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Navigating state teacher certification regulations can be confusing to veteran educators, let alone new teachers. Now is a good time to take stock of the progress you’re making toward your professional state certification.

You have five years from the date of your initial teaching certificate to fulfill the requirements for your professional certificate. You should make sure you’re keeping track of your completed requirements by logging into your TEACH account at the State Education Department website. Do not wait until your fifth year to apply for your professional certificate!

To get your professional certificate, you’ll need to show that you’ve completed the following requirements:

  • 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 mentoring experience
  • US citizenship or permanent residency

Your school’s human resources director must sign an OT-37 Verification of Employment form and send it to the state. Without this form, your professional certificate will not be issued.

If you want to claim teaching experience as a substitute teacher or in a district outside of New York State, you will have to submit written verification with a short letter on district letterhead. Get these letters as soon as possible and while people who knew you are still available.
Make sure to look at your college recommendations on your TEACH account before applying. If you were recommended for your professional certification, you will need the five digit program code to apply through a college-approved teacher preparation program. If you do not have a recommendation, you must apply through certificate progression and send proof of a completed Master’s program.

In your first year of teaching, you should receive mentoring by an experienced teacher. It’s your mentor’s responsibility to log 40 hours into the DOE mentoring system and you should see this reflected in your online TEACH account.

You will also need to complete a state-mandated course on child abuse identification, school violence prevention, the needs of children with autism and Dignity for All Students Act (DASA).

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