) or a content-specific title. The SWD Grades 7-12 certificates were separated into content area, requiring knowledge of a specific content area in addition to the knowledge base in special education.

In 2011 the SWD: Grades 5-9 and the SWD: Grades 7-12 content-specific certificate titles were eliminated and replaced with the SWD Grades 7-12 Generalist certificate, with the availability of content area extensions that could be attached to this certificate.

In 2018-19, additional changes were made to the SWD titles; state regulations were amended to allow for grade level extensions to existing SWD certificate titles.

In the fall of 2019, SED more clearly defined the appropriate credentials for special education teachers assigned to special classes: a 7-12 subject area certificate, the Statement of Continued Eligibility, the Limited Subject Area Extension, or the Subject Area Extension.

Grade-Level Extensions

Current Certification

Teaching Experience Requirement

Teachers Choose One of the Following Requirements:

Grade Extension to Current SWD Certificate

 

 

 

 

Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE)

College Course

 

 

SWD Birth - Grade 2

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 1st and/or 2nd grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the elementary level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the elementary education level.

Grades 3-4

SWD Grades 1 -6

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 1st and/or 2nd grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the early childhood level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the early childhood education level.

PK-K


 

 

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 5th and/or 6th grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Grades 7-8

SWD 7-12 Generalist or Content Specialist

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 7th and/or 8th grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the middle education level.

Grades 5-6

SWD 5-9 Generalist or Content Specialist

Minimum of 3 years teaching experience at 8th and/or 9th grade levels.

Minimum of 45 hours of acceptable CTLE focused on SWD at the adolescent education level AND 15 hours of acceptable CTLE in ELA OR 3 credits in ELA.

Minimum of 3 credits of pedagogical course work focused on SWD at the adolescent education level AND 15 hours of acceptable CTLE in ELA OR 3 credits in ELA.

Grades 10-12

For each of the grade level extensions, teaching experience is defined as at least 75% or more of the applicant’s time is spent teaching students with disabilities in either of the two grade levels closest to the grade level extension during each of the three school years. Applicants for the grade level extension(s) use the state’s Verification of Paid Experience form for Classroom Teachers and Pupil Personnel Services Professionals: Professional and Permanent Certificates, Extensions, Limited Extensions, and Statements of Continued Eligibility to fulfill this requirement.

New York State Teacher Centers offer state-approved CTLE courses that fulfill the requirement for grade level extensions. Interested parties can contact the director of the Rome Teacher Center at jlattimorertc@gmail.com for information on availability of these courses across the state.

Statements of Continued Eligibility, Limited Subject Area Extensions, and Subject Area Extension

In addition to grade level flexibility, the State Education Department also adopted regulations to increase the flexibility of select Students with Disabilities certificates to teach special classes. The SWD titles eligible for this flexibility include: SWD 7-12 Generalist, SWD 7-12 Content Specialist, SWD 5-9 Generalist, SWD 5-9 Content Specialist, and Special Education K-12.

Effective July 1, 2021, special education teachers who teach one or more subject areas in a special class in grades 7-12, with some or no students under alternate assessment, must either:
1) be certified in each subject area that they teach, or
2) meet the teaching experience requirement for the statement of continued eligibility (SOCE) and have an active SOCE application in TEACH in each subject area that they teach.

Special education teachers can become certified in a subject area by obtaining a 7-12 subject area certificate or they can earn subject area certification through the SOCE, a limited subject area extension, or the actual Subject Area Extension.

Statement of Continued Eligibility or SOCE: The SOCE is available to special education teachers with any of the identified certificate titles who have at least three years of full-time special education teaching experience in a special class with students in grades 7-12 prior to June 30, 2021, during which time they would have been considered Highly Qualified through passing a HOUSSE rubric in the subject area of the SOCE sought.

Special education teachers must have taught the subject area in a special class with students in grades 7-12 for at least one teaching assignment during each academic year (e.g., one period for an entire semester or year) under full-time employment. They do not need to have a teaching assignment in a special class in grades 7-12 on the date of their SOCE application, but they do need to be currently employed in a public school or other school for which teacher certification is required to teach a special class. The years of experience do not need to be contiguous.

Application Deadline: Individuals must apply for the SOCE in TEACH and pay the application fee by June 30, 2021.

Special education teachers can complete the SOCE requirements within three years of the application date or two official state evaluations of the application, whichever comes first, with the exception that the teaching experience requirement must be completed by June 30, 2021.

Special education teachers who seek more than one SOCE must pay for the first application however the fee for the additional applications can be waived by the state.  Instructions to have the additional application fees waived are available at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/special-education-teacher-soce.html.   

The requirements for the SOCE include the HOUSSE rubric and Employment Verification form completed by the district, and depending upon the special education certificate held by the teacher, may include some or all of the following:

  • Being fingerprinted;
  • Child Abuse Identification and Reporting workshop;
  • School Violence Intervention and Prevention workshop;
  • 6-hour DASA workshop
  • Autism workshop.

Limited Subject Area Extension:  The limited extension is available to special education teachers with any of the certificate titles identified above who will teach a special class but do not qualify for the SOCE. The limited extension enables these teachers to teach special classes for five years (with additional 5-year renewal option) while they complete 18 credits required for a content area extension in the subject areas (biology, chemistry, earth science, ELA, general science, languages other than English, mathematics, physics, and social studies) they teach within the special class.

Limited extensions can be obtained by:

  • having at least two years of satisfactory full-time teaching experience with students with disabilities in grades 7-12, must have valid SWD 7-12 Generalist certificate and be deemed Highly Qualified by a district in the subject area using the HOUSSE rubric prior to July 1, 2021; or
  • passing the NYS Content Specialty Test in the subject area; or
  • passing an industry accepted exam in the subject area; or
  • completing at least 9 credits of course work in the subject area; or
  • completing at least 45 CTLE hours in the subject area and either:
    • having at least two years of satisfactory full-time teaching experience with students with disabilities in grades 7-12 in the subject area, or
    • being mentored for at least one year by a teacher in the school or school district who holds a professional or permanent certificate in the subject area.

Subject Area Extension: The subject area extension is available to special education teachers with any of the certificate titles identified above who teach one or more subject areas in a special class in grades 7-12, with some or no students under alternate assessment.  The subject area extension requires 18 credits in a content area (biology, chemistry, earth science, ELA, general science, languages other than English, mathematics, physics, and social studies) and passing the corresponding Content Specialty Test.

Depending upon the special education certificate (permanent or initial/professional) held by the teacher, the subject area certificate may include some or all of the following:

  • Being fingerprinted;
  • Child Abuse Identification and Reporting workshop;
  • School Violence Intervention and Prevention workshop;
  • 6-hour DASA workshop;
  • Autism workshop.

Attachments

The attachments included in this Fact Sheet represent the evolution of SED guidance as to the assignment of special education teachers and the credentials appropriate for these assignments.

  • Attachment B ‘Special Education Certificate Titles and Teaching Assignment’ chart was SED’s guidance from 2011.
  • Attachment C, ‘Examples of Reporting Primary and Special Education Instructors in Course Instructor Assignment’ was SED’s guidance from 2017 through 2019.
  • Attachment D is SED’s Search Requirements page with examples of how to search the requirements for the SOCE and/or Limited Extension.

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