New York Teaching Certification

Interested in pursuing a career teaching in New York? Consider earning your teaching degree online. Many schools in and out of New York state offer the chance for students to complete most of their teaching coursework online, with some in-person student teaching requirements.
Earning your teaching degree online offers many benefits: flexibility, affordability, and freedom. Distance learners can complete course lectures and assignments at their convenience. This way, they can continue working full-time jobs, caring for family members, and attending to other responsibilities. Furthermore, since geographic location is not a concern, students who complete online degrees may select from a large number of schools and find the program that most closely aligns with their academic interests and career goals.

Each state has its own requirements for what prospective teachers need to do to earn a teaching license. This means students need to familiarize themselves thoroughly with the criteria needed to receive teaching certification in New York. For example, New York state requires teachers hold a bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t matter which state the degree is from — as long as it is from a regionally accredited college or university. Additionally, prospective teachers need to complete an approved teacher preparation program. Finally, two other New York teaching license requirements include passing New York State Teacher Certification Examinations and submitting to a criminal background check.

In any state, you need a teaching license to work as a teacher. But interestingly, in the U.S., there is not one general process to follow in order to receive this license. Because education in the U.S. is managed by state and local authorities (rather than federal), each state creates its own regulations as to who can become a teacher and how. While most states have similar criteria that applicants must meet to work as teachers, specific requirements vary. This is one reason it’s important to determine the licensing requirements for the state in which you plan to teach before selecting your program.

Moreover, if you earn a teaching license in one state, it will not be valid in another. However, in some cases, you may be able to use your teaching license from one state to apply for your teaching license in another. New York state outlines its reciprocity agreements for teaching licenses from other states. To become a teacher in New York, applicants need at least a bachelor’s degree, a teaching license, and must have completed an approved teacher preparation program.

New York State Teaching Certification Requirements

Getting a teaching license is the most important step in becoming a teacher in New York state. There are a number of paths individuals can follow to meet New York state teaching certification requirements. But generally speaking, prospective teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher preparation program, receive a passing grade on required exams, and pass a background check. Depending on what subject and grade level you plan to teach, you may need to meet additional specific criteria. Check out the New York City Department of Education for more information about teaching certification requirements.

  • Provide proof you hold a bachelor’s degree

    To receive a teaching certificate in New York, public teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The degree can be in any subject; it does not have to be in teaching or education.

  • Complete approved teacher-preparation program

    New York also requires that prospective teachers complete an approved teacher preparation program. The state maintains a database of approved programs within New York. Individuals who complete teacher prep programs in other states may be eligible to get their certificate without completing an additional program in New York, as long as it is found to be comparable to New York’s approved programs. Many bachelor’s and master’s programs in education include these types of programs as part of their curricula.

  • Receive a passing grade on required exams

    To become a certified teacher with your first initial teaching certificate in New York, you must receive a passing grade on two New York State Teacher Certification Exams: Educating All Students (EAS) and edTPA. Prospective teachers also must receive a passing grade on content specialty test(s) in their certification area. For example, applicants seeking a certificate to teach English must take an English test, and those who want to teach math must take a math test. Individuals who plan to specialize in speech-language pathology must take the Praxis subject assessment in the area of speech-language pathology.

  • Pass background clearance by New York

    Prospective teachers who would like to work in New York schools must first pass a criminal history background check to ensure they do not pose a threat to student safety. The New York State Education Department fingerprints all prospective teachers and other school employees as part of the criminal background check process. Applicants must pay a $99 fingerprinting fee for this service. Individuals with no criminal background are generally cleared within 24 hours of submitting their fingerprints.

  • Take required workshops

    All prospective New York teachers must take the Dignity for All Students Act Workshop. Depending on what type of teaching certificate you want, as well as your previous education and experience, you may need to take additional workshops.

  • Submit application for teaching certification

    You will need to submit an application packet in order to get your teaching certification in New York state. You can complete this process easily through the TEACH System website. After submitting the online application, send in your supporting documentation including official transcripts, exam scores, copies of teaching certificates from other states, documentation of experience, and documentation of paid teaching experience. All supporting documents must include your current name, date of birth, and last four digits of your social security number.

  • Payment of all fees

    You will also need to pay your teacher certification fees. Again, you pay a $99 fingerprinting fee at the time you undergo the criminal background check. You will also pay a licensing fee when you submit your application. The cost of the fee is $50 for applicants who qualify for certification by completing a New York State approved program or $100 for applicants who qualify using any other pathway.

Student Teaching in New York

It is standard practice for prospective teachers to go through a hands-on student teaching experience. Students enrolled in teaching programs practice teaching in real schools. This often includes writing lesson plans, managing classrooms, and delivering instruction. Student teachers work alongside experienced, licensed teachers who provide feedback and mentorship. Most teaching programs have partnerships with schools that allow student teaching and will help students locate placements. Some programs require students to arrange their own student teaching placements.

Student teachers can prepare for their student teaching experience by thinking about what their teaching philosophy and style will look like. They may also want to get early exposure to the classroom by volunteering and/or completing classroom observations. Talk to professors and academic advisers about how to find a placement that will most closely align with your professional interests.

Student teaching usually happens while you are enrolled in your teaching program. When you are enrolled in an online program, you still complete student teaching hours, most likely in your local community. It makes sense to complete your student teaching experience in a school system where you might want to work after graduation. One of the benefits of student teaching is that once you have your teaching degree, you will often receive hiring benefits in the system you completed your student teaching hours.

New York does not require prospective teachers to complete a certain number of student teaching hours in order to receive their teaching certificate. Instead, student teaching is built into New York state teaching certification requirements. Students must complete at least 40 days of student teaching in order to finish an approved teacher preparation program in New York. This can happen in either one single 40-day placement or two 20-day placements. Teacher-prep programs in other states may have different student teaching requirements.

The career outlook and compensation levels for teachers in New York is excellent. The city and state where prospective teachers choose to work have a substantial impact on the amount of money they may earn, as teaching salaries vary greatly by geographic location. Teachers in the state of New York make significantly more money each year than the average U.S. teacher. That said, when looking at salaries, one must also keep in mind regional costs of living.

A second factor to consider when obtaining your teaching license is the grade level(s) in which you will be certified to teach. The pay scale for teachers closely corresponds with grade level. In New York state, secondary teachers make the highest annual mean salary at $81,410. Middle school and elementary school teachers earn close to that made by secondary teachers. Kindergarten teachers make about $9,000 less annually than secondary teachers, but preschool teachers make a drastically lower salary at only $41,900 each year.

Employment and Annual Wage for Teachers in New York by Teaching Level
Occupation Employment Annual Mean Wage
Preschool Teachers 40,010 $41,900
Kindergarten Teachers 7,400 $72,510
Elementary School Teachers 79,570 $77,330
Middle School Teachers 40,350 $78,060
Secondary Teachers 65,880 $81,410

Excludes Special Education Teachers, May 2016

Education students will find different scholarships to help support their studies, including those specific to teachers, prospective teachers, and teaching students in New York state. Here is a sampling of the kinds of scholarships available to those who want to pursue teaching in New York.

TEACH NYC

Who Can Apply: The New York City Department of Education offers scholarships to support uncertified graduate students who are pursuing master’s degrees that will address critical shortage areas in NYC schools. These areas include bilingual special education, speech language pathology, and bilingual school psychology. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA. If you want to pursue a master’s in teaching, NYC might be a good place to find a program so that you can take advantage of this scholarship.

Amount: Entire cost of graduate tuition up to a master’s degree

View Scholarship

Early Career Fellowship

Who Can Apply: This four-year fellowship program is designed for mathematics and science teachers who work at public schools in New York City.

Amount: $48,000 over four years

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NYS Math and Science Teaching Incentive Scholarship

Who Can Apply: New York State offers this program to incentivize students to pursue careers teaching math and science in grades 7-12. Students in their first year of college at a school in New York with a minimum 2.5 GPA can apply. In exchange for the award, students must work five years as a math or science teacher in New York.

Amount: Entire cost of tuition

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Master Teacher Fellowship

Who Can Apply: Math and science teachers working at New York City public schools can apply for this four-year fellowship.

Amount: $60,000 over four years

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Albert Shanker Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students from New York City public schools who qualify for Pell grants can apply for this scholarship from the United Federation of Teachers. The UFT especially encourages students who are interested in teaching.

Amount: $5,000 to $6,000

View Scholarship

The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students who want to pursue teaching in a STEM field can apply for this scholarship sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of the Sciences. Recipients must agree to teach for two to five years depending on scholarship amount they receive.

Amount: Full tuition and a stipend

View Scholarship

  • NYSTCE: The New York State Teacher Certifications Examinations website helps prospective teachers figure out which exams they should take in order to earn their New York state teaching certificate. Prospective teachers will find a list of all the tests for teachers in New York as well as prep materials like study guides and practice tests. They can also register for tests and see their scores on the NYSTCE website.
  • New York Department of Education: The largest school district in the U.S., New York’s Department of Education serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools. On this site, potential teachers and teaching students will find information about working in New York City schools: AmeriCorps opportunities, instructions for pursuing NYC teaching certification, professional development opportunities. The NYDOE also provides access to a job board with full- and part-time teaching opportunities in New York City.
  • New York State Education Department: The New York State Education Department provides leadership for the state education system (including the University of the State of New York). Here, prospective teachers and teaching students can access information about certification and licensing, education specialty areas available for teachers in New York, standards and curriculum, and public data and reports related to education in the state. NYSED also provides information about various state-level teaching initiatives.
  • CUNY: The City University of New York helps disadvantaged New Yorkers pursue upward mobility through education. CUNY offers dozens of academic programs at 25 campuses located throughout the five boroughs. Of interest to potential teachers and students enrolled in teaching programs will be the website’s resources devoted to curriculum and pedagogy for English as a Second Language students and adult learners. CUNY also offers resources for individuals seeking teaching jobs, particularly in the field of literacy.
  • New York Public Library: The New York Public Library system provides free access to New Yorkers at its 92 libraries throughout the city. NYPL offers a variety of resources to teachers, including educator library cards that allow teachers to check out books for classroom use and to order books and other materials that will be delivered directly to their schools. Teachers and teaching students will also find a teacher’s blog and other teaching resources on NYPL’s website.

Networking Opportunities in New York

The thought of professional networking overwhelms many students and early career teachers. But it is an essential tool for making connections that might lead to internship and job opportunities. Networking can also be a good way to meet colleagues, make friends, and become a part of New York’s education community. By networking, teachers and teaching students can also keep up with recent developments in education policy, teaching tools and techniques, and professional development opportunities.


New York Teachers Meet Up

This Meet Up group is open to all teachers and aspiring teachers in New York. It is organized by CottageClass, a childhood education community marketplace dedicated to empowering teachers and helping students get the education they deserve. The group meets the first Friday of every month at 7 p.m.

NYC Men Teach Third Thursday Mixer

NYC Men Teach is an initiative to address inequity in New York classrooms by recruiting and retaining men of color to work as teachers in New York schools. Every third Thursday of the month, NYC Men Teach hosts a professional networking mixer. Some events focus on specific topics such as culturally responsive school environments.


Stay Informed

The Organized Classroom
The Organized Classroom blog helps teachers be more effective by offering advice about how to create and maintain an organized classroom. Recent posts cover topics like storing teacher supplies, organizing lesson plans, and classroom DIYs. Potential teachers will find a variety of free resources and printables to help them stay organized.
@WadeKing7
This Twitter account is run by Wade King, a teacher and the director of curriculum and instruction at The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. He tweets about curriculum development ideas and interesting events happening at his home school. His followers will learn about current issues in curriculum development and get a look at one teacher’s daily life.
Teach Junkie
The Teach Junkie’s blog finds the best teaching blogs on the internet and shares them with readers. Teachers can search past blog posts through different categories. Teach Junkie also offers original content of use to classroom teachers, including lesson templates and activity ideas.
@escott818
A fifth-grade teacher, Scott Jones shares tips on his Twitter account to encourage elementary kids to learn to love reading. He is a co-founder of March Book Madness, an online reading tournament, and tweets about all things reading.
@teachermantrav
Travis Crowder’s Twitter account explores ideas for empowering students through reading and writing. Crowder is an English teacher and published author. Teachers and teaching students will find inspiration for lesson plans and teaching methods to try in their own classrooms. This account will be of particular interest to anyone who wants to teach reading or writing.