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Teaching License Updated August 12, 2014

New York Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in New York

By Room 241 Team August 12, 2014

Qualifying for teaching certification in New York State is a challenging task. If you’re an aspiring New York teacher, you should ensure that you meet all the standards set by the State Department of Education. The Office of Teaching Initiatives issues certification for all qualified applicants.

Requirements for certified teachers in New York

If you want to become a New York-certified teacher, you must complete the appropriate coursework and gain teaching experience through an approved teacher preparation program.

The most common route is to earn a bachelor’s degree in education. You must then pass the New York Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST), Content Specialty Tests (CST), and the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W) to qualify for certification.

College graduates can also enroll in a program from an accredited institution and complete the K-12 internship program to become a certified teacher. Additionally, you must pass the LAST, ATS-W and CST.  If you hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-education field, you may complete semester hour requirements for teacher preparation. You must also complete the specific liberal arts and sciences, general core, pedagogical, and content core competencies for the subject areas where you seek certification.

New York teaching certification can also be given to candidates who already hold National Board Certification. You should apply to the Office of Teaching Initiatives for a certificate that is equivalent to your existing certification. Certified teachers from other states are also welcome in New York, provided that they pass the LAST, ATS-W, and the CTS. Alternatively, you can obtain a conditional certificate, which gives you two years to complete all the required tests. Completing all this allows you to become a New York-certified teacher.

There are also additional certificates for individuals who already have teaching certification in New York. However, these applicants must complete the 30 semester hour content core. There are also some certificates that require additional pedagogy training. Most importantly, you must pass the appropriate CST to be eligible for certification. Renewals for these certifications vary depending on the type of certificate you have.

New York jobs for licensed teachers

There are different types of certificates and licenses that you can obtain in order to teach in New York.

  1. Initial Certificate: The initial certificate is the entry-level teaching certification in New York for classroom teachers. It is valid for five years and may lead to a professional certificate.
  2. Professional Certificate: Professional certificates are issued as an advanced-level teaching certification. Their validity is continuous. You must complete the required professional development hours every five years.
  3. Conditional Initial: Issued to out-of-state teachers who have not yet completed the NYS testing requirement. The certificate is valid for two years, during which you must meet the testing requirements to qualify for an Initial Certificate.

The NYSED created the Teachers for Tomorrow Program to address problems with teacher shortages. It targets the city school districts in New York City, Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Yonkers. The program aims to hire thousands of teachers to work in these areas to replace retiring educators. The program also offers incentives in order to increase teacher recruitment and retention. All in all, this means there are a lot of jobs waiting for aspiring teachers in the state.

Additionally, if you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for New York for the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Bilingual Education (General and Special Education)
  • Business and Marketing Education
  • Career and Technical Education
    • Health Occupations Education
    • Technical Education
    • Technology Education (Grades 7 – 12)
    • Trade Education (Grades 7 – 12)
  • Computer Studies/Programming
  • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • General Cooperative Work Experience Extension

A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Teaching license reciprocity in New York

If you have obtained teaching certification from another state, you must send a copy of the certificate with your supporting documentation when you apply for your New York state teaching certificate. This can be done by applying for certification with the NYSED Office of Teaching Initiatives. You also have to pass the LAST, ATS-W and CST. More information about the license reciprocity is available at Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.

Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.

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