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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 or by logging in to your TEACH account. First-year teachers will receive a welcome letter from the New York City Department of Education (DOE) via email with important information. See the UFT's new teacher page for additional guidance. 

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 State Education Department (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, with the exception of school counselor certificates issued after Feb. 1, 2023. Active certificate holders are required to complete a registration process in five-year cycles (please see below for more information).

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 212-331-6311.

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 required exams.

Becoming certified

Individuals applying for certification on or after May 1, 2014 must pass New York State certification exams:

  • 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.
  • As of April 27, 2022, the edTPA exam is no longer required for state certification.

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 or a certification specialist by calling the UFT at 212-331-6311 (or, if you are a member of a DOE functional chapter, 212-331-6312).

Registration and Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) Requirements

Educators who hold one or more of the following certificates must register with the Department every five years:

  • Permanent or Professional certificate in the classroom teaching service
  • Permanent or Professional certificate in the educational leadership service (i.e., School Building Leader, School Administrator/Supervisor, School District Leader, School District Administrator, School District Business Leader, or School Business Administrator)
  • Teaching Assistant Level III certificate

More information about registration and continuing teacher and leader education (CTLE) requirements is available on the NY State Education Department website

Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) Requirement

Educators who hold one or more of the following certificates are subject to the continuing teacher and leader education (CTLE) requirement:

  • Professional certificate in the classroom teaching service
  • Professional certificate in the educational leadership service (i.e., School Building Leader, School District Leader, and School District Business Leader)
  • Teaching Assistant Level III certificate

Examples of educators who do not need to complete the CTLE requirement include, but are not limited to, educators who:

  • Hold only Permanent certificate(s)
  • Hold a Statement of Continued Eligibility (SOCE) and Permanent certificate, and does not also hold a Professional or TA Level III certificate; and
  • Have "Registered - Inactive" status (e.g., not practicing in an applicable school).

The registration and CTLE requirements do not apply to educators who hold a certificate in the pupil personnel service (e.g., School Attendance Teacher, School Counselor, School Psychologist, School Social Worker) or hold a Teaching Assistant Level I or Level II certificate.

There is one CTLE requirement per educator (100 clock hours), regardless of the number of certificates held that are subject to CTLE. Educators who are subject to CTLE and practice in an applicable school throughout their five-year registration period must complete 100 clock hours of acceptable CTLE.

Information about CTLE is available on the NY State Education Department website

Be sure you are signed up for UFT emails to receive the latest information about certification changes and updates. If you have specific questions, call 212-331-6311 to speak with a certification specialist.

Has the state made changes to the certification process for school counselors?

Yes. Through Feb. 1, 2024, school counselors received provisional and permanent state certification. As of Feb. 2, 2024, school counselors will be issued initial and professional certification instead. Both certifications will continue to be recognized. Members with a valid provisional certificate will still be able to obtain a permanent certificate after Feb. 2, 2024.

The state has also established extensions for Bilingual Education and Supplementary Bilingual Education for school counselors who hold an initial or professional certificate. Requirements include 12 semester hours and courses in sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics, similar to requirements for classroom teachers.

For more information, see the NYSED website

How much teaching or work experience is required to obtain a permanent or professional state certification?

The total number of years of experience hasn’t changed (two years for a permanent certificate and three for a professional one), but the state has changed its definition of a “year of experience.” A minimum of 180 days over a 12-month period in an educational setting is still mandated, but as of March 30, 2022, the state now permits a variety of part-time experiences that add up to 180 or more days of full-time experience in a 12-month period. The new definition no longer requires periods of continuous experience or teaching experience in the subject area of the certificate sought.

What is the new Students with Disabilities (All Grades) state teaching certificate? How do you qualify to obtain this certification?

As of Sept. 28, 2022, the state Education Department created a new Students with Disabilities (All Grades) certificate that permits teachers to teach students with disabilities in pre-K through Grade 12 in New York State public schools. The Students with Disabilities (Grades 1-6) and Students with Disabilities (Grades 7-12) certificates will be phased out.  

Teachers who now hold a Students with Disabilities certificate in a particular grade band (Birth-Grade 2, Grades 1-6, Grades 5-9 or Grades 7-12) or the Permanent Special Education certificate will not be required to obtain the new Students with Disabilities (All Grades) certificate. But teachers with these certificates may want to consider obtaining the new certificate, since it will allow for greater flexibility to teach students with disabilities in all grades.

For requirements for this new certification see the NYSED website , and their FAQ for more information about the new certificate as well.

Has the New York State Education Department updated requirements for liberal arts core courses needed to obtain teacher certification?

Yes. The New York State Board of Regents voted to eliminate the general core in liberal arts and sciences (LAS) requirement for certification, which included coursework in the following areas: artistic expression, communication, information retrieval, concepts in history and social sciences, humanities, a world language other than English, scientific and mathematical processes, and written analysis and expression.

The general core in liberal arts and sciences will no longer be a certification requirement as of April 27, 2022. For more information, see the NYSED website

Has the New York State Education Department made any changes to science teaching certification requirements?

Yes, to help alleviate persistent statewide shortage areas in the sciences, which include biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics, NYSED has revised the content core requirement from 30 credits to 18 credits for anyone already holding a science certificate in order to obtain additional science certificates, effective June 29, 2022.

Has the New York State Education Department made any changes to the literacy teaching certification?

Yes, NYSED created a new Literacy (All Grades) certificate which may be applied for through the individual evaluation pathway as of June 29, 2022. This new Literacy (All Grades) certificate replaced the Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) and Literacy (Grades 5-12) certificates. Teachers who currently hold a Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) or Literacy (Grades 5-12) certificate are not required to obtain the new certificate, since those grade-band certificates will continue to be recognized.

Candidates will continue to be able to apply for the Literacy (Birth-Grade 6) and/or Literacy (Grades 5-12) certificates through the individual evaluation pathway through August 31, 2023 and must meet all requirement(s) for the certificate prior to September 1, 2026. Teacher preparation programs must register their new programs leading to certification in Literacy (All Grades) by September 1, 2026.

Will I need to complete CTLE hours if I need to renew my initial state certification?
Do I need to pass the edTPA exam to receive my state certification?

As of April 27, 2022, candidates who apply for state certification will no longer need to complete the edTPA exam. Candidates who already have an application on file with the New York State Education Department but have not yet met that requirement will no longer be required to do so. If passing the edTPA exam is the only unmet requirement remaining to receive certification, the certificate will be issued by the state automatically and will be available in members' TEACH accounts as of April 28, 2022. This new change only applies to the edTPA exam and other exams that may be required for your certification and license area are still necessary to achieve certification.

See the NYSED website for more information as well as their FAQs about this change

For more information about certification, visit the NYSED website to search specific requirements for your area of specialization. UFT members with questions regarding this change may call 212-331-6311 and ask to speak with a certification specialist.

Have there been any special regulations or changes regarding certification and licensing for teachers in special education, performing arts, or who hold a library license?

Yes, in May 2020, the DOE negotiated new rules for certification, licensing and/or probation for teachers who hold a library license, for teachers of performing arts/drama and for teachers assigned to a special education program who have a non-special education license. For more details about the regulations and provisions for these licensing and certification changes, see the DOE licensing letter which provides more detailed information.

My teacher certification is expiring. What action should I take? How do I apply for an extension?

If your certification is expiring you need to do the following:

a. You will need to apply for the appropriate certificate through your Teach account.

b. You will need to complete an OT 37 Verification of Paid Experience Form and submit to your Human Resource Director.

c. Send an email to to submit your mentored experience.

d. Follow up with a certification specialist in your UFT borough office, especially if you have further questions.