New York State Certification, Professional Development
September 25, 2020

Fact Sheet 20-18: Middle Level Flexibility and CTE Certification

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
Share This Article...

Table of Contents

Middle Level Flexibility: FACS, Tech Ed, and CTE

As of the 2018-2019 school year all districts have flexibility in terms of fulfilling the middle level program requirements of a unit of study in Technology Education and the ¾ unit of study in Family & Consumer Sciences. Districts have the option of continuing to fulfill this 1 and ¾ unit of study with FACS and Tech Ed or they can fulfill this requirement by using any of the CTE content areas: technology education, family & consumer sciences, business, health sciences, agriculture, or trade and technical education.

Items 1-6 below are from SED’s Middle Level Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the current career and technical education requirement for middle school students?
In 2017, section 100.4(c) of Commissioner’s Regulations was amended to allow greater flexibility in how districts deliver courses satisfying the middle level requirement. The changes provide districts the option to offer students introductory CTE experiences in any of the six CTE content areas. Consequently, appropriately certified teachers from any of those content areas can be deployed to deliver introductory CTE in their area of certification. Districts also may also continue to offer middle level experiences using only family and consumer sciences (FACS) and technology education content and instructors.

2. What teachers can teach the middle level requirement?
Any teacher who is defined as a career and technical education teacher in section 100.1(l) of commissioner’s regulations may teach the middle level requirement. These are agriculture, business, family and consumer sciences, health sciences, technology, and trade/technical teachers.

3. Can a CTE teacher teach content outside of their CTE area?
No. CTE teachers may only teach the middle level content that aligns with the subject area of their teacher certification(s). The six overarching themes apply to all subject areas. Additional support for instructors is found in content modules developed by teams of teachers in each of the six CTE areas. These content modules provide specifics about how the CTE themes can be taught in each CTE content area.

4. What is the middle level CTE curriculum?
New York has provided a curricular guidance framework to assist school districts in developing local curricula for middle-level CTE. Six middle level theme modules, which can be integrated into the study of any CTE content area, can help districts make decisions when personalizing middle-level CTE instruction in their settings. The six theme modules are:

  1. Career and Community Opportunities
  2. Communication and Interpersonal Relationships
  3. Financial and Consumer Literacy
  4. Health, Safety, and Wellness
  5. Problem Solving and Innovation
  6. Sustainability

The middle level curriculum is both the Theme Modules above and the CTE Content Modules for each CTE content area: Agriculture, Business and Marketing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Health Science, Technology Education, and Trade & Technical Education.

“CTE teachers will use the Content modules aligned with their certification areas to develop meaningful learning experiences that help their students attain the Theme module standards.” SED memo on CTE certification, October 2019:

5. What are the ‘Middle-level Content Modules’?
The Content modules provide the context to engage students in the themes. These standards-based modules from each CTE content area (Agriculture, Business and Marketing, Family and Consumer Sciences, Health Science, Technology Education, and Trade & Technical Education) connect middle to high school learner levels. Content modules are designed for instruction by teachers certified for that content.

6. What are the considerations that should be taken into account when planning a middle school CTE program to meet the requirement?
Things that may be considered include, but are not limited to:

  1. Ways to expand the range of career areas for students to explore
  2. Available instructional staff and facilities/infrastructure
  3. School/community priorities and student interests
  4. Continuity of middle level CTE offerings with high school CTE offerings.


The 1 and ¾ unit of study requirement for middle level career and technical education may begin in grade 5, provided that it is taught by teachers appropriately certified in career and technical education.

Districts may continue to offer middle level experiences using only family and consumer sciences (FACS) and technology education content and instructors.

The flexibility does not equate to “Any CTE teacher can teach FACS or Technology Education”. For example, a Family and Consumer Sciences certified teacher cannot teach technology education; a business certified teacher cannot teach agriculture; a technology education certified teacher cannot teach health science.

Example of appropriate use of flexibility: a teacher with an Animal Science CTE certificate can provide the 1.75 units of study required at the middle level IF the district is addressing the required CTE themes within the Agricultural Content module (


CTE Certification

In May 2017, the Board of Regents adopted regulations that amended the requirements necessary to obtain Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate titles. The state used the nationally recognized Career Clusters structure (attachment A) as a framework for CTE certification and streamlined the requirements for 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.

Transitional A Certificates:

Transitional certificates are designed to help transition professionals in CTE fields into teaching as 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 have met some. This certificate is valid for three 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 healthcare 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.
  • OPEN SUNY: Open SUNY 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.



NYSUT Footer
Our Voice, Our Values, Our Union