Initial to Professional Certification


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: