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Q & A on the issues
Maintaining your professional certificate
All you need to know about the 175-hour professional development requirement
Professional Development Cycle Chart
|Certificate Effective Date||First Professional Development Cycle|
More than 1,500 teachers who have to provide proof of completion of 175 hours of professional development by the end of June received notification and a tracking form from the Department of Education. These are teachers who received their state professional certificates on Sept. 1, 2007, or Feb. 1, 2008, and will reach the first five-year Professional Development Cycle of 175 hours on June 30. They should follow the directions in the letter and submit the tracking form by June 15.
All teachers certified under the requirements that went into effect on Sept. 1, 2004, and who have their professional certificates from New York State will be required to provide proof of completing 175 hours of professional development. The following questions and answers will provide information and advice about this requirement.
What is the professional development requirement?
Holders of a professional teaching certificate currently teaching are required by New York State to complete 175 professional development hours every five years to maintain the validity of their certificates. Decisions regarding content, delivery and providers of such professional development are within the purview of the employing public school district and should be made within the context of the district’s professional development plan.
Professional development activities may be school-based as well as include outside conferences, seminars, workshops or college or in-service courses, as long as there has been a discussion with the school’s principal, and the approval has been given in writing.
Go to the State Education Department’s website at www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/resteachers/175.html for suggested activities.
When does the first professional development period for an individual certificate holder begin?
The professional development period for the certificate holder begins on July 1 following the effective date of the certificate.
Can I report professional development activities that were completed before this July 1 date?
No. Hours completed before the beginning date of the professional development period are not applicable toward meeting the requirement and should not be reported.
Can I complete the 175 hours at any time during the first five years, or must I complete 35 hours each year?
Regulations do not specify that any portion of the required hours be completed annually. However, it is recommended that certificate holders maintain a steady progression of professional development activities over the five-year period and not take on an overwhelming number of activities in any one year.
What if I hold two professional certificates in different areas? Do I have to do double the hours?
No. You need only complete a total of 175 hours for each five-year professional development period. The cycle begins on July 1 following the issuance of your first professional certificate and continues on that five-year cycle, regardless of the date any additional professional certificates may have been issued.
In New York City, who is responsible for providing professional development for certificate holders subject to the professional development requirement?
Provision of professional development for all city teachers is a responsibility of the New York City Department of Education. Each school provides at least 35 hours of professional development on a yearly basis.
In New York City, is record keeping and reporting of completed professional development considered a responsibility of the DOE or the individual teacher?
It is expected that the DOE will report to the Office of Teaching Initiatives on behalf of all teachers in its employ who must fulfill this requirement.
What is my record-keeping responsibility?
Professional development activities should be logged each year.
- Attach documentation of outside activities. [Download a tracking form at www.uft.org/new-teachers/maintaining-your-certification.]
- Have the principal sign off on your log.
- Keep a file of your yearly logs and documentation throughout your career.
- Complete and submit the five-year tracking form sent to you by the DOE at the time it is requested. Keep the original for your personal records.
- Give your school a copy for your file.
The DOE will electronically notify the New York State Education Department that you have met the professional development requirement so that your professional certificate stays valid. This notification will have to be done every five years.
If you have questions or need additional information, please visit the New York State Education Department website at www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/maintaincert.html or call your UFT borough office and speak to an educational liaison.
Related topics: new teachers