New teacher articles

Certification primer, Part 2

Miller Photography Yali Lin (left) of PS 42 in Manhattan meets with Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, the head of the UFT’s Certification Services Department, at the Manhattan New Teacher Reception at UFT headquarters on Dec. 4. The UFT Department of Certification Services offers individual consultations to all newer teachers so they can stay on track toward achieving professional state certification.

Our previous article in the Nov. 22 issue explained the requirements and deadlines for the most common types of state certification — the initial and professional certificates. But what if you hold a different certificate?

Today, many new teachers work under various alternative certificates. The New York State Education Department issues these temporarily to candidates who fill specific educational/recruitment needs but don’t meet all the qualifications for an initial certificate.

Here are some examples with the steps to take to go beyond “temporary”:

Transitional certificate

This temporary certificate goes to candidates in specific technical or vocational fields who have related work experience, but not all the requirements for an initial certificate. You have three years from the issue date to complete the requirements for a career and technical education initial certificate.

Transitional B certificate

This temporary certificate is issued to Teaching Fellows and others enrolled in a recognized alternative teacher certification program. The college in which you are enrolled for your master’s degree had to recommend you to the State Education Department for this certificate. It is very important that the title of your Transitional B certificate matches: 1. the master’s program in which you are enrolled; and 2. the teaching position for which you were hired.

You have three years from the issue date to complete your master’s degree and any tests or other requirements for the initial or professional certificate. When you have done so, your college should recommend you for the appropriate certificate.

Internship certificate

This temporary certificate goes only to students enrolled in an approved graduate teacher education program who have completed half of the program’s credit hours and only if the college requested this certificate for you. You have two years from the issue date to complete your course and test requirements for the initial certificate; also, your college must recommend you for the initial certificate. You cannot renew or extend your internship certificate.

Conditional initial certificate

If you hold a teaching certificate in the same or equivalent title from another state, the State Education Department may grant you a conditional initial certificate, even if you do not meet all New York State requirements. You have two years from the issue date to meet the following requirements:

  • Pass the LAST, ATS-W and CST certification exams (the UFT Course Program offers coaching sessions for the LAST and ATS-W exams);
  • Complete the Child Abuse Recognition Workshop (available at low cost through the UFT);
  • Complete the Violence Prevention Training Workshop (offered at low cost through the UFT School Safety Department).

In addition, within five years of the issue date of your conditional initial certificate, you must complete all requirements for the professional certificate.

Time-extended certificate

Rarely, the State Education Department issues this temporary certificate to give a candidate with a provisional or initial certificate some extra time to complete all requirements for professional certification. If you hold an extended certificate, be sure to fulfill your remaining requirements within the time limits specified in the extension.

Getting a professional certificate

Once you have an initial certificate, you have five years from the issue date to complete all requirements for a professional certificate. For details on those requirements, see the Nov. 22 issue or go to

For more specific information, contact TeacherLine at 1-212-253-8800 or, speak to an educational liaison in your UFT borough office, or call 1-212-420-1830 for an appointment with the UFT Certification Services Department.

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