Professional Growth


For more than 50 years, the UFT has helped its members expand their skills and knowledge through courses, workshops and conferences. Now as a state-approved provider of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours, the UFT’s LearnUFT program offers low-cost professional learning opportunities specifically designed to meet our members’ needs. These workshops are taught by qualified teachers and instructors, specifically designed to meet members’ needs. LearnUFT offers work sessions in all five borough offices after school, on weekends and during the summer. See a listing of available courses. The UFT is also committed to archiving members’ certificates of completion for CTLE hours they obtain through LearnUFT, so that you can be sure there is a backup of your records.

UFT Teacher Centers

The UFT Teacher Center is the union’s nationally known professional development program. Its professional development philosophy is straightforward and practical, emphasizing instruction based on the state and city standards and ongoing, collegial support.

Teacher Center instructional specialists can help you deepen your content knowledge and enhance your teaching skills. They offer seminars, work sessions, institutes and content-area conferences. Teacher Center staff also can help bring together staffs from different schools to learn and discuss best practices. They are your colleagues and their goal is simple: to help you become a dynamic and knowledgeable teaching professional. When you collaborate with a teacher center instructional specialist in your school and classroom, you can expand your repertoire of skills.

School-Based Professional Development

The Teacher Center operates sites at over 100 schools across the city. At each of these sites, teacher center staff can:

  • Provide you and your colleagues with instructional coaching;
  • Help you find instructional resources;
  • Assist you in planning instruction and projects;
  • Problem-solve classroom management situations;
  • Teach you how to integrate instructional technology in your classroom;
  • Help you engage with other colleagues by participating in one-on-one coaching, teacher team meetings, instructional planning sessions and study groups; and
  • Facilitate ongoing professional learning connected to classroom practices.

Professional Development Academies

Professional Development Academies (PDAs) are designed to support the challenging work of professional development and to build the capacity of teacher leaders and professional developers, e.g., school-based mentors, lead teachers, master teachers, instructional specialists, instructional coaches and administrators.

P–12 Instructional Citywide Conferences

P–12 Instructional Citywide Conferences are conducted after school and on weekends and focus on the New York State Standards. Sessions are designed to deepen content knowledge, enhance educators’ pedagogical skill and foster collaborative professional dialogue. Conferences are differentiated by grade level (early elementary, upper elementary, middle and high school).

Offerings and Additional Resources

For more information about UFT Teacher Centers, please call (212) 475-3737 or visit their website.


Eligible new teachers receive 10 months and at least 40 hours of mentoring throughout their first 180 school days of employment. Mentors are experienced colleagues who have trained extensively in ways to best support you.

They may demonstrate lessons, co-teach classes with you and offer constructive feedback on your teaching practices, depending on your particular needs.

Mentors can also help you analyze student work, make suggestions about planning instruction and help you connect to people and instructional resources in your building.

Perhaps most important, mentors work with you on a non-evaluative, non-judgmental basis, and your discussions are professional and confidential.

If you believe you are eligible and have not heard from a mentor by mid-September (or for spring-term hires, two weeks into the term), see your UFT chapter leader or call your UFT borough office.

National Board Certification

Teachers who have completed three years of teaching and are striving to further their growth may want to consider working toward a national board certification — a designation that not only would bring them to the city’s second salary differential, but also would put them among the nation’s most accomplished teachers.

National Board Certification comes from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, an organization that grew out of an idea from our national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers. This certification is evidence that you have reached a level of excellence in your field based on rigorous standards. The standards are primarily written for and by teachers and articulate accomplished teaching practices.

The UFT Teacher Center offers a pre-candidacy course to help participants prepare for this rigorous process, as well as ongoing support throughout the program. For more information on National Board Certification, visit the Teacher Center website.

UFT Course Program

Thousands of UFT members enroll each year in the UFT Course Program. In partnership with a variety of colleges, the union provides reduced tuition graduate-level courses to enable you to qualify for state certification or a salary differential, earn a master’s degree or simply strengthen your teaching skills. See the current listings.

Master's degrees and college credits

To matriculate into a master’s program, you have to apply to and be accepted by the sponsoring university.

Degree programs include:

  • Dual education and special education (grades 1-6);
  • Instructional technology;
  • Childhood Education; and
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), with an optional bilingual extension.

Certificate and Extension programs include:

  • Gifted Education;
  • Students with disabilities;
  • Bilingual education;
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math);
  • Global Career Development; and
  • Teacher leadership.

There are graduate-level general education classes in which you can explore subjects that interest you while earning credits toward salary differentials. Courses include, but are not limited to, assessment and behavior management, reading and teaching strategies, mathematics and special education. 

What are CTLE hours and do I need them?

State regulations now require all teachers who hold professional certificates and paraprofessionals who hold Level III teaching assistant certificates to collect and track 100 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education hours (known as CTLE hours) by a state-approved provider in five-year cycles.

For all teachers, 15% of these hours must be related to instruction of English language learners and for English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers the requirement is 50%.

LearnUFT and the UFT Teacher Center are both approved by the New York State Education Department to offer CTLE hours and you can find more information about the many activities we offer to help our members meet this requirement on the UFT website and in the New York Teacher.

It is the responsibility of the teacher to maintain a record of acquired CTLE hours (by collecting CTLE certificates) once the professional certificate has been issued. At the end of each five-year cycle, it is the teacher’s responsibility to inform the state Education Department’s office of teaching initiatives that the requirement has been met, using TEACH, the online certification registry. You can read more information in the Office of Teaching Initiatives section of the state Education Department website.

Please contact an educational liaison in your UFT borough office if you have any questions.

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