How to Become a Teacher in New York

Want to become a teacher in New York? Learn about New York State teacher certification requirements and state salary data.
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New York is home to over 4,400 public schools and nearly 214,000 public school teachers. And if you want to make a difference in the classroom, consider becoming a teacher in New York.

You'll need to meet New York State teacher certification requirements by getting the right degree and earning teaching experience. You'll also need to pass several tests. In addition to being a rewarding job, New York teachers benefit from strong demand and high salaries in comparison with other states.

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How Do You Become a Teacher in New York?

Want to become a teacher in NY? Here are the steps you'll need to take to qualify for teacher certification and land your first teaching job.

1. Earn Your Bachelor's Degree

You'll need a bachelor's degree to become a teacher in New York. Whether you plan to pursue certification or work in private schools that do not require certification, teachers generally need a bachelor's degree in education or their subject area.

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) offers a certification requirement search tool for you to determine what degree you'll need based on the grade level and subject area you plan to teach.

2. Gain Student Teaching Experience

Obtaining teaching certification in New York requires 100 hours of teaching experience, including 15 hours teaching students with disabilities. You must complete a full-semester practicum in a classroom setting. You may satisfy this requirement over 14 weeks or split it into two seven-week terms.

You must gain teaching experience in your desired teaching subject and grade level. NYSED's approved teacher preparation programs are guaranteed to meet practicum requirements and provide you the student-teaching experience necessary for teaching certification in New York.

3. Take Required Certification Tests

In New York, you must pass several general and subject-specific tests to get your certification. Testing requirements include:

  • edTPA: This test assesses elementary or secondary teaching skills, including curriculum development, classroom instruction, and student evaluation methods. You must record your work in the classroom and actively self-reflect on your performance.
  • Educating All Students (EAS): This exam tests a teacher's ability to teach students with disabilities, non-native English speakers, and diverse student populations.
  • Content Specialty Tests: You must choose a content specialty test according to your desired teaching subject(s). A separate test is required for each subject. Students seeking generalist certification can take the multi-subject test for early childhood, elementary, middle, or secondary education.

4. Apply for Certification

After meeting the education, experience, and testing requirements, you can apply for your New York teacher certification.

You'll need to log in to your NY.gov TEACH account to complete the application process. If you completed an approved educator preparation program at a New York college, you'll enter the program code. The online application also lets you enter information about the type of certificate, including your subject area and grade level.

Finally, you'll pay a $100 application fee and submit your application. As of May 2024, NYSED estimates a 16-week processing time for new applications.

5. Maintain Teaching Certification

New York encourages teachers to earn their master's degree within the first five years of certification. Your initial teacher certification will remain valid for five years. When it expires, you can apply for reissuance or apply for a professional certificate.

You'll need three years of teaching experience and a master's degree to qualify for a professional certificate. Otherwise, you can apply to reissue your initial certificate two times.

How Much Will You Make as a Teacher in New York?

There's good news for teachers in New York — the Empire State reports higher teacher salaries than the national average. K-12 teachers can expect an average salary over $90,000.

New York's governor Kathy Hochul notes that the state will need to hire 180,000 new teachers in the next decade to meet demand. That translates into a positive job outlook for New York teachers.

Average Salaries for New York Teachers
Job Title Average Salary
High School Teacher $96,400
Middle School Teacher $95,170
Elementary School Teacher $94,600
Kindergarten Teacher $91,300
K-12 Special Education Teacher $92,890-$94,460
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023

Frequently Asked Questions About Teacher Certification in New York

Can I teach in New York without certification?

Yes, but in an extremely limited capacity and only through private or some charter schools. Obtaining teaching certification in New York qualifies you for lucrative careers with longevity in the public school system.

The time it takes to become a teacher in New York depends on your qualifications and experience. You can technically obtain initial certification and begin working after completing a four-year bachelor's degree program with student-teaching experience.

In the first five-year certification renewal period after initial licensure, you must earn a master's degree and complete three years of full-time teaching and one year of mentored teaching to earn a professional certificate.

Yes, New York teachers are in demand. According to Governor Kathy Hochul, New York will need to hire 180,000 teachers from 2022-2032 to keep up with demand. That makes New York a great place to become a teacher.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed May 13, 2024.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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