Certification Help

is complicated.

Our union can help.

Certification is Complicated. 

We Can Help. 

Classroom teachers need to achieve and maintain a professional certification in New York State. 

After meeting certain requirements, new educators are granted initial certification. Educators then have five years to earn professional certification. 

To maintain this professional certification, educators are required to complete 100 hours of Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE) coursework every five years. 

This process can be confusing and overwhelming. Each educator's situation is slightly different.

Fortunately, our union has an office dedicated to providing members with individualized answers to certification questions. 


Certification Resources

There are many resources through NYSUT and the State Education Department to help you understand certification requirements and stay in compliance. 

Resources at NYSUT.ORG

Certification Resources for Classroom Teachers

Understand the requirements to move from initial to professional certification, options for obtaining additional certificates and CTLE requirements to maintain your certificate(s).  

Certification Resources for Teacher Assistants and School Personnel

Understand the requirements for a teaching assistant certificate, how to progress from Level I to Level II and III and CTLE requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

We receive hundreds of questions per year about certification. These are some of the most frequently asked, and will likely get you the answer you need.

Contact NYSUT For Certification Help

If you can't find the answers on our website, submit your question to our staff and we'll get you the information you need.

Resources at the New York State Education Department

TEACH System

TEACH is the SED's online portal that allows you to apply for certification, track the status of your application and get other compliance-related services.


SED offers a dynamic search feature that will allow you to enter information such as grade level and subject area to determine your specific certification requirements.

Types of Certificates

Initial Certification

The initial certification requirements vary depending on your level of education and the subject of your undergraduate or post-graduate degree. Generally speaking, these are the requirements for obtaining an initial certification in New York:

  • Content course work

  • Pedagogical course work

  • Field experience and student teaching/practical

  • State certification exams

  • Required workshops

  • Fingerprinting


If you’re reading this, you probably already have your initial certification. However, an increasing number of new teachers are seeking additional initial certifications. Having more than one type of initial certification provides flexibility and will increase your marketable skills. 

Once you have received your initial certificate, you can begin teaching and have five years to complete your professional certification.

Professional Certification

Holders of initial certificates are expected to progress to the professional teaching certificate, within the stated five-year period, by completing the requirements for professional certification:

  • Successful completion of an appropriate master's degree

  • Three years of teaching experience

  • One year of teaching with a mentor

  • Completion of the 6-hour DASA training workshop


What are the requirements for the professional certificate?
Once I have my Initial certificate, how many years do I have to complete the requirements for a Professional certificate?

Ongoing Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE)

Ongoing Certification and CTLE Requirements

Joining the ranks of New York's educators takes rigor and perseverance. But it's that commitment to excellence that makes our teachers and support staff among the nation's best.

Professionally certified teachers and Level III Teaching Assistants are required to complete 100 Continuing Teacher & Leader Education (CTLE) hours during each five (5)-year registration cycle.


CTLE Courses Available

Quick Reminder! NYSUT's Education & Learning Trust offers a wide variety of discounted courses, many of which satisfy CTLE requirements. 

How to Get Certified

There are different ways to obtain a teaching certificate in New York State. The three most common methods include:

Option 1 —

Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at a New York State college or university.

Learn More

Option 2 —

Complete an accredited teacher preparation program in another state or U.S. territory.

Learn More

Option 3 —

Accumulate courses on your own and then apply for the New York State teaching certificate.

Learn More