Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in New York

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New York is one of the most populated states in the U.S. There are over a million students attending public schools taught by 89,000 educators. About 70% of these students are in grades K-8 and the remainder in high school. If you plan on teaching English Language Arts in New York, these statistics may help guide you in your career choice as you consider what grades you might want to teach.

New York schools employ the Common Core (CC) Learning Standards in order to provide a high-quality curriculum to its students. Part of the CC program includes English Language Arts. As a prospective new teacher in New York, you will find that your job must align itself with the program’s goals. One of the criteria for CC is a well-trained teacher. If you plan on teaching in New York schools, follow the general steps below in order to prepare you for this new career.

Complete Your College Education
Pass State Teaching Exams
Apply for a Teaching Certification in New York
Renew Your Certification



Step 1. Complete Your College Education

Obtaining a teaching license in New York will take a minimum of approximately four years. The requisite bachelor’s teaching program will offer you all the necessary tools in order to become a teacher in New York public schools. There are many online programs, colleges and universities in the state that offer teacher training programs.

When the time comes for you to decide how to structure your degree, there are several things to consider when choosing a program, for instance:

  • Which program will best help you meet the CC training goals?
  • Would it be better to earn the minimum bachelor’s degree or optimize your earning power by seeking a master’s degree?
  • What school will fit your lifestyle?
  • Is an online program or brick and mortar school better for your needs?

Once you decide where you want to go to school, the next consideration is the grade you plan to teach. New York Department of Education breaks down teaching certification qualification by grade levels. Each group will have specific training programs. The categories are:

Each of these divisions in age groups will offer different types of training, as each age level will have unique learning needs.

A basic bachelor’s degree with a pedagogical program will typically be just under 130 semester units. The units are broken into lower and upper division courses as well as a teacher-training period. The latter will include time spent in a class as an intern teaching students under the supervision of a mentor.

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Step 2. Pass State Teaching Exams

As a prospective teacher, you will be required to pass a series of state exams. The New York Teacher Certification Exams are broken down into the following categories:

  • Educating All Students (EAS)
  • Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)
  • EdTPA
  • Content Specialty Test(s) (CST) English Language Arts

Each test that you take will depend on which grade level you will be certified in, as well as what the current requirements are at the time of testing. State test requirements may change over time. To insure that you are taking the proper tests, it is a good idea to verify the necessary exams by visiting the The New York Teacher Certification Exams website.

Registering for the Exams

Once you determine which series of tests is right for you, you will want to complete the registration process and set a testing date. The general steps are:

  • Create an account on the NYSTCE website
  • The Evaluation Systems will email you your Authorization to Test
  • Once you receive your Authorization to Test, login to your account and select “register now.”
  • Your Authorization to Test will be valid for one year only



Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certification in New York

Once you have met the educational and testing requirements, you are ready to apply for certification. The title of your initial certification will indicate the subject/grade level you will teach. The categories are as follows:

  • Early Childhood Education birth-grade 2
  • Childhood Education grades K-6
  • Middle School grades 5-9 English Language Arts
  • English Language Arts grade 7-12

To apply by mail for your certification you will follow these basic steps:

  • Fill in an application
  • Complete a background check
  • Complete a fingerprint set
  • Compile any supporting documents verifying your qualifications (transcripts, letter of recommendation, test scores, etc.)
  • Fee payment in the form of a bank check (no personal checks)

Mail all the above to:

New York State Education Department
Office of Teaching Initiatives, Room 5N-EB
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234

Apply online

If you prefer to apply online, you can do so by creating a TEACH account. Here you will also be able to check the status of your application. You will still need to send all supporting documents by mail even if you apply online.



Step 4. Renew Your Certification

Once you have earned your initial certification, you will need to renew it. There are Professional Development requirements you must satisfy in order to go from your initial certification to the next level—Professional Certification.

You will need to complete 175 hours of Professional Development (PD) units to qualify for the Professional Certification. This will be a requirement every five years. In order to satisfy the 175 units of PD you must take courses that have been allowed as activities for PD. You may use a form that will allow you to keep track of your hours and have your district sign off on the units you acquire.



New York English Teacher Salaries

As of 2014 the base pay for an entry-level English teacher was $48,445 in New York City. When he has been teaching at a NYC school for five years, he will also receive a longevity increment of $1,020 each year. If he had continued with his education, he could be at $60,181 by completing an approved master’s program by the time he reached year five.

In Buffalo it is a similar scenario. The only difference is the addition of more steps allowed for further increases in education. Buffalo, while allowing additional salary increases for a master’s degree, will also increase salaries for teachers willing to add college credits that may or may not add up to a diploma. The step increments are awarded for every additional ten units you achieve beyond your degree (up to sixty units) and you may be paid approximately $1,000 for each set of ten. There is also a longevity incentive of $915 for teachers who remain within the district for a set number of years.

Poughkeepsie on the other hand only has two divisions: teachers who have bachelor’s degrees and teachers who have earned a master’s. From there salary increases are about longevity. An entry-level teacher in Poughkeepsie with a bachelor’s will earn $49,675 and with a master’s, $56,509. They also offer an incentive for anyone who earns a doctorate. The additional salary increase is a flat $4,766.

Albany has a step system, but not divided based on longevity and certain training requirements. The entry-level teacher in Albany will earn $36, 725 at level one. They will be able to max out at $43,747 if they qualify for level four.

As you can see, every school district has its own method of paying teacher salaries in New York. Each one will typically have some type of increase for education, length of time teaching, and participation in certain qualified training programs.

To view more salary information for New York teachers in other metro areas see the chart below:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Albany-Schenectady-Troy NY
Binghamton NY
Buffalo-Niagara Falls NY
Nassau-Suffolk NY Metropolitan Division
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-PA
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown NY
Rochester NY
Syracuse NY
Utica-Rome NY
Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released
Central New York nonmetropolitan area
Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area

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