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To answer any questions about your certification, you first must know the type of certificate you currently hold. You’ll find that by checking the face of your state certificate. First-year teachers can consult a recent New York City Department of Education (DOE) e-mail that clearly identifies individual appointment, licensing and certification details, including codes and dates.

Certification news and updates

Types of certificates

Here are the most common types of certificates New York City teachers hold:

Initial certificate

This is the entry-level certificate. With this certificate, you have five years from the issue date to complete the following requirements for a professional certificate:

  • 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; and
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency.

Professional certificate

With this advanced certificate, you have met all current state requirements. However, even after you achieve your professional certificate, the SED requires you to complete 100 Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours (20 hours per year) within five years of the issue date to keep your certificate valid. The five-year cycle will repeat for as long as you wish to maintain your certificate.The UFT and UFT Teacher Center are also CTLE providers. For more information, visit the state website. Make your plans for meeting this requirement a part of your professional conversation with your principal before starting to track your hours. Be sure to collect CTLE certificates from your providers.

Permanent certificate

This is the advanced certificate for license holders who were certified in (1) classroom teaching prior to Feb. 2, 2004; (2) administrative and supervisory certificate titles prior to Sept. 2, 2007; and (3) pupil personnel certificate titles.

Special situations

Under special circumstances, the SED may issue temporary certificates to candidates who do not meet all the qualifications for an initial certificate but who fill a specific educational/recruitment need. Here are a few examples:

Transitional A certificate

Districts that need teachers in specific technical or vocational fields may offer this temporary certificate to candidates who have related work experience but who do not meet all the requirements for an initial certificate. With this certificate, you have three years from the issue date to complete the requirements for a career and technical education initial certificate. For details on those requirements, call an educational liaison in your UFT borough office or UFT Certification Services at 1-212-420-1830.

Transitional B certificate

This temporary certificate is issued to those enrolled in an alternative teacher certification program, such as Teaching Fellows. The college in which you are enrolled for the master’s degree under this alternative teacher certification program is responsible for recommending you to the SED for a Transitional B certificate.

To ensure that you will fulfill the state mandates as a “highly qualified” teacher, it is very important that the title of your Transitional B certificate matches: a. the master’s program in which you are enrolled; and b. the teaching position for which you were hired. You have three years from the issue date of your Transitional B certificate to complete your master’s degree and fulfill any test and other requirements for the initial or professional certificate. When you have done so, your college must recommend you for either the initial or professional certificate, whichever pertains. You must log into your TEACH account to apply for your Trans B and successive certificates.

Internship certificate

Students enrolled in an approved graduate teacher education program may qualify for this certificate, provided they have completed half of the program’s credit hours. The graduate school has to request this certificate for you and it allows you to teach full time in a position that matches the certificate title. You have two years to complete your course and test requirements for the initial certificate; in addition, your college must recommend you for the initial certificate. You cannot renew or extend your Internship Certificate. In order for you to be hired under an internship certificate, the city requires you to have passed all exams except the edTPA.

Becoming certified

Individuals applying for certification on or after May 1, 2014 must pass

  • New York State certification exams:
    • The Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA): The edTPA is a portfoliobased assessment for preservice teacher candidates, i.e., those individuals seeking their first New York State teaching certificate. Individuals taking the edTPA are required to complete a 20-minute video segment of themselves teaching K-12 students.
    • Educating All Students (EAS): This examination is designed to assess if an individual possesses the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to teach all students effectively in New York State public schools. The EAS tests knowledge of how to use research-validated instructional strategies; knowledge of legal, ethical and professional responsibilities in educational settings; and the importance of parent/guardian involvement in a child’s education.
    • Revised Content Specialty Tests (CST): The revised examinations will focus on knowledge of the NYS Learning Standards associated with the candidate’s subject specific teaching certification area, as well as the P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English language arts and literacy and mathematics.

All New York City teacher certification examinations are offered year round through computer-based testing. Visit NYSTCE to find test sites and to register.

Remember that no certificate is issued automatically. Once you complete your requirements, you have to apply to the SED online. Check your TEACH online account for the documents you need to submit together with your application fee. Make copies of everything before you send them in. Mail your packet “Return Receipt Requested” and file the receipt with the copies of your paperwork.

Since it takes time to process your application, it’s a good idea to complete all your requirements early and to apply at least six months before your provisional or initial certificate expires.

Also, if you move, remember to notify the DOE, the SED and the UFT about your change of address. Otherwise you may not receive mailed notices or certificates and may miss important deadlines or other vital information.

Remember, when in doubt, reach out to an educational liaison in your UFT borough office or a certification specialist at UFT Certification Services: 1-212-420-1830.