Becoming a Teaching Assistant

Teaching Assistant Positions General Information

Niskayuna Central School District employs Teaching Assistants in a variety of capacities throughout the district at all educational levels in all schools. Teaching Assistants generally assist with instruction in various classroom settings. Typically Teaching Assistants provide assistance to one or more special needs students to help them achieve their educational goals. Because Teaching Assistants assist with providing instruction, they must be certified by the New York State Education Department. In addition to certification, some Teaching Assistants are required to obtain additional training (provided by the District) tailored to the specific needs of the position. This document is intended to provide guidance on how to become certified. Individuals who do not possess a Teaching Assistant certificate, may be employed by the school district on as a daily substitute at approved substitute TA rate while they take the steps necessary to become certified. The District will reimburse the costs associated with becoming certified. The certification process must be completed within 40 school days of hire. Once certification is obtained, individuals are placed in an appropriate TA position within the district.

Application Instructions

1. Apply online through the state’s Office of Teaching Initiatives for a Teaching Assistant certificate – Click on the “Teach Online Services” icon. If you do not have an account, you must create one.

2. Once the login is complete, click “Apply for Certificate.”

3. The area of interest for Teaching Assistant is “Other School Service.” The subject area is “Teaching Assistant.” The grade level is “Pre-K-12 All Grades.” The type of certificate is “Level I.” Finally, select the Capital Region BOCES to review your application.


All applicants for a Teaching Assistant certificate and/or employment in the Niskayuna Central School District must undergo a fingerprint supported criminal history background check before working for the school district as a Teaching Assistant (even as a substitute). This background check usually takes a few days, but can take longer if there is an issue that requires further review by NYSED. The Office of Human Resources makes the arrangements for the fingerprinting process. Any questions about the process should be directed to the Office of Human Resources.

Other Requirements

  • H.S. Diploma or GED – All individuals must have a high school diploma or a GED to obtain a teaching assistant certification.
  • DASA (Dignity for All Students) – The DASA course is a 6-hour in-person training workshop. Some providers are: Capital Region BOCES (Cost $80), Washington Saratoga Warren Hamilton Essex BOCES (Cost $100), Galway Central School District (Cost $60).
  • Child Abuse – This is a 2-hour course that may be taken online at your own computer.
  • School Violence/S.A.V.E. – This is a 2-hour course that may be taken online. Some providers are: Greater Southern Tier BOCES (Cost $23) and private providers such as (Cost $50) and (Cost $49.95).
  • ATAS Exam – All individuals must take and pass the Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills exam. This is an online test given at certain local testing locations. For further information, please visit: (Cost $71).
  • College Coursework – College credits are needed for future renewals of the Teaching Assistant certification. The Level 1 Teaching Assistant Certification is valid for 3 years, and may be renewed one time for 3 more years. In order to obtain a Level II Teaching Assistant Certification, an individual must complete 9 college credits. The Level II certificate is valid for 3 years. In order to obtain a Level III certificate, an individual must complete an additional 9 college credits. **Transcripts must have a date of birth (or portion thereof), the last four digits of the SSN of the applicant, and the name on the transcript must match the name on the certification application.**


For further information on how the become a Teaching Assistant, please contact:
Niskayuna Central School District Office of Human Resources: (518) 377-4666, ext. 50740
Capital Region BOCES – Regional Certification Officer: (518) 862-4942