How To Become a Teacher in New York


The following information will help guide you on your path to becoming a teacher in New York. In order to be employed as a teacher in New York, you must hold a New York State teaching certificate. Teaching certificates are issued by the Office of Teaching Initiatives, and certify that you have met requirements of education, coursework, assessment, and experience. If you do not meet these requirements, you may decide to further your education with an online degree in education, or consider alternative pathways to become a teacher in New York.

New York Teacher Certification Roadmap

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in New York

Here are the steps to take to become a teacher in New York.

  • Choose the best preparation pathway
  • Find the requirements for the certificate you want
  • Applying for a teaching certificate
  • Send in your supporting documentation
  • Completing coursework to satisfy unmet requirements

Areas of Certification

Certificates are issued in a variety of titles in three major categories:

  • classroom teaching
  • administrative and supervisory
  • pupil personnel service

Here is a complete list of types of certificates and licenses available through the New York State Education Department (NYSED). For classroom teachers, an initial teaching certificate leads to a professional teaching certificate. The professional certificate must be maintained by meeting a certain number of professional development hours each year.

Types of Teaching Certificates

  • Initial Certificate this is the entry-level teaching certificate valid for five years and issued for a specific subject and grade level.
  • Conditional Initial Certificate - allows you up to two years to meet the testing requirements to qualify for an Initial certificate.
  • Professional Certificate - once you have an Initial certificate, and have completed a masters degree and have three years of teaching experience, you may apply to the New York State Department of Education (SED) for a Professional certificate. With this certificate, you must complete 175 hours of professional development every five years.
  • Transitional B Certificate - for individuals enrolled in an alternative certification program. This certificate gives you three years to meet all requirements for the Initial or Professional certificate.
  • Transitional A Certificate - if you are requested to teach as a career or technical education teacher and you possess the required educational and occupational experience, you may qualify for this certificate. Once attained, you have three years to complete the requirements for an Initial certificate.

New York Teaching Certificate Requirements

The requirements for becoming a teach vary based on the subject area. You are encouraged to search certificate requirements to find the specific requirements for your subject area. You may also want to take a look at this list of candidate profiles. Since there are a variety of ways to meet the requirements to become a New York State certified teacher, this list will help you select the path to becoming a teacher that's right for you.

Education Requirements

Receiving a New York teaching certificate requires a bachelor's degree or more advanced degree. It is preferable that your degree is in education or a field relevant to your area of interest for teaching. If you do not meet these requirements, here are the best online education degree programs, which will allow you to work while attaining your ultimate goal of becoming a teacher in New York.

Fingerprint Clearance and Background Check

The New York State Education Department has a step-by-step >Guide to Fingerprinting that outlines the process for attaining your fingerprint clearance.

The NY TEACH System

Creating a TEACH account will allow you to apply to become a teacher in New York, including submitting your fingerprint clearance and checking on the status of your application.

Certification Reciprocity

The New York State Education Department issues a Conditional Initial Certificate to qualified individuals holding a reciprocal certificate who have not yet met the state testing and workshop requirements. If you hold a teaching certificate in a state other than New York, consult this list of acceptable certificates from states other than New York to see if you qualify for reciprocity.

New York Alternative Teacher Certification

The following are opportunities for alternative teacher certification in NY.

  • New York Teaching Fellows - recruits high-quality, dedicated individuals to become teachers and offers them training, education and mentorship in exchange for teaching in high-need areas and raising student achievement in the New York City classrooms.
  • Urban Teacher Residency - through successful completion of the Residency, you may earn your Masters degree and be eligible to apply for New York State Teacher Certification. You will also be guaranteed the opportunity to teach at New Visions-supported New York City public schools.
  • Institutions Offering Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs
  • Peace Corps Fellows - The Alternative Teacher Certification Program for the Peace Corps Fellows is an alternative route to New York State certification
  • Teach for America New York
  • - New York corps members are certified to teach under a Transitional B license, which requires them to be enrolled in a master’s certification program throughout their two years of teaching. Once completed, you are eligible for a Professional Teaching license. Read more about the .
  • Urban Teachers for Tomorrow - an education program offered through Roberts Wesleyan College and Rochester City School District

Become a Substitute Teacher in NY

If you have a college degree but don't qualify for a teaching certificate, you may consider reading how to become a substitute teacher in New York. You may substitute teach while you attain your teaching credentials through an accredited online program.

Resources for Teacher Certification in New York

The New York State Education Department offers a step-by-step guide, showing you how to become a teacher in New York from start to finish.

New York State Education Department
Office of Teaching Initiatives, Room 5N-EB
89 Washington Avenue
Albany NY 12234
(518) 474-3901

Engage NY - a collaborative platform for educators in New York to access and share teaching resources.

Interested in how to become a teacher in another state? Return to the How to Become a Teacher main page, or click on one of these neighboring states below.