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Not certified but want to teach?

Alternative certification lets you earn your teaching certificate and a salary at the same time. Get our step-by-step guide!

Get the Alternative Certification GuideFind Other Certification Options
A future NY teacher sitting at a desk with a pen in hand. She is looking up at an illustration of the Alternative Certification guide.

New York teachers are more in demand than ever. And if you have a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to start your teaching career sooner than you think.

We’ll go over the steps to get started with alternative certification.

Alternative vs. Traditional Teacher Certification

In New York, you can get certified to teach through either a traditional teaching program or an alternative certification program.

A Transitional Certificate is the special permit you’ll need to start teaching through an alternative certification program.

Steps to Alternative Certification in New York

There are a few steps to getting started with alternative certification. Our (free!) Alternative Certification Guide has more details! Here’s the short version:
  1. 1

    Make sure you’re eligible.

    To qualify for alternative certification, you’ll need to:

    • Plan to teach a shortage area subject. 
    • Have at least 30 college credits in the subject you plan to teach. Most alternative certification programs require a GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Pass required tests. You’ll likely need to take the:
      • Graduate Record Examination.
      • Education All Students Test.
      • Content Specialty Test in your teaching subject. (2)
  2. 2

    Apply to teaching programs and enroll.

    You can apply to certificate-only teaching programs or programs that combine a teaching certificate and master’s degree. 

    Before you enroll, make sure to confirm your program works with alternative certification teacher candidates. You can find programs with the TEACH New York Program Explorer.

  3. 3

    Apply for teaching jobs in a New York school district.

    Your teaching program may be able to help you with this step! Your teaching job must be in the same grade level and subject area that you plan to teach once you’re fully certified.

    Where should you look for a job? Check out the OLAS Jobs website to get started.

  4. 4

    Apply for a Transitional Certificate.

    Once you’ve been accepted into a teaching program and secured a job, you’ll apply for your Transitional Certificate. This is the permit that allows you to teach while you complete your alternative certification program. 

    You’ll apply through the NY.gov TEACH account system (this is different from TeachNY!). You’ll also need to complete a background check. 

Get the Free Guide

An open laptop. On the screen is the cover of the TeachNY Alternative Teacher Certification Guide.

The TeachNY Alternative Certification Guide has everything you need to know! Get details about eligibility requirements, steps to get started and application tools, all in one place. 

It’s all free.

Get the Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions about alternative certification? We can help!

What’s next

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Find undergrad, graduate and alternative certification teaching programs in New York.

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  1. Pathways to Certification: Which Pathway is Right for Me? Office of Teaching Initiatives: New York State Education Department. https://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/rightpathway.html
  2. Alternative Teacher Preparation Program - Frequently Asked Questions. New York State Education Department. https://www.nysed.gov/college-university-evaluation/alternative-teacher-preparation-program-frequently-asked-questions.

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