New York State Certification, Professional Development
August 11, 2017

Fact Sheet 17-14: NYS Certification in Career and Technical Education

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services

In May 2017, the Board of Regents adopted regulations that amended the requirements necessary to obtain Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate titles.  The new certification requirements utilize the nationally recognized Career Clusters structure (attachment A) as a framework for CTE certification in NYS and streamline the requirements for initial and professional certification in Career and Technical Education.

A CTE certificate authorizes the certificate holder to teach a specific CTE subject in an approved career and technical education program in a New York State public high school or BOCES.  In NYS, certified teachers progress from entry level certificates (Transitional A or Initial) to the Professional certificate by completing specific educational and teaching experience requirements.

The Office of Teaching Initiatives reviews applications for CTE certificate titles. The new requirements continue and expand the current Transitional A pathway to CTE certification, specify education course work needed for CTE certification, adjust the NYS certification examination requirement, and eliminate the requirement for 30 credits in the liberal arts and sciences for the professional CTE certificate.

Transitional A Certificates:

Transitional certificates are designed to help transition professionals in CTE fields into the ranks of state-certified CTE teachers. The Transitional certificate is available to applicants who have not yet met all of the requirements for the initial CTE certificate, but may have met some.  This certificate is valid for three (3) years and requires a commitment of employment and support from a NYS school district or BOCES.  During these three (3) years, the CTE teacher will complete requirements for the initial certificate.

A potential CTE teacher can obtain a Transitional A certificate by using one of many Options; these options are designed to provide entry into teaching by using combinations of education (HS diploma or college courses), work experience, and industry-related credentials.


Option A: The applicant possesses an associates or higher degree in the CTE field plus two (2) years of work experience in the CTE field.

Option B: The applicant possesses a high school diploma and four (4) years of work experience in the CTE field.

Option C: The applicant possesses an associate’s degree in the CTE field and two (2) years of teaching experience at the postsecondary level in the CTE field.

Option D: The applicant possesses a full Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS) license in the CTE field and two (2) years of BPSS teaching experience in the CTE field.

Option G: The applicant possesses a high school diploma, two (2) years of work experience in the CTE field, and an industry credential in the CTE field.

Option H: The applicant is enrolled in a CTE program and has either one (1) year of work experience in the CTE field or a passing score on an industry exam in the CTE field.

Option I: The applicant possesses a teaching certificate in grades 7-12 (any subject) and either one (1) year of work experience in the CTE field or an industry related credential.

Option J: The applicant possesses a Bachelor’s degree and either one (1) year of work experience in the CTE field or an industry credential in the CTE field.

Visit the Office of Teaching Initiatives website and click on ‘Search Certification Requirements’ for additional information on the specific requirements for these Options, such as the documentation the state will accept as proof that the requirements have been fulfilled.

Initial CTE Certification

To obtain Initial certification applicants need to complete nine credits of pedagogical coursework and the work/education combinations in one of Options for the Transitional A certificate. The nine (9) credits must include course work in:

  • human development and learning including, but not limited to, the impact of culture, heritage, socioeconomic level, and factors in the home and community that may affect a student’s readiness to learn;
  • teaching students with disabilities and special health-care needs within the general education classroom, including assistive technology; and
  • curriculum and/or instruction, including instructional technology.

Applicants for CTE certificates can apply for the Transitional A certificate and then progress to the initial CTE certificate OR apply directly for the initial CTE certificate based upon their individual work/education backgrounds.

Initial certificates are valid for five (5) years.  During that time, CTE teachers complete the requirements for the Professional certificate. 

Professional CTE Certification

To obtain Professional certification applicants need to have fulfilled the requirements for the initial certificates and complete an additional nine credits of pedagogical coursework in the following:

  • Teaching Literacy Skills Methods
  • Instruction and/or Assessment
  • Classroom Management.

Applicants for the professional certificate must also:

  • Pass the Educating All Students (EAS) certification exam; and
  • Have three (3) years of teaching experience in the CTE field of their certificate.

CTE Certification: Where to Start

Applicants first identify the specific CTE title that matches their educational background, work experience, or both.  Applicants can verify available teaching positions using the OLAS system and/or checking individual school/BOCES websites.

Applicants then choose from one of two starting points, the Transitional A certificate or the Initial Teaching certificate, depending upon what requirements have already been met. To verify the requirements for either certificate, go to Office of Teaching Initiatives and click on ‘Search Certification Requirements’; enter either Transitional A or Initial for the ‘Certificate Type’.  Note that the Transitional A certificate requires that the applicant has already received a job offer as a CTE teacher. 

Once the entry-level certificate type has been identified, applicants can apply on their own directly to the state for a CTE certificate or they can choose to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program that leads to certification in Career & Technical Education.  Those applying on their own can do so at the Office of Teaching Initiatives’ website or through any local BOCES that has a certification officer. 

Individuals interested in the college program path should contact the colleges that offer CTE preparation programs: SUNY Oswego, Buffalo State College, and New York City College of Technology.  Upon completion of these registered bachelor’s or master’s degree programs, the college submits a recommendation for CTE certification directly to the state for program graduates.         

All applications for teacher certification are done using the state’s TEACH system.  Applicants create their own TEACH account with a unique login ID and Password, and apply for certificates on TEACH.  This is true for individuals applying on their own as well as applicants who complete teacher education programs.     

In terms of fulfilling the education course requirements, applicants can choose from a few options including but not limited to: 

  • College courses at regionally accredited colleges or universities.In NYS, applicants can take courses at colleges that offer teacher education programs as well as community colleges that offer education courses that feed into teacher education programs at 4-year institutions.
  • NYSUT Education & Learning Trust: also known as ELT, the Trust partners with NYS colleges and universities to offer undergraduate and graduate courses in education that can be used to fulfill certification requirements.
  • CLEP exams: applicants can earn college credit by successfully completing an exam.For example, the Human Growth & Development CLEP exam can be used to fulfill the competency area of human development and learning, required for the initial certificate.
  • Excelsior College Credit by Exam program: similar to the CLEP process, applicants can earn college credit by successfully completing an exam.Excelsior College does offer a Literacy Instruction exam that can be used to fulfill the literacy competency area required for the professional certificate.
  • SUNY Learning Network: the Learning Network provides access to education courses that are offered online by SUNY colleges and universities.Applicants for CTE certification can search for available courses at this site.
  • NYS Teacher Centers: individual teacher centers often partner with NYS colleges and universities to offer courses for undergraduate or graduate credit.Applicants for CTE certification can contact a local teacher center to determine if the center offers courses that fulfill CTE certification requirements.

New Flexibility for CTE courses at the Middle Level

The Board of Regents has adopted changes to the program of study that is required at the middle school level, specifically changing the requirement for a unit of study (course) in Technology Education and the ¾ unit of study (course) in Family & Consumer Sciences.  The new regulations allow districts to fulfill this 1 and ¾ unit of study using any of the CTE disciplines: technology education, family & consumer sciences, business, health sciences, agriculture, or trade and technical education. 

Middle Level Requirement through June 2017:

All students complete the following by the end of grade 8:

• 1 unit Technology Education – must be taught by a certified Technology Education teacher

• ¾ units Home and Careers Skills Course (Family and Consumer Sciences) – must be taught by a certified FACS teacher

Middle Level CTE Requirements beginning in 2017-18:

All students complete the following by the end of grade 8:

CTE Requirement: 1 and ¾ units of study can be fulfilled through:

  • an ‘Introduction to CTE’ course that is currently being developed by the state and the CTE Technical Assistance Center;
  • course work in any of the 6 CTE content areas (technology education, family & consumer sciences, business, health sciences, agriculture, or trade and technical education)

Flexibility Time Line

2017-18 school year: flexibility to change middle level programming from Technology Education and Home & Career Skills to any CTE discipline programming can only happen if a district has vacancies in Technology Education and Home & Career Skills.

2018-2019 school year: all districts have the flexibility to change the middle level programming from Technology Education and Home & Career Skills to any CTE discipline programming. 

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