Home Teaching Programs in New York

Teaching Programs in New York

New York is the fourth most populous state in the United States. According to recent data from the New York State Education Department (NYSED), there are 2,622,879 public school students in the state. This data translates into a continuing need for teachers.

While Education Week Research Center ranked New York as being slightly higher than the national average in its  Chance-for-Success index, the state isn’t immune from certain roadblocks. The New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA) observes that there are a number of current challenges, including finding substitute teachers, supporting mental health issues, and finding instructors who can work with non-native English speakers. Other topical discussions include navigating social media and current events as they increasingly make their way into the classroom.

If you’re up to the task of educating the youth of the Empire State, here’s what you need to know about becoming a teacher.

How to Become a Teacher in New York

Teachers—as well as school administrators and pupil personnel service providers—must have a New York State certificate to work in the public school system.

NYSED outlines several pathways for becoming certified to teach in New York.

Traditional Teaching Route

This pathway requires a bachelor’s degree in education. The program will include teacher preparation coursework as well as a student teaching component.

Once you have your bachelor’s degree, you need to pass the necessary state exams (see licensure section below); you can then apply for a certificate. (Note: All applicants are required to submit to a fingerprint-supported criminal history background check.) You will need to send supporting documentation (for example, college transcripts; CLEP, DANTA, ACTFL, or Excelsior exam scores; documentation of experience for your Initial Certificate) to NYSED.

An Initial certification, which is required for student teaching, is valid for five years and leads to a Professional certificate. The latter is valid after completing Continuing Teacher and Leader (CTLE) hours during every five-year period.

Alternative Teacher Certification

If you’re a career changer looking to make the move to education, you can pursue an alternative teacher certification pathway. The majority of candidates in this category have expertise in one area they plan to teach in (for example, math) and enroll in an Alternative Teacher Certification (ATC) program.

You may qualify if you fulfill the following:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA (other stipulations apply) or 18 semester hours in the subject area you want to teach with 12 semester hours in a similar subject matter
  • Pass the necessary exams.
  • Apply to an institution with a recognized ATC program

Depending on your exact circumstances, you’ll need to apply for one of four teaching certificates as well:

  • Transitional A Certificate: Enables an individual who does not meet the requirements for an Initial Certificate to teach career and technical education subjects in an NYS public school or Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).
    • For aspiring career and technical teachers
    • Valid up to three years while you complete the requirements for the Initial Certificate and are employed in an NYS school district
    • Leads to Initial Certificate
    • Application fee: $100


  •  Transitional B Certificate: Enables an individual to work as a classroom teacher in an NYS public school while in an approved state Transitional B program. This certificate is tied to school placement.
    • For aspiring classroom teachers
    • Valid up to three years—once you leave or complete the program, the certificate is no longer valid
    • Leads to Initial Certificate
    • Application fee: $50


  • Transitional C Certificate: Enables an individual to work as a classroom teacher in an NYS public school while in an approved state Transitional C program.
    • For aspiring classroom teachers
    • Valid up to three years—once you leave or complete the program, the certificate is no longer valid
    • Leads to Professional Certificate
    • Application fee: $50


  •  Transitional G Certificate: Enables a college professor (stipulations apply) to work as a classroom teacher in an NYS public school for BOCES. The school or BOCES needs to submit a recommendation in TEACH, part of the Office of Teaching Initiatives.
    • For aspiring classroom teachers
    • Valid for two years
    • Leads to Initial Certificate
    • Application fee: $100

 Licensure in New York

To earn an Initial Certificate, you will need to take the following tests to become a licensed teacher in New York. Additional tests, workshops, and mentoring requirements may also be mandatory.

  • edTPA: Measures teaching performance and instructional practice
  • Educating All Students (EAS) test: Measures teaching knowledge and skills
  • Content Specialty Test (CST): Measures core subject knowledge

Those pursuing nontraditional or specialty certifications may not need to take all three exams—or may need to take additional exams. For example, candidates applying for Transitional B or C Certificates will only need to take the EAS and CST exams. Someone looking to add a Bilingual Education Extension to an existing teaching certificate will need to pass a Bilingual Education Assessment in their subject-area language.

You can see requirements for specific certificates, exemptions, and teaching specialties on the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations website.

When you’re ready to apply for your certificate, you will need to submit or verify requested information:

  • Official school transcripts from an approved bachelor’s degree program
  • Proof you completed a teacher preparation program and all other required coursework and assessments
  • Passing scores on required exams
  • A completed application for a New York State teaching certification
  • A completed background check
  • All other required supporting documentation

 Paying for Your Education

If you’re a prospective teacher looking for ways to afford your education, here’s some good news: there are a number of organizations that offer low-interest loans, scholarships, grants, and work-study options. The New York State Higher Education Service Corporation, in particular, shares many opportunities.

Here are a few:

  • Federal Student Aid. You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) via the U.S. Department of Education website to see if you qualify for subsidized and unsubsidized loans, scholarships, and grant money.
  • Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. You may be eligible to have up to $17,500 of your direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans forgiven under this plan. To qualify, you must teach in a low-income school district for five years. Visit the website to see the full list of requirements.
  • NYS Math & Science Teaching Incentive Program. This program is offered to students—undergraduate or graduate level—who are looking to be secondary math and science teachers. The annual award amount is for full-time students and equal to an in-state resident attending a SUNY program or actual tuition, whichever is less expensive. For reference, the current tuition rate for SUNY is $6,870.
  • The NYS Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. This plan strives to attract and retain teachers in hard-to-staff or subject-shortage areas. The award is up to $5,000 per year for up to four years.

Career Outlook for Educators in New York

In September 2019 CareerOneStop predicted the following job growth between 2016 and 2026 for educators in New York:

Grade LevelPercent Increase Number of New Jobs
Middle School6%3,190
High School7%5,160

These figures are similar to the national average for educators.

If you are interested in coordinating instruction and developing curriculum, you will have a ripe job market in NY:

  • Instructional Coordinator: 15% growth between 2016 and 2026
  • Instructional Designer and Technologist: 15% between 2016 and 2026

These jobs are available for educators who have received advanced training through certificates or master’s degrees.

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Major Cities

2018 Median Annual Teaching Salaries in New York
  • Elementary School: $83,010
  • Middle School: $83,490
  • Secondary: $85,300
  • Post-Secondary*: $97,605

Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

*Average of all individual post-secondary teaching salaries provided by BLS.

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