Becoming a K-12 Teacher in New York: Requirements and Pathways

Obtaining a K-12 Teaching Certificate in New York

Educators must pass required New York state teaching exams. This includes a content specialty test for the subject or grades they plan to teach.

College graduates typically complete a state-approved graduate program that leads to initial certification. Alternative programs are designed for career change candidates and include an introductory component and student teaching experience.

What is a k-12 teaching certificate?

A k-12 teaching certificate is the credential that authorizes you to teach in a specific subject area and grade level. Different subjects and grades require different types of certification, so it’s important to check the NYSED website for details.

For example, a k-12 teaching certificate for elementary education requires completing an approved teacher preparation program and passing the Educating All Students (EAS) exam, while a k-12 teaching certificate for physical education requires passing the NYSTCE Physical Education CST and edTPA exams. The NYSED website has search tools to help you determine the requirements for a particular subject area and grade level.

Out-of-state teachers may qualify for an Initial or Professional certificate depending on their educational pathway and other factors. A limited number of regional certification offices, operated by the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, can provide individual evaluations of out-of-state teacher credentials and advise on certification requirements. All certificate holders must register with the NYSED through the online TEACH system in five-year cycles.

What are the requirements for a k-12 teaching certificate?

Generally, prospective teachers need a bachelor’s degree. The specific requirements vary by state, though. Many teaching programs incorporate a practicum component, which allows students to observe seasoned educators in the classroom and learn from them. Some states also require aspiring teachers to take subject tests that measure their knowledge of the curriculum, and some even have their own state-specific exams.

Once a teacher completes the required coursework and pass all tests, they are awarded an initial certificate by New York State Education Department (NYSED). This is a starter credential that lasts for five years. During that time, teachers can apply to advance to a professional certificate by submitting their educational recommendation, proof of mentorship, employment experience, exam scores and fingerprint clearance via the TEACH account.

How do I get a k-12 teaching certificate?

There are many paths to becoming a teacher in New York State, and requirements vary by grade level, subject area, educational setting and more. Generally, prospective teachers complete a bachelor’s degree in education or the subject they intend to teach, undergo student teaching and pass state-mandated exams.

Whether you choose a traditional pathway or opt to pursue certification based on out-of-state credentials, the first step is to apply for an Initial Certificate. You will need to submit official transcripts, proof of student teaching (if it does not appear on your transcript) and copies of any relevant test scores.

You must also complete a background check, and most schools require fingerprinting. Depending on your chosen pathway, you may be required to take additional training courses such as child abuse identification/reporting or sexual harassment prevention and intervention. Upon completion of these courses, you will be able to begin your career in the classroom. New York state teaching certificates are valid for five years.

How do I become a k-12 teacher?

To become a teacher, you must first earn your bachelor’s degree. Most prospective teachers choose a degree in education or the subject they plan to teach. Many of these programs also offer a practicum, which allows you to observe experienced teachers and interact with students in real classroom settings.

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you can apply to New York’s teaching certification program. The NYSED offers multiple pathways to certification, depending on your previous experience and how quickly you want to move into teaching. Once you receive your initial certificate, you must complete two years of classroom teaching.

If you graduate from an out-of-state teacher preparation program, your credentials will be evaluated on an individual basis. You can find information on these evaluations at the NYSED website. You must pass the edTPA exam and take content specialty tests for each certification area. Upon approval, your teaching credential will be posted to your TEACH account.

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