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 September 15, 2021.
New York has two levels of classroom teaching certificates: Initial and Professional Certification
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. If you have not created your TEACH account and need to do so, visit the NYSED Office of Teaching Initiatives TEACH Online Services page.
Information on certifications, fingerprints, test scores and more will be under “Account Information” in TEACH. You will not be mailed a document or notified that your certificate has been issued. This information will be noted in TEACH. To check the status of your TEACH account and any applications, visit the NYSED Office of Teaching Initiatives website that offers instructions on checking your account.
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.
NOTE REGARDING LATE CERTIFICATION APPLICATIONS: In general, students are advised to apply for their institutional recommendation for certification via the TEACH Authorization Form when they graduate. Because state regulations for certification do change over time, students who put off applying for their teaching certificates may be required to complete additional requirements including new exams, workshops, and/or coursework. This may result in a delay in gaining certification and/or the payment of additional fees.
Please see the Guidance Document on Delayed Certification for more details.
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.
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.
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.
When applying for certification on TEACH using the Approved Teacher Preparation Program pathway, you will be asked for your program code and years of attendance. This information is available on the TEACH Program Code Lookup and Information Sheets webpage.
You do not need to finish certification exams to graduate, but you must pass all of them to become certified.
Exam scores only show up in TEACH as pass or fail.
For most teacher education candidates, these tests are required for NYS certification:
If you completed student teaching between Spring 2020 and Spring 2022, please see the “COVID-19” Impacts section
(To be used after the completion of your program in May, August, or December.)
Once you have obtained your initial certificate(s), you have five years from the initial certificate’s effective date, which is February 1 or September 1 of EACH year, to finish requirements for getting your professional certificate(s).
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:
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 your experience is 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.
For those who are applying for a professional certificate in the area of their first initial certificate and did their Master’s degree in a different content or certification area.
For those applying for a professional certificate in the area in which they have completed their first initial certificate and did their Master’s degree in the same content or certification area.
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 have a passing score for the ATS-W, email email@example.com 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.
The Emergency COVID-19 Certificate is designed to give candidates more time to complete exams if all other requirements for certification are met.
The certification requirement deadlines for the Emergency COVID-19 certificate have been extended from September 1, 2021 to September 1, 2022. For example, the application deadline for this two-year emergency certificate is now September 1, 2022. Individuals who applied for the Emergency COVID-19 certificate prior to September 14, 2021 will automatically have their certificate requirement deadlines extended to September 1, 2022.
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.
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.
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.
Who should I contact if I have a problem or questions?
NOTE: If you have a case-specific question that is not answered by the information in the overview menu items above, please submit your question to Career Services for assistance using the Teacher Certification Questions Formstack Form.