Looking to change your career path? Teaching may be right for you!

As a kid, did you want to be a teacher when you grew up? As an adult, that might still be a career option for you.

Whether you are heading to college, already have a degree or are considering a shift in careers, the New York State Education Department has multiple pathways to help qualified candidates enter the teaching profession.

With anticipated teacher shortages in a variety of key subject areas, now may be the perfect time to consider a career in teaching.

In addition to the traditional route to certification, there are four alternative pathways to teaching certificates in New York (Transitional A, B, C and G). These pathways are designed for second-career professionals and those who have already earned a college degree in a subject area they want to teach.

Interested in pursuing an alternative pathway to teaching?

The Transitional A, B and C pathways begin with enrollment in an Alternative Teacher Certification (ATC) program at a New York college. Once you complete the initial coursework in the ATC program, you earn the transitional certificate. The transitional certificate allows you to teach in the classroom while completing the remaining required coursework for the initial certificate. Often, college faculty leading the ATC program guide you through all the steps you’ll need to take to earn your initial certificate.

The Transitional G pathway can be completed without enrolling in a college program.

A note about the initial teaching certificate

This is the same certificate teachers on the traditional pathway earn to begin teaching in New York. Once a teaching candidate receives the initial certificate, the basic requirements are the same, regardless of pathway.

Find your path to teaching

If you are a high school or college student…

  • Traditional – Initial Certificate: The traditional pathway involves enrolling in a teaching preparation program at a public or private college or university in New York or another state. In New York, when a candidate graduates with his or her master’s degree, the college or university recommends the candidate to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for initial certification. Candidates who graduate from colleges or universities outside of New York apply for their initial teaching certificate directly through NYSED. In addition to the standard requirements, candidates who complete the traditional pathway to teaching must also pass the edTPA, which was formerly known as the Teacher Performance Assessment.

If you have extensive work experience in a trade or industry…

  • Transitional A – Career and Technical Education: This pathway is for those who have been offered a job teaching career and technical education subjects to students in grades 7-12 at a public school or Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). Examples include auto repair, cosmetology, construction trades, culinary arts and some health sciences such as nursing. Most Transitional A candidates have an associate’s degree and at least two years of work experience in their chosen fields, or a high school diploma and at least four years of work experience. Candidates must also pass the state’s Communication and Quantitative Skills Test (CQST).

If you already have a college degree…

  • Transitional B – Bachelor’s Degree in Subject Area: This pathway is for those interested in teaching the same subject they majored in when they were in college. Examples include math, various sciences, and foreign languages. Candidates complete an alternative teacher certification program before earning their Transitional B teaching certificates. Then they can teach in the classroom for up to three years while they complete the rest of the requirements for their permanent teaching certificates.
  • Transitional C – Graduate Degree in Subject Area: This pathway is similar to the Transitional B pathway, but it is more intensive and is designed for those who have already earned a master’s, graduate or professional degree. Candidates must commit to teaching in a school district for three years while they complete their required coursework through an alternative teacher certification program.
  • Transitional G – STEM: This pathway is for college professors with advanced degrees in mathematics or one of the sciences who have at least two years of experience teaching that subject at the college level. Candidates do not have to complete additional college coursework. If they successfully teach in a K-12 school for two years, they are eligible for their initial teaching certificate.

If you already hold a teaching certificate issued by another state…

  • Interstate Reciprocity: New York state allows many candidates who hold teaching credentials issued by other states to obtain their initial teaching certificate in New York through interstate reciprocity agreements. In most cases, a candidate must have completed at least three successful years of teaching in the other state within the past five years. Candidates must also complete New York’s required workshops and the fingerprint clearance process.
  • National Board Certification: Candidates who possess a certificate through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) need only to complete the fingerprint clearance process and required workshops before obtaining their initial teaching certificates in New York.

Standard requirements

No matter which pathway is right for you, all candidates for teaching certificates in New York state must do the following:

  • Pass the state’s Educating All Students (EAS) exam
  • Pass the state’s Content Specialty Test (CST) in the subject the candidate wants to teach
  • Complete the fingerprint clearance process
  • Complete these required workshops, offered periodically throughout the state:
    • Child abuse identification
    • School violence prevention and intervention
    • Coursework or training in the needs of children with autism
    • Training in harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and discrimination in schools: prevention and intervention

Teacher shortages

According to a 2017 survey of superintendents conducted by the New York State School Boards Association, school districts in New York state are experiencing teacher shortages and struggling to find qualified applicants in the following subject areas:

  • Science
  • Special education
  • Foreign language
  • Technology
  • Math
  • Library media specialist
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
    • This is also sometimes called English as a New Language (ENL) or English Language Learning (ELL)
  • Home economics

Learn more

Discover the alternative teacher certification programs in your area.

The New York State Education Department has a comprehensive list of all approved colleges and universities offering ATC programs: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/spr/ATCcontactlist.htm

There’s also an online database of the New York colleges and universities offering ATC programs for both Transitional B and Transitional C pathways that can be searched based on your pathway: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/teachalt.html

Find more information about the pathways to teaching and which one might be right for you: www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/rightpathway.html