Obtaining Certification in New York State

Click here for information about NYS Education Department teaching certification requirements.

(Excerpted with permission from the Office of Teaching Initiatives web site at www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert)

New York State teachers, administrators, teaching assistants, and pupil personnel professionals are required to hold a New York State certificate to be employed in the State's public schools. The certificates are issued by the Office of Teaching Initiatives, and certify that an individual has met academic degree, course work, assessment, and experience requirements. Certificates are issued in titles relating to:

  • classroom teaching,
  • administrative and supervisory,
  • teaching assistant, and
  • student support service (e.g., school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker).

There are a number of routes or Preparation Pathways, depending upon your background and preferences. Once you have chosen the appropriate pathway, you must complete the requirements for the certificate you choose and submit an application, supporting documents, and fee to the New York State Education Department.

Decide which certificate to apply for:

You must select the appropriate certificate by category, title, and type.

Area of Interest: Certificates are divided into major groups, or categories. Examples are Administration and Pupil Personnel Services, Classroom Teacher, and Career and Technical Teacher. For a complete list, go to Certificate Area of Interest.

Title: The certificate title denotes the subject and grade level that you are authorized to teach. Examples include Early Childhood Education (Birth-Grade 2), Biology (Grade 7-12), and School District Administrator (K-12).

Type: The type of certificate issued to you depends upon your educational background and experience. Examples include Initial certificate, Professional certificate, and Teaching Assistant Level III certificate. For a complete list, go to Types of Certificates and Licenses.

Find the requirements for the certificate you want:

To determine that specific requirements for any given title, you can use the New York State Education Department’s online search feature called "Search Certification Requirements." To begin a search, click here.

Applying for a Certificate:

If you are enrolled in a New York State teacher preparation program or alternative teacher preparation program, see your college certification officer for instructions on how to submit an application through institutional recommendation.

What happens once the New York State Education Department receives your application?

You will receive a letter in the mail stating the date they received your application, fee, and supporting documents, and the current application processing and review time.

Check the status of your application:

You may check the status of your application by going to the New York State Education Department’s Certification.

Address Change: If you have not received your certificate in the mail and your address changes, you may use the New York State Education Department’s Update Address web form to inform them of the change. Even after you receive your certificate, it is important that you notify them of future address changes so that you can receive any additional notices.

Receive your certificate by mail:

Effective and Expiration Date: Please take notice of the effective date and validity period of your certificate. Certain certificate types, such as Initial, Provisional, and Teaching Assistant certificates are time limited. You must complete the requirements for the next level certificate before the first certificate expires. For more information on certificate validity periods, go to Types of Certificates and Licenses.

Check for Errors: If you have received your certificate in the mail and it has errors such as misspellings, wrong subject area or certification type, please send the certificate back to the New York State Education Department with a letter identifying the error. They will correct the error and re-issue your certificate at no cost to you. You may wish to return the certificate "return receipt requested" and keep a photocopy for your records.

Duplicate Certificates: If your certificate is lost or stolen you may apply for a duplicate certificate. For more information go to Duplicates.

Certificate Time Extensions: If you are unable to meet the requirements for the next level certificate before your certificate expires, you may be eligible for a time extension. For more information, go to Time Extension of a Provisional, Initial, or Transitional Certificate.

Certificate Re-Issuance: If your Initial certificate expires your certificate may be re-issued. For more information go to Re-issuance of an Expired Initial certificate.

Maintaining your certificate:

Requirements for holders of advanced-level certificates vary by type of certificate.

Professional: Holders of the Professional classroom teaching certificate must complete 175 hours of professional development every five years. Satisfaction of this requirement maintains the validity of the certificate. For more information on acceptable professional development activities, and how to report and record hours completed, go to Maintaining your Certificate.

Permanent: Holders of the Permanent certificate do not have to meet a continuing professional development requirement. The certificate is good for life, unless revoked for cause.

Apply for an additional certificate:

Holders of most New York State certificates may qualify for an additional certificate without meeting all of the requirements that a first-time applicant must meet. To determine whether this provision is applicable to you, as well as the exact requirements for a second certification, click here.

For more information regarding obtaining your New York State Teaching certificate, please contact the Office of Teaching Initiatives.