Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Teacher Certification

The following sections are designed to help you navigate teacher certification requirements for the New York State Education Department (NYSED).  Keep in mind that individual circumstances and timing may impact how requirements are satisfied; there are many possibilities. SUNY Cortland teacher education students and alumni are advised to research their own individual situations carefully, follow guidelines, and document all activities. NYSED has the final say in whether or not you will secure certification. The following information outlines basic guidelines for certification.  Remember, however, that many NYSED rules are subject to interpretation and change. Visit the Office of Teaching Initiatives for up to date information.

All information is accurate as of July 2021.

Types of Teaching Certificates

New York has two levels of classroom teaching certificates: Initial and Professional Certification

  • Initial- entry level teaching certificate, valid for five years
  • Professional- advanced level certificate, see information below about process

Generally, undergraduate and graduate students completing a teacher certification program who hold no valid certificates and/or have no prior teaching experience will apply for an initial certificate.

If you have an expired certificate or if you have previous teaching experience and are unsure about which certificate pathway to use, please contact Career Services at 607-753-4715.

TEACH Account

A TEACH account is a digital platform offered via New York State, and it serves as a hub for certification. The TEACH system not only houses information related to your certificate(s), but is also where you will apply for all your certificates. This system is not associated with SUNY Cortland.

Your TEACH account is tied to your social security number. Therefore, you should only have one account. However, sometimes technical glitches happen. If you think you have created an account, do not try to create another. Email teachhelp@nysed.gov with any technical concerns, including requests to merge duplicate accounts. Make sure emails include the last 4 digits of your social security number, date of birth, and name as it appears in TEACH.

Certifications will be under “Account Information” in TEACH. You will not be mailed a document or notified that your certificate has been issued.

Applying for Degree Conferral and College Recommendations

In order to receive your degree, you must apply for degree conferral. Please visit this page through Student Registration and Record Services for more information.

Degree conferral is not the same as graduation/commencement. When your degree is conferred, that means all academic requirements are completed. Graduation/commencement is the celebration. While you may be eligible to attend the celebration, your degree requirements (such as student teaching) may not be completed for another semester.

In addition, when you graduate from a teacher education program at SUNY Cortland, with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, you are not automatically certified. By completing your degree in education, you are completing the academic requirements necessary for the “Approved Teacher Preparation Program” pathway through New York State. Pathways are the ways of meeting certification requirements based on differing circumstances.

To apply for this pathway successfully, you will need to have college recommendation(s), or the academic information from SUNY Cortland put into TEACH. For the recommendation(s) to be added to your TEACH account, you need to give SUNY Cortland permission to release it. To send this information, you will need to complete the TEACH Authorization Form. You should complete this form when you apply for degree conferral.

College recommendation(s) will be added to TEACH accounts after your degree is conferred which is generally within 4 to 6 weeks of the semester ending.

Requirements for a First Initial Certificate (Approved Teacher Preparation Program)

  1. Academic Requirements, Including Workshops (See “Applying for Degree Conferral and College Recommendations” above)
  2. Fingerprinting (See “Fingerprinting” below)
  3. Exams (See “Exams” below)

Workshops

Three workshops are required for certification and are degree requirements if you are in a SUNY Cortland “Approved Teacher Preparation Program.” If you take the workshops as part of your program, the information is sent to NYSED with your college recommendation(s). They will not appear on your TEACH account under “Account Information” “Workshops.” If you took the workshops outside of Cortland, they might appear on your TEACH account.

  1. Child Abuse and Recognition Reporting (CARR)- 2 hours
  2. School Violence Prevention and Intervention Workshop (SAVE)- 2 hours
  3. Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)- 3 hours in person and 3 hours online

(Important for Graduates Prior to December 2013): DASA was added as a requirement at the end of 2013. If you did not take this workshop, you will need to do so in order to be certified for a first certificate or an additional.

Fingerprinting

As part of the New York State certification process, you are required to be fingerprinted. SUNY Cortland also requires that all students enrolled in a teacher certification program be fingerprinted at least one semester before their first anticipated field experience. Students who are not fingerprinted at least one semester before their first anticipated field experience may not have access to some area schools with fingerprinting policies in place.

Please note:  You should set up a TEACH account before you get fingerprinted so that your fingerprints can be automatically uploaded to your TEACH account.  If you do not set up a TEACH account within 90 days of being fingerprinted, your fingerprints will expire, and you will need to be fingerprinted again.

For more questions about the process, review this form (PDF) or contact IdentoGO at www.identogo.com or 877-472-6915. If you have been fingerprinted with the NYC Department of Education, you can have your prints sent to NYSED.

If you have been fingerprinted through the New York State Department of Education (you would have paid a fee), then you do not have to be fingerprinted again for certification. In most cases, if you have been fingerprinted through any other system for your early field experiences, you will need to complete the process again for certification.

To verify that your fingerprints are in TEACH, go to “Account Information” “Fingerprinting” and scroll to bottom. You should see in a blue box, “Your DCJS and FBI results have been received.” If you see “No data found,” this means that your fingerprints have not be received and/or processed, and a background check has not been done.

Applying for Certification (Program Codes)

When applying for certification on TEACH using the Approved Teacher Preparation Program pathway, you will be asked for specific information about your program. Learn more about program codes and dates of attendance.

Exams

You do not need to finish certification exams to graduate, but you must pass all of them to become certified. Your edTPA will be part of your student teaching requirements.

Exam scores only show up in TEACH as pass or fail.

For most teacher education candidates, these tests are required for NYS certification:

  1. EAS- Educating All Students: Designed for teachers and school building leaders to ensure they understand how to address the learning needs of diverse student populations. The scoring ranges from 400-600 and currently 500 is the passing score (currently lowered from 520). This test is taken at a Pearson testing site (either within or outside of NYS).
  2. CST- Content Specialty Test(s): Are aligned with the NYS Learning Standards, including the Common Core and designed to assess knowledge in content area of certification.
    • If you are in a program leading to a certification in an adolescent certificate or a Pre-K- 12 certificate, you will take one exam.
    • If you complete dual certification programs such as Early Childhood/Childhood, Inclusive Early Childhood Education, Inclusive Childhood Education, Math/Physics or French/Spanish, you will complete multiple exams.
    • If you are looking to obtain the “Speech and Language Disabilities” certification, you will eventually need to take the Praxis II.
  3. edTPA: The edTPA will require candidates to plan and deliver lessons in their area of certification that are aligned with the NYS Learning Standards, including Common Core, in that area. All components of the edTPA, including a video component, are completed during student teaching.
    • If you are in a dual certification program, you only need to do the edTPA in one of your areas of certifications. The faculty in your program will advise you regarding the subject area in which you should take the edTPA>.
    • Please reach out to your department or Chris Widdall with any questions regarding the completion of the edTPA.
    • If you fail the edTPA within 1 or 2 points, see the Multiple Measures Review Process (MMRP) information.

If you completed student teaching between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022, please see the “COVID-19” Impacts section

Are You Ready to be Certified? Initial Certificate (BA, BS, MAT, MST, Additional Initial Certificate from MSEd Program)

Certification Preparation Checklist:
(To be used after the completion of your program in May, August, or December.)

  • Check Degree Works or your online transcript to be sure your degree was conferred.
  • Check your TEACH account or your online transcript to see if your college recommendation has been posted “TEACH Account” “Account Information” “College Recommendations.”
  • Check your TEACH account to see if your fingerprints on file.
    TEACH Account “Account Information” “Fingerprinting.”
  • Make sure your personal and academic information is up to date in TEACH.
  • Obtain your program code.

  Applying for your Initial Certificate:

  1. Login to TEACH and click “Apply for Certificate.” You can only apply for one certificate at a time.
  2. Go through the drop downs; you will select “Classroom Teacher” or “Classroom Teacher- Foreign Languages” for “Area of Interest.”
    • If you are in a program leading to dual certifications, apply for the area in which you did the edTPA. Do not apply for your second certification until the first goes through.
  3. Select the drop downs related to your certification area, then the last option will be “Initial Certificate.”
  4. Enter the program code.
  5. Continue through and pay $50.
  6. You can check your application information in TEACH under “Account Information” “Certificates.” This is also where you will see the certificate(s) that have been issued to you. You will not receive notification that you have been certified or any certificates or notifications in the mail.
  7. If you are still waiting for your certification after a month or two and you followed all directions, please contact Career Services.
  8. For those in programs leading to dual certifications (or adding on an additional initial certificate from the Master’s), you will apply for the second certification through the same process. However, the pathway should be “Approved Teacher Preparation Program- Additional Certificate.” You can check if the pathway is correct in TEACH under “Account Information”   “Certificates” after you apply. If it does not say this, email NYSED to change the pathway at tcert@nysed.gov with the last 4 of your social security number, date of birth, and name as it matches TEACH.

Professional Certification

Once you have obtained your initial certificate(s), you have five years to finish requirements from the initial certificate’s effective date, which is February 1 or September 1 of EACH year.

To obtain your professional certification in the area(s) where you completed your degree, there are several requirements to be met.

First, you will need to earn a Master’s degree, and there are a few options you could pursue:

  1. A Master’s degree that is the same area as your current certification area(s) (for example, if you received an Adolescent Math degree, you could do a Master’s in Adolescent Math).
  2. A Master’s degree in another subject leading to additional certification in NYS or another state such as students with disabilities, literacy, TESOL OR an education-related Master’s program such as Curriculum and Instruction and Instructional Technology from an institution with teacher preparation programs.
  3. A Related Master’s degrees based on content area- see the link for more information
    1. For generalists (Early Childhood/Childhood, Inclusive Education) - you can do a Master’s in any discipline.

To read more about NYSED’s guidance regarding Master’s degrees that count towards professional certification, see NYSED Experience Requirements.

NOTE: If you are considering a Master’s degree in a Pupil Personnel Title (School Counseling, School Psych, etc.) please talk to Career Services. These certificates are considered in the area of Pupil Personnel Services, which is a different type of certificate than those in the area of Classroom Teacher. In order to maintain both types of certificates, careful  planning is necessary.

In addition to your Master’s degree, you will also need three (3) years paid professional work experience in any of your titles, and in a public, private, or charter schools within NYS OR out of state (if in a NYS public school, this also includes a year of mentored teaching built into employment). Substitute teaching is considered paid professional work.

Your substitute teaching experience must be in your certificate area and grade level to count toward your three years of paid professional work requirement. Please note that substitute teaching counts “day for day.” NYSED views one year of teaching to be 180 days. All Initial Certificate holders are required to complete 540 total days of teaching to secure a Professional Certificate. Be sure to document all experience.  Other paid experiences such as an attendance officer, a teacher’s aide, assistant principal or other non-classroom teacher titles will NOT count.

Visit the NYSED Office of Teaching Initiatives Certificate Questions webpage for more detail regarding what can count for paid experiences.

If you are going out of state, be sure to get information on that State’s certification requirements. The Certification Map and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification are helpful starts.

How to Apply for Professional Certification

Preparation:

  1. To obtain a professional certification, you need a Master’s degree and 3 years of paid professional work experience in any of your certification areas (or a combination).
  2. Make sure all transcripts are on file with NYSED through TEACH. You can check under “Account Information” “Education” “Verified Education.” College recommendations will not be there.
  3. If you completed a Master’s leading to certification, be sure that relevant college recommendations are there. TEACH Account “Account Information” “College Recommendations.”
  4. Ensure that experience is verified. This includes mentoring if you are in a NYS public school. You can check in TEACH under:
    1. “Account Information” “Superintendent Statements”
    2. “Account Information” “Mentoring Experience”
    3. “Account Information” “Correspondence” “Documents”
  5. It is recommended to apply for the professional certification in which you have the most experience first.

For those who are applying for a professional certificate in the area in which they completed their Bachelor’s at SUNY Cortland and did their Master’s degree in a different content or certification area.

  1. Go to TEACH and click “Apply for Certificate.” You can only apply for one certificate at a time.
  2. Go through the drop downs; select “Classroom Teacher” or “Classroom Teacher- Foreign Languages” for “Area of Interest.”
  3. Select the drop downs related to your certification area; the last option will be “Professional Certificate.”
  4. You will not have a program code. Click the option “No, I have not completed, nor am I enrolled in, an Approved Teacher Preparation Program at a New York State College or University for this certificate and this type.” While this language can be confusing, you have only completed a program leading to the academic pieces for the initial certificate. When you continue on, it will bring you through the pathway of “Certificate Progression” and you will pay $100.
  5. Note- do not use the program code for your Master’s to apply for a different area. It will not work! Program codes identify specific programs (i.e. Do not use the code for the Literacy Program to apply for a professional certificate in Biology).

For those applying for a professional certificate in the area in which they have completed their Bachelor’s at SUNY Cortland and did their Master’s degree in the same content or certification area.

  1. Go to TEACH and click “Apply for Certificate.” You can only apply for one certificate at a time.
  2. Go through the drop downs; select “Classroom Teacher” for “Area of Interest.”
  3. Select the drop downs related to your certification area, then the last option will be “Professional Certificate.”
  4. Obtain the program code here if you completed your Master’s at SUNY Cortland. If you completed your Master’s at another institution, you must contact that institution to get the correct program code. The fee will be $50.
  5. If your program was in the same area as only one of your initial certificates (i.e. you completed Inclusive Childhood Education as a Bachelor’s and did Students with Disabilities for a Master’s), see the instructions for “different content or certification area” (in this example, the different area would be the Childhood Education).

COVID-19 Impacts

edTPA Alternative:

If you are a candidate who completed student teaching between January 1, 2020 and August 31, 2022, you are eligible to take the ATS-W, a written test, in place of the edTPA. The ATS-W evaluates your knowledge of teaching, including student development and learning, instruction and assessment, and the professional environment.

You can register for the ATS-W through NYSTCE. The ATS-W is offered at the elementary level (test 090) and at the secondary level (091). For individuals in programs crossing multiple developmental spans (Pre-K- 12), you can complete either exam; you do not need to do both.

The list of eligible candidates will be sent to NYSED by Dean Andrea Lachance at the conclusion of each of the impacted semesters. If you pursue this option, when you have paid your fees for the initial certificate(s), have a college recommendation, and having a passing score for the ATS-W, email examsafetynet@nysed.gov to have the exam applied to your application. Include last 4 of your social security number, date of birth, and name as it matches TEACH.

Emergency COVID-19 Certificate:

The Emergency COVID-19 Certificate is designed to give candidates more time to complete exams if all other requirements for certification are met. The deadline to apply is 9/1/2021, valid for two years.

There is no cost for the Emergency COVID-19 Certificate. However, you must first apply and pay for all of your non-emergency certificate(s) prior to applying for the Emergency certificate.

The only pathway for the Emergency COVID-19 Certificate is “Individual Evaluation.” You will not have a program code. It will take a few weeks to process your application. A school district can expedite an application on your behalf after it been on file for at least 2 weeks.

If you have completed all other requirements for your other certificates EXCEPT for the certification exams, the Emergency certificate will be issued in TEACH.

The status of your other certificates will remain as “Pending” until you complete your exams.  The Emergency COVID-19 Certificate does not count as a valid base certificate for pursuing additional classroom teaching certificates. 

Additional Certificates

Students and alumni may be interested in applying for additional certificates or extensions due to wanting to teach multiple subjects, different grade levels, or work with specific populations. Additional certificates can also be helpful for those considering different Master’s degree options.

Once you have a valid certificate in NYS (initial, professional, or permanent), you can begin this process. NYS has a series of pathways for obtaining additional certificates. Most commonly, you will go through the “Additional Classroom Teaching Certificate (Must hold a valid certificate)” pathway or “Individual Evaluation” for extensions.

We advise using the “Search Certification Requirements” tool to determine the requirements for obtaining a specific additional certificate or making an appointment with Career Services for help with understanding these requirements.

In most cases, obtaining additional certificates will require completing additional coursework, workshops and/or testing.   Additional pedagogy courses must be taken at a four year college that offers teacher preparation programs or at a community college where the courses can be transferred to a teacher preparation college. Additional coursework does not need to be taken at SUNY Cortland. A great resource for identifying appropriate coursework that applies to additional certifications is the NYSUT Education and Learning Trust.

Below is a list of requirements for some of the most common additional certifications which our alumni seek.

  1. Adding on an adolescent (grades 7-12) content area certificate (such as math, English, social studies, etc.):
    1. You will often need 30 credit hours of that particular area (see the “Certification Requirements” tool for parameters).
    2. The Content Specialty Test for that area.
    3. If you are an Early Childhood and Childhood, Inclusive Early Childhood, or Inclusive Childhood Education adding on this area, you will also need 6 credit hours of adolescent development
  2. Adding on Students with Disabilities title (or different grade levels for teaching students with disabilities):
    1. Make sure you have 6 credit hours of “Historical and Social Sciences,”6 credit hours of “Scientific Processes (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics),” and 6 credit hours of “Mathematical Processes.”
    2. Four pedagogical courses:
      1. “Foundations of Special Education- Students with Disabilities”
      2. “Assessment, Diagnosis, and Evaluation of Students with Disabilities”
      3. “Curriculum and Instruction for Students with Disabilities”
      4. “Managing the Environment for Students with Disabilities”
    3. 6 credit hours of coursework specific to the development of children in the grade level of the certificate (i.e. Early Childhood, Childhood, Middle Childhood, or Adolescent). You may already have these. But if you are adding a different grade level from your original certificate, this is important.
    4. Multi-Subject Exam for the specific developmental/grade level.
    5. Content Specialty Test for Students with Disabilities.
    6. Autism Workshop (if you do not have a college recommendation in Students with Disabilities).
  3. An adolescent education student/alum wanting to teach younger grades 5 and 6 (with a valid 7-12 certificate):
    1. All of these are applied for through “Individual Evaluation” and either the “Initial Extension Annotation” or “Professional Extension Annotation” depending on what your valid certificate is.
    2. 6 credit hours of Middle Childhood Education Coursework:
      1. “Early Adolescent Development”
      2. “Instructional Strategies in Middle Childhood Education”
    3. For foreign languages, there is a grades 1-6 extension as well; the only requirement other than a valid certificate is a 3 credit hour course in “Teaching a Language Other than English- Childhood Education.”
  4. Adding TESOL:
    1. Coursework in “Linguistics.”
    2. Coursework in “English Grammar.”
    3. 12 credit hours in languages other than English (including ASL). These 12 credits do not have to be in all the same language. 
    4. 6 credit hours in “Methods of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.”
    5. Content Specialty Test for ESOL.
  5. Adding on Health:
    1. 30 credit hours in Health coursework.
    2. Content Specialty Test for Health.
  6. Adding on the General Science 7-12 Extension:
    1. You apply through “Individual Evaluation” and either the “Initial Extension Annotation” or “Professional Extension Annotation” depending on what your valid certificate is.
    2. 18 credit hours in at least two other sciences that are not your valid certificate (combined).

Please note, the information above is meant to provide general guidance for pursuing additional certificates.  NYSED has full discretion for approving any and all coursework for additional certificates.   When applying for additional certificates, all transcripts must be sent to NYSED for their review. There are no program codes for this process.

Job Search Resources

Who should I contact if I have a problem or questions?