The New York State Teacher Certification System

New York State adopted new requirements for individuals who apply for certification after February 1, 2004. Under the new regulations, candidates who complete an approved teacher education program will be eligible for an initial license and must earn an approved masters degree within five years in order to qualify for a professional license. This professional license will not be valid for life, and teachers will have to satisfy a continuing professional education requirement in order to maintain their license. Additional information on state certification requirements can be found on the following website:

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please note that state certification requirements are constantly being revised, and teacher candidates must satisfy the requirements in effect at the time of their certification application. It is the responsibility of the teacher candidate to keep abreast of any relevant changes. Certification requirements can be found on the NYSED official web site:

Initial State Licensure

The Stony Brook Teacher Education Program is an approved New York State program. If you complete our program, the University will recommend you for initial licensure, which is ultimately granted by the New York State Department of Education, not Stony Brook. In addition to completing the Stony Brook program requirements described above, teacher candidates must also satisfy the following New York State requirements to receive the initial license. These state certification requirements are valid as of the beginning of the current academic year.

  1. Credits in Content Area
    • Undergraduate: completion of requirements for academic major with a minimum of 36 credits in the specific cognate field.
    • Graduate: 12-15 additional credits in content area through MA or MAT programs.
  2. Education Courses
    • Completion of all education courses required by the individual programs.
    • 100 hours of pre-service clinical experience (at least 15 hours of which include a focus on understanding the needs of students with disabilities or special needs).
    • One semester (75 days) of supervised student teaching.
  3. One year of a language other than English at the college level (TESOL requires 2 years of language study).
  4. New York State requires all teacher candidates who are applying for initial certification to pass several standardized tests: Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST), Educating All Students Test (EAS), a relevant Content Specialty Test (CST), and the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). Students should visit the following web link to get an overview of the fields of knowledge assessed on these tests, and for the most up-to-date information pertaining to these requirements ( It is also recommended that students contact their program director for guidance in this process.
  5. Completion of Child Abuse; Substance Abuse; School Violence Prevention; Autism Recognition, Referral and Control; and Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Prevention and Intervention (DASA - Dignity for All Students Act) seminars.
  6. Fingerprinting*
  7. In order to receive an institutional recommendation, all students must submit a FERPA release form and information sheet to the Teacher Certification Office. This is mandated by Federal Law as Stony Brook may not release any information on a prospective candidate for license without this written release. Candidates for license must also access the TEACH online system to apply for license. This online application is in addition to and distinct from any information imparted by the University on a student’s behalf to NYSED.
  8. New York Education Law now permits Non-resident Aliens to qualify for an initial license. Individuals with United States Citizenship or Permanent Resident status may qualify for a Permanent or Professional New York State Teaching Certificate. For additional information, please visit:

Please note that in many cases Stony Brook requirements are more rigorous than the basic New York State requirements. Candidates are required to comply with Stony Brook regulations in order to complete the program.

Professional License

After obtaining the Initial License, teachers will have 5 years to satisfy the requirements for the Professional License. To qualify for a Professional License, you must have:

  1. Satisfied the requirements for the Initial License.
  2. Three years of successful teaching experience in a public or non-public school. Experience may be in any grade or subject in the same certificate category (classroom teaching) in order to satisfy the requirement. However, experience in either of the other two certificate categories (pupil personnel service or administration/supervision) may not be used to satisfy the experience requirement for a Professional certificate in a classroom teaching title.
  3. Completed a mentored experience. The first year of employment in a public school district under your initial certificate must include a mentored experience, unless you already have two years of prior teaching experience.
  4. A functionally relevant Master’s or higher degree that has been awarded by a regionally accredited institution of higher education or from an institution authorized by the Regents to confer degrees.

Application for Professional Licenses after obtaining an Initial License through a “registered and approved” program in an institutional setting must be made directly to NYSED or through BOCES to NYSED. Application forms may be obtained at the following website:

To maintain the Professional License, teachers must complete 175 hours of in-service education every 5 years. Comprehensive information pertaining to professional development hours for professional certification can be found at the following website: : Please consult your employer to determine the types of experiences they deem to be acceptable for meeting this requirement. Also, please note that you are still required to pursue professional development hours even if you are not employed in a school.

* Currently, the State Education Department asks if applicants for certification have ever been convicted of a crime other than a minor traffic violation. Conviction does not automatically prevent a person from becoming a teacher. However, if you have an issue, you should consult with the New York State Education Department and/or an attorney before applying to a teacher education program.


The regional Board of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) offices are branches of the state government. They work with local school districts to provide services, such as occupational education and special education, which are too expensive or specialized for individual districts to provide on their own, and they also support local districts with administrative, professional development, and other services. The certification officers at the BOCES offices are authorized to evaluate credentials and recommend for certification, and they are extremely knowledgeable.

If you do wish to speak with someone at the BOCES office, contact the office for the area in which you reside.

Eastern Suffolk BOCES
201 Sunrise Highway
Patchogue, NY 11772
(631) 289-2200
Certification Officer
Nicole Cowan
(631) 687-3020
MTWF 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Western Suffolk BOCES
507 Deer Park Road
Dix Hills, NY 11746
(631) 549-4900
Certification Officers
Pat Mastrodomenico and Maryellen Bogdahn
(631) 549-4900 ext. 257
MTWF 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Note Different Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 8007
Huntington Station, NY 11746-9007
Nassau BOCES
71 Clinton Road
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 396-2500
Regional Certification Officer
Barbara Meskill
(516) 396-2368
M-F 8:30 am - 4:00 pm