How to Become a Teacher in New York

As the third most populous state, New York has many public school students to instruct and educate — more than 2.5 million of them, in fact. Like the rest of the country, the state’s demographics are growing more diverse, with close to 20% of students recorded as black, 22% as Hispanic, and just less than half as white. All of these students need a quality New York certified teacher in the classroom, ready to prepare them for the 21st century. Below are the steps to obtaining a New York teacher certification.

Education Requirements

The New York State Department of Education governs teacher certification in New York, and the process in this highly populous state can be quite complicated. Educational requirements for New York teachers will differ according to licensure sought, but generally include completion of a bachelor’s degree from an approved, accredited college or university. There are several pathways to licensure, but the most common also includes a teacher education program in the form of student teaching. Examinations and specific coursework may also be required. The New York State Department of Education has a page for certification from start to finish. Access this up-to-date portal by clicking here.

New York Teaching Certification

There are four different paths to becoming a licensed teacher in New York State: (1) the Approved Teacher Education Program Pathway, involving completion of a New York State registered program (generally, a recognized bachelor’s degree program with a student teaching component), several examinations, and an Institutional Recommendation; (2) an Individual Evaluation Pathway, requiring a bachelor’s degree, required coursework, several examinations, and successful completion of workshops; (3) Interstate Reciprocity Pathway, which requires a bachelor’s degree, a valid teaching certificate from another U.S. state, and several examinations; and (4) the National Board Certification Pathway, which requires a bachelor’s degree, a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certificate, successfully complete workshops and required New York state examinations.

There are other types of licensure and certificates for becoming an educator in New York state, but these are the most common and identified pathways. Certification requirements can be searched and compared through the New York State Department of Education’s website, or by clicking here.

Required Tests

New York requires all prospective teachers to successfully complete New York State Teacher Certification Exams relevant to licensure sought. Pathways to licensure chosen will also dictate the necessity of some of these tests. For example, elementary school teachers must complete the New York State Teacher Certification Exam: Liberal Arts & Science Test (LAST), and the New York State Teacher Certification Exam for Elementary Assessment of Teaching Skills. Middle and secondary school teachers will be required to pass similar examinations based on grade level and subject area.

State Certification Reciprocity

Reciprocity can be granted in New York, but teachers must choose the Interstate Reciprocity Pathway when applying for state licensure. Unlike some states, teachers cannot secure a job without teacher certification from New York state within the state, even if the license is granted on a reciprocal basis. All those applying for reciprocity must have a bachelor’s degree, a valid teaching certificate from their state, and must pass the New York State Teacher Certification Exam(s) as necessary. Specific information can be found here, at the New York State Department of Education’s website.

Helpful Resources