New York State Certification
June 22, 2017

Fact Sheet 17-12 Teacher Certification in New York State

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
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Updates and Replaces Fact Sheet 16-12                                                                                                              June 2017

Table of Contents

All teachers employed in the public schools in New York State must hold a valid certificate issued in accordance with Sections 3001 and 3009 of Education Law and Part 80 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.  Section 3001 establishes that no one is authorized to teach in a public school without a teaching certificate, and Section 3009 clearly states that unqualified teachers cannot be paid with district funds.  Part 80 contains certification requirements for classroom teaching, administrative/supervisory and pupil personnel (school) service titles.  The Office of Teaching Initiatives at the State Education Department is responsible for certifying teachers in New York State.

State certification is also required for teachers employed in state-operated and state-supported schools, Special Act school districts, approved private schools for the education of students with disabilities, and approved preschool special education programs.

Only the Office of Teaching Initiatives (OTI) of the State Education Department can make determinations regarding the certification status of individual members.  This document is for information only.


New York State teachers, administrators, and pupil personnel service providers must hold a New York State certificate to be employed in the State’s public schools. The certificates are issued by the Office of Teaching Initiatives and certify that an individual has met required degree, coursework, assessment, and experience requirements. Certificates are issued in a number of titles in three major categories: classroom teaching, administrative and supervisory, and pupil personnel service (i.e. school counselor, psychologist, social worker).

Prior to February 2004, Classroom Teaching and Administrative and Supervisory certificate titles were either provisional (entry level) or permanent (final).  In February 2004, the provisional/permanent certificates were replaced by Initial certificates (entry level) and Professional certificates (final). See  for types of certificates and licenses.

The Pupil Personnel Service certificate titles remain provisional and permanent.

All applicants for certification must be fingerprinted. An individual who has been fingerprinted for certification for public school employment purposes does not need to be fingerprinted again for subsequent certification or employment.  For detailed information on fingerprinting, access the NYS State Education Department Office of School Personnel Review and Accountability (OSPRA) Web site at:

All applications for certification are submitted online using the TEACH Online System, found at


There are multiple pathways to obtaining an initial teaching certificate in New York State – see ‘Preparation Pathways’ at

Initial certificates are valid for five (5) years with the potential for a time extension or a re-issuance of the initial certificate in certain circumstances.  The State Education Department no longer prints Initial certificates; individuals can confirm their certification status by checking their individual TEACH accounts.

Holders of initial teaching certificates are expected to progress to the professional teaching certificate, within the stated five (5) year period, by completing the requirements for professional certification, including:

  • Three years of teaching experience, with one year as a mentored experience,
  • Successful completion of an appropriate master’s degree, and
  • Completion of the 6-hour DASA training workshop (if not completed as a requirement for the initial certificate – see page 6).

Three Years Teaching Experience

Applicants for professional certification can count teaching experience in public and private schools, part-time or full time, per diem and long-term substitute teaching, and in-state or out-of-state teaching.  See SED’s guidance document at  Experience as a teaching assistant does not fulfill this requirement.

Individuals self-report their work experience on the TEACH system and must also have their employing districts submit SED’s Experience Verification form – see

Mentored Teaching Experience

To obtain a professional certificate, an individual employed in a public school district must receive mentoring. Individuals who have had at least two years of teaching prior to service in a public (or private) school under an initial certificate are exempt from this requirement.

Public school employers report the mentored experience for the certificate holders they employee using the TEACH online system.

Successful Completion of a Master's Degree

The professional certification requirement is satisfied, if an individual:

  • Successfully completes a graduate teacher education program from an accredited college in New York State or another jurisdiction that qualifies the individual for a new or additional certificate (in NYS or in another jurisdiction);
  • holds a master’s degree accepted previously to satisfy requirements for a NYS permanent or professional certificate;
  • successfully completes a master's or higher degree program in the content core of the initial certificate or in a related content area; or
  • successfully completes a master's or higher degree program in any field, provided that the individual has completed at least 12 semester hours of graduate study in the content core of the initial certificate or in a related content area.

For more information go to the Professional Certificate - Master's Degree Requirement at:

Time Extensions

Extensions are available to initially certified teachers who are unable to fulfill the requirements for the professional certificate within a five (5) year period.  Visit the State Education Department’s web site at for additional information regarding time extensions and the conditions that allow for them.   Individuals who require an extension must apply for the extension using the TEACH online system. The application should be made within seven (7) months of the expiration date of the certificate.

Reissuance of an Initial Certificate

An expired initial certificate can be reissued for a period of five years if the certificate holder has completed all the requirements for the professional certificate EXCEPT the three years teaching experience requirement. Applicants seeking a reissuance of an Initial certificate will be required to:

  • re-take and pass the applicable NYSTCE content specialty test(s); and/span>
  • successfully complete 75 hours of acceptable professional development or 50 hours of acceptable CTLE hours,

within one (1) year prior to submission of the application or within one year after submission of the application for the reissuance of the initial certificate. 

The initial certificate can only be reissued once and would not be eligible for an additional extension of time. Check the NYSED Web page: for related information.


As of July 1, 2016, all permanently and professionally certified teachers working in a NYS public school or BOCES are required to register with the State Education Department (SED) using the TEACH online system. Each registration cycle is a five (5)-year period.  Permanently certified teachers are required to register every 5years but are not required to complete Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE) hours to maintain their certificates.

Professionally certified teachers are required to complete 100 Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE) hours during each five (5)-year registration cycle.  Individuals whose professional teaching certificates are issued by SED after July 1, 2016 will be automatically registered by SED. For additional information on the registration process and CTLE requirements, please visit NYSUT’s website at

School districts or BOCES are also required to continue their compliance with regulations that govern the development, content, and implementation of professional development plans – Part 100.2(dd) of Commissioner’s Regulations. School districts or BOCES are required to provide CTLE hours so that faculty and staff remain current with their profession, meet the learning needs of their students, and are able to maintain their certificates in good standing based upon successfully completing 100 hours every five (5) years as prescribed in Part 80.6 of Commissioner’s Regulations.

The Professional Development Plan (PDP) as defined in Part 100. 2(dd) of Commissioner’s Regulations requires that each school district and BOCES develop a professional development plan that ensures “…how it will provide teachers it employs holding a professional certificate and/or level III teaching assistant certificate with opportunities to complete 175 hours of professional development or 100 hours of continuing teacher and leader education, as required every five (5) years under Part 80 of this Title”.   

Thus, districts that employ certificate holders who require CTLE hours and who work full-time (90 or more days in a school year) are required to provide opportunities for these certificate holders to accumulate the required 100 CTLE hours necessary to maintain their certificates.



The New York State Education Department developed the TEACH Online Services System, commonly known as TEACH, to process all matters related to certification in New York State.  TEACH provides services for:

  • Individuals, who can apply for certificates, check on the status of certificate application(s), update demographic and employment information, and verify or update registration status;
  • Colleges/Universities that offer teacher and/or leadership preparation programs can submit certification recommendations for their program graduates.
  • School Employers, who can access an employee (or prospective employee’s) certification, fingerprint, and employment history, and obtain application status updates on current or potential employees.
  • The General Public, who can use the TEACH system to obtain information on the certification status of teachers across the state, as well as examination result reports for institutions of higher education that prepare teachers.  TEACH also provides information related to filing a moral character complaint.

All individuals possessing a NYS Teaching Certificate have a TEACH account and should check it annually (at a minimum) for accuracy.  You can access your TEACH account by using this link to self-register and choose a login name and password.


Only the State Education Department’s (SED) Office of Teaching Initiatives can officially interpret certification regulations and make determinations regarding the certification status of individual applicants.



Locked out of, or trouble accessing TEACH, password re-sets, TEACH Technical Support

Phone: 518-486-6041

General questions about teacher/TA certification

Phone: 518-474-3901

Pre-1983 Certificate Information not listed on TEACH

Phone: 518-474-3901

Questions about CTLE from professionals subject to the new requirements

Phone: 518-474-3901

Questions about Registration from professionals subject to the new requirements

Phone: 518-474-3901

Prospective or Approved Providers of CTLE

Phone: 518-474-4661


The New York State Teacher Certification Examination (NYSTCE) program is designed to help ensure that certified teachers have the knowledge and skills to succeed in New York State public schools.  As part of its Race to the Top application, the State Education Department committed to redesigning the examinations required for teacher certification.

Initial Teacher Certification Examinations - Exams for Initial Certificate Applications after May 1, 2014:

The Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA):
The edTPA is a portfolio-based assessment for pre-service teacher candidates, i.e., those individuals seeking their first New York State teaching certificate. Individuals taking the edTPA will be required to complete a 20-minute video segment of themselves teaching K-12 students.

Educating All Students (EAS):
This examination is designed to assess if an individual possesses the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to teach all students effectively in New York state public schools. The EAS will test knowledge of how to use research-validated instructional strategies, knowledge of legal, ethical, and professional responsibilities in educational settings, and the importance of parent/guardian involvement in a child’s education.

Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST):
This examination has been removed as a requirement for initial certification

Revised Content Specialty Tests (CST):
The revised examinations will focus on knowledge of the NYS Learning Standards associated with the candidate's subject specific teaching certification area, as well as the P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics. Visit for the scheduled availability of the revised examinations.


Due to concerns regarding the implementation of the new exams and design concerns with the exams themselves, SED created safety nets for the new exams. These safety nets have been implemented for specific exams and for specific time periods. For current information on what safety net is available for specific certification examinations, and when the safety nets are due to expire, visit SED’s at

Members may take advantage of multiple safety nets in order to meet the requirements for certification. If a member has met all requirements for certification by the applicable deadline, except the use of one or more the safety nets, and the certificate has not been issued, members can contact SED at The e-mail should include the member’s first and last name, date of birth, the last four digits of the social security number and a clear statement of the specific safety net the member wants applied.


Certified Teachers Seeking Additional Teaching Certificates

Certified teachers who seek an additional certificate(s) should review the requirements for the certificate sought at the NYSED Office of Teaching Initiatives web site at

After entering the specific certificate title of interest, review the requirements under “Pathway: Individual Evaluation for Additional Classroom Teaching CertificateThis Pathway indicates the minimal qualifications required by NYSED to obtain an additional certificate in a specific certification title 

If the review of your application by the Office of Teaching identifies unmet requirements, please visit NYSED’s FAQ section, ‘Coursework to Satisfy Unmet Requirements’ page at

Certified teachers who apply for additional certificates on or after May 1, 2014 may be required to pass the revised Content Specialty Test (if available) associated with the teacher/leadership certificate sought.  Please visit SED’s website for when specific subject area CSTs are scheduled to be implemented.

Certified teachers and teaching assistants who apply for an administrative or supervisory service, classroom teaching service or school service certificate or license on or after January 1, 2014, must complete six clock hours of course work or training in Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Prevention and Intervention as per the Dignity for All Students Act.  Approved providers can be found at Individuals can also check with local BOCES, colleges/universities that offer teacher education programs, and teacher centers for this training.

Supplementary Certificates

The supplementary teaching allows currently certified teachers to obtain an additional teaching certificate in certain situations where there is a demonstrated need by completing some of the requirements for the additional certificate up front, and then completing remaining requirements over a five year period.  See NYSUT Fact Sheet No. 17-10.

Incidental Teaching

A superintendent of schools may assign a certified teacher to teach a subject not covered by the teacher's license or certificate, for a period not to exceed five classroom hours per week, when no certified teacher is available. The regulations require that the district first seek a certified teacher, file an application, and receive approval of the Commissioner.  Requests for incidental teaching approvals are submitted directly to the local BOCES District Superintendent as an agent of the Commissioner.  Incidental teaching in New York City is approved by the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education.  Special education programs and services may not be taught on an incidental basis.

Interstate Applicants

Applicants who hold a certificate from another state and have been employed for at least three (3) years in another state or who have completed a comparable teacher education program in another state may be eligible for a NYS certificate through the interstate application process.


Under Part 83 Regulations the Commissioner of Education may institute proceedings to remove a teacher’s certificate for cause under the good moral character requirement.  A due process hearing is required.  Certification may be revoked for conviction of a serious crime, or if the teacher has committed an act which raises a reasonable question as to the teacher’s moral character.

Substitute Teachers

Commissioner’s Regulations define a substitute teacher as “one who is employed in place of a regularly appointed teacher who is absent but is expected to return.”  Persons serving on a long-term basis must have proper certification for the position.  There are three categories of substitutes:

  1. Substitutes with valid teaching certificates. Service may be rendered in any capacity for any number of days.  If employed on more than an “itinerant basis” such persons will be employed in an area for which they are certified.

  2. Substitutes without a valid certificate, but who are completing collegiate study towards certification at the rate of not less than six semester hours per year. Services may be rendered in any capacity for any number of days, in any number of school districts.  If employed on more than an “itinerant basis,” such persons will be employed in an area for which they are seeking certification.

  3. Substitutes without a valid certificate and who are not working toward certification. Service may be rendered in New York State public schools for no more than 40 days in a given school district in a school year. If a district superintendent or a superintendent certifies that the district or BOCES has conducted a good faith recruitment search and there are no available certified teachers that can perform the duties of such position, these individuals can be employed up to 90 days.  In rare circumstances, a district or BOCES may hire a substitute teacher beyond the 90 days, if a district superintendent or superintendent attests that a good faith recruitment search has been conducted and that there are still no available certified teachers who can perform the duties of such position and that a particular substitute teacher is needed to work with a specific class or group of students until the end of the school year.   See Part 80-5 regulations for additional information.

General Items to Consider Regarding Certification

  • Individual teachers are expected to know their own certification requirements.For example, holders of initial certificates are expected to know the requirements for the professional certificate and when to apply for it.
  • Individual NYSUT members experiencing certification problems are urged to keep their local union leadership informed of these issues as they could impact their employment.   Failure to maintain certification is grounds for dismissal.
  • Local leaders contacted by members with certification issues are urged to notify their NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist (LRS).
  • Professional certificate holders should know how their district will track CTLE hours as well as how to access a record of their personal CTLE hours.
  • Permanent and professional certificate holders will be required to update their registration status every 5 years.
  • All certified teachers are encouraged to maintain a personal certification file.This file could include copies of certificates, transcripts, correspondence with SED concerning certification, CTLE hours, etc.
  • When applying for NYS teaching certificates, applicants should allow 3-4 months for application processing by the NYS Education Department.
  • A limited number of regional certification offices are operated by Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and are available to the public for certification assistance.  Their certification specialists can advise on requirements for certification, evaluate credentials for many (but not all) certificate titles/pathways, and offer expedited processing of applications via the district superintendent’s request.




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