Become a Teacher in New York

New York Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $72,930
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $79,720
Vacation Weeks per Year 15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 13.22
Expenditure per Pupil $19,529


Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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New York Teacher Shortage Areas

New York City Public Schools Only

  • Arts (All Grades)-Dance, Music, Theatre, Visual Arts
  • English (Grades 7–12)
  • Health Education (All Grades)
  • Languages Other Than English (All Grades)
  • Library Media Specialist (All Grades)
  • Reading and Literacy (All Grades)
  • Sciences (Grades 7–12)
  • Bilingual Education
  • Career and Technical Education
  • Special Education (Not Bilingual)-Middle/Secondary Grades
  • Special Education (Bilingual)-All Grades

Teacher Shortage information was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listings for 2016–2017, and was determined by examining the most recent data about unfilled teaching positions; positions filled by teachers certified by irregular, provisional, temporary, or emergency certification; and teachers teaching in subject areas other than their area of preparation.

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Steps to Becoming a Teacher in New York

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/26/16

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of New York, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a New York teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your New York Teaching Credential

To earn a New York teaching credential you must complete the required undergraduate coursework and testing, as well as an accredited teacher certification program.

New York offers two types of teacher certificates. The Initial Certificate is valid for the first five years of teaching, and the Professional Certificate is renewable every five years. Initial and Professional certificates specify the grade level and subject you are able to teach. A number of additional supplementary and transitional certificates are available for alternative teacher certification candidates (those who are not certified via the traditional teacher certification route), teachers being certified in additional subjects, and teachers in areas of shortage. Visit the Education Department's Types of Certificates page for a full description of all available certificates.

Learn more about earning a teaching credential.


Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in New York

All states require, at the minimum, a bachelor’s degree to become a teacher. New York additionally requires 30 semester hours of subject-specific coursework (in the subject you want to teach), in addition to general and pedagogical requirements. Enrollment in and completion of an approved New York State Teacher Preparation Program will satisfy all credit requirements. To search for specific requirements to become a teacher, visit the Department of Education's search page.


Step Two: New York Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher certification programs are available both online and on-site. They usually involve an educational theory and classroom skills seminar along with a fieldwork component that includes student teaching. The New York Education Department allows you to search for approved teacher preparation and certification programs in New York State.


Step Three: Required Tests for New York

Most states require tests to show competency in basic skills as well as in the desired subject area. In New York, the basic skills component is fulfilled by the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST), pedagogical knowledge is assessed through the Educating All Students (EAS) test and edTPA, and the subject area component is fulfilled by the appropriate Content Specialty Test (CST).

Read more about teacher certification tests.

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

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Alternative Teacher Certification in New York

New York has an Alternative Teacher Preparation Program targeted at mid-career and career-changing professionals. This program consists of an introductory section followed by certification tests and then mentored, paid employment as a teacher. New York City also offers the New York City Teaching Fellows program, which is a subsidized master’s degree fellowship targeted at increasing the number of highly trained teachers in the NYC public school system.

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Teacher Certification Reciprocity in New York

Interstate teacher certification reciprocity is a program that allows teachers who are certified in one state to teach in another state without having to go through all the steps required to earn a teacher certification in that state. To find out the other state teaching licenses that can be used in New York, visit the reciprocity page. Find out more about the New York Completion of a College Teacher Education Program in Another U.S. State pathway. If you have more specific questions about your teaching situation, please contact the New York State Education Department.

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New York Teaching Jobs

Jobs for all of New York State can be found at the New York Online Application System for Educators. The New York City Department of Education also provides a step-by-step guide to getting a teaching job in New York City.

Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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New York Teacher Salary and Incentives

The average elementary school teacher in New York makes $72,939 per year, and the average secondary school teacher makes $79,720 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. New York is one of the highest-paying states in which to teach, and also offers differential pay for teachers working in high-needs schools or shortage subjects. For more salary information, take a look at the New York City salary schedule.

Learn more about teacher salaries.

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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New York Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Benefits attached to education and teaching jobs can vary in New York State. New York City currently provides full-time teachers with health insurance coverage. Retirement in New York State is handled by the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System. Retirement in New York City is handled by the New York City Teachers’ Retirement System and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System.

Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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Financial Aid in New York

New York residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant that gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area.

Learn more about how to finance your master's degree.

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Professional Development for Teachers in New York

New York State professional development programs include teacher mentorship programs and the NYS Teacher Resource and Computer Training Centers. New York City offers in-service courses for teachers through the NYC After School Professional Development Program. Credits earned through this program can be counted towards both salary differentials and professional development requirements. Programs are also available to paraprofessional educators, including the Summer Stipend Program, through which paraprofessionals can receive a financial incentive for college credits earned over the summer.

Teachers holding a Professional Certificate in New York must complete at least 175 hours of professional development activities during each 5-year licensing period.

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Benefits of a Master's Degree in New York

Experience isn't the only important aspect of measuring the ability to teach. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures have been put in place, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on results in the classroom. A master's degree in the field of education can give teachers more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience alongside a mentor. After completing a Master's program, teachers are often able to achieve better results in the classroom and may have more job security and receive higher pay.

For teachers in New York City with the same number of years of experience, a Master’s degree leads to an average salary increase of around $8,800 per year.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

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