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Certification, tenure angst?

New York Teacher
Many members of the union smile and pose for a group photo during a tenure celebration
Jonathan Fickies

The union is working to make sure there will be tenure celebrations like the one held earlier this school year in District 7.

The coronavirus crisis has upended the school year for everyone. As a newer teacher, you may have concerns about how the crisis will affect your ability to achieve your professional teaching certificate and tenure.


The union is having ongoing conversations with the New York State Education Department about guidance on tenure decisions during the period when school buildings are closed. In the meantime, superintendents can approve tenure for pedagogues who have completed probation.

If you have been notified that your tenure has been extended, union attorneys can review and provide advice about your tenure extension. If you would like such a review, please scan or take a photo of your extension document and send it to along with your name, file number, school and district. If you do not accept the DOE’s extension of your probationary period, the DOE may discontinue your employment.


On May 4, 2020, the New York State Board of Regents approved changes to educator certification policies, including extending certificate expiration dates and creating an emergency COVID-19 certificate. Read the updates »

Because the state Office of Teaching Initiatives is closed, no certificate applications are being evaluated. However, if you are ready to apply for your professional certificate, you can still apply online through your TEACH account at the State Education Department website. You can now also submit electronic transcripts through the online portal. We encourage you to apply and pay the application fee online rather than mailing your payment. To get your professional certificate, you’ll need to show you’ve completed the following requirements:

  • A master’s degree.
  • 12 graduate credits in the certificate area’s content core or a related field (if your master’s degree is pedagogical, this 12-credit requirement is already met by the program).
  • Three years of full-time teaching experience.
  • One year of mentored experience.
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.

Your school’s human resources director must sign an OT-37 Verification of Employment form and send it to the state.

Make sure to look at the college recommendations on your TEACH account before applying. If you were recommended for your professional certification, you will need the five-digit program code to apply through a college-approved teacher preparation program. If you do not have a recommendation, you must apply through certificate progression and send proof of a completed master’s program.

The UFT is working closely with the DOE and the State Education Department to clarify issues related to tenure and certification. You can find the latest updates here. If you have questions or concerns, please call the UFT at 212-331-6311.