FOR CAREER CHANGERS: Alternative Paths to Becoming a Teacher

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Earning a bachelor’s degree in teacher education is the traditional route to the classroom in New York State, but it’s not the only route.

Transitional teaching certificates and internship teaching certificates provide candidates who already have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in a non-education field an alternate route to the classroom — one that allows them to earn a teaching salary while completing their graduate coursework.

Transitional certificates are available only through select NYS-approved graduate teacher education programs. Contacts for institutions offering Transitional B preparation programs can be found on the NYS Education page. Internship teaching certificates are available through all NYS-approved graduate teacher education programs.

Students must be recommended by their graduate teacher education program for an internship teaching certificate; transitional teaching certificates are available to all.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do transitional certificates have different credit requirements?

Yes. Transitional certificates generally allow matriculated graduate students in registered teacher education programs to start teaching, and receiving a teaching salary, after earning 12 credits.

Internship teaching certificates allow matriculated graduate students in registered teacher education programs to start teaching, and receiving a teaching salary, after completing roughly half their graduate program, typically about 18-21 credits.

How long do they take to finish?

Internship teaching certificates are valid for two years, are non-renewable and participants must fully complete their graduate teacher education programs during those two years. Since they don’t provide the mandated three years of teaching experience, internship teaching certificates qualify holders for an initial teaching certificate, which is valid for five years.

Under a transitional teaching certificate, participants must complete their graduate teacher education program within three-years and qualify for an initial certificate.

Besides a degree, are there other requirements?

Program requirements for transitional teaching certificates vary according to each college or university, but generally require a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and, for those preparing to teach at the secondary level, a major in the subject they plan to teach.

Participants must also take two NYS teacher exams before qualifying for the certification, the Content Specialty Test (CST) and the Educating All Students (EAS) exam.

Both internship teaching certificates and transitional teaching certificates require that participants have an employment offer, and supervisory support, from their school district placement.

For more information about internship teaching certificates, visit

Are teacher certification exams still required?

Yes, those holding transitional and internship teaching certificates are still required to pass three main New York State Teacher Certification Exams:

  • the Educating All Students (EAS) exam;
  • the Content Specialty Test(s) in area of certification.

Other exams may also be required depending on the type of teaching certificate.

More information on each of these tests can be found on the New York State Teachers Certification Exams website.

Are there any NYC-based alternatives?

The New York City Teaching Fellows Program is a subsidized master’s degree fellowship targeted at increasing the number of highly trained teachers in the NYC public school system. For information,

Ongoing Professional Development

Maintaining a professional teaching certificate requires a lifetime of learning — educators must log 100 hours of professional learning every five years.

NYSUT’s Education and Learning Trust offers a variety of courses to keep your certification up to date on your own time.

Learn more at