Q & A
A: Candidates applying for certification on or after May 1, 2014 or candidates who applied for certification on or before April 30, 2014 but did not meet all the requirements for an initial certificate on or before April 30, 2014, will be required to pass the following new exams in order to obtain an initial teaching certificate in New York: Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), Educating All Students Test (EAS), Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST), and the Revised Content Specialty Tests (CST). If you will be graduating in the May of 2014 or thereafter, do NOT take any of the current exams.
See notes below*
In addition to the new exams, candidates applying for initial or professional certificates after Jan. 1, 2014 will be required to fulfill the new Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) requirement unless you have applied and paid for an account with NYS before July 1, 2013 via:
- The Content Specialty Test (CST) is the only exam transferable toward meeting the new certification exam requirements,
- Candidates holding NYS initial certification prior to May 2014 will not be required to complete the edTPA or other new exams.
Please contact the Office of Teacher Education at email@example.com or at 212.678.3502 with questions or concerns or click on “Events and Workshops” for a list of workshops designed to introduce or fulfill the new requirements.
A: No, STATE LAW requires all persons to take a tuberculin (TB/PPD) test before entering the classroom.
A: Columbia University Health Services offers a test to insured students for free and for a fee of $60 for non-insured students. (Click here for link) OR you may go to your own personal physician. A TB Test is offered at no cost to all student teachers on TB Test Day at TC.
A: All students who will be student teaching need to be fingerprinted before student teaching unless unless they are an international student.
A: Register at the link below and then visit
There are 2 methods to obtain fingerprint clearance:
1) Visit the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) at 65 Court Street in Brooklyn. You will have to complete an OSPRA 104 Form to give consent to NYCDOE to release your fingerprint clearance status to the New York State Education Department (NYSED). Clearance takes 24-48 hours.
2) Pick up two fingerprint cards from Zankel, Room 411 and go to a police precinct or Columbia Public Saftey. Go to the New York State Education Department (NYSED website (CLICK HERE) for instructions regarding applying online. You will also have to complete an OSPRA 103 Packet to give consent to the NYSED to release your fingerprint clearance status to the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE).
Please refer to the “Fingerprinting” sheet for more information.
A: We recommend that you take/pass the "Academic Literacy Skills Test" (ALST) first. We recommend that you take/pass the "Educating All Students" (EAS), the REVISED "Content Specialty Test" (CST) and the edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) once you have student teaching experience. You should have taken/passed all exams at least 4-6 weeks prior to your graduation date. Please note that exams are NOT given on a monthly basis. To register online or for more information, go to the NYSTCE website at: www.nystce.nesinc.com.
A: Yes, NYSTCE exams are given in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington D.C. Please check the bulletin for current dates. Out-of-State test sites are only available once a year during the spring.
A: Kindly visit the NYSTCE site at: www.nystce.nesinc.com
A: No, if you have Initial Certification and wish to apply for Professional Certification.
Yes, if you have Provisional certification and wish to apply for Permanent Certification.
Please Note: Not all permanent certifications require an ATS-P (video). If unsure, kindly visit the NYSED Search Certification Requirements.
A: Certification makes you eligible to teach, but it does not supersede your visa status. You also need an appropriate work authorization to teach in the schools. One option for F-1 students is Optional Practical Training (OPT) which provides an employment authorization for a maximum of 12 months. See "F-1 Employment and Training" information at www.tc.columbia.edu/~international.
For information on work authorization sponsored by the NYC Dept. of Ed, contact the International Recruitment Office. Phone: (718) 935-5854.
One of the requirements for Initial certification is the study of a foreign language. Does this mean college study?
A: There are several ways to satisfy this requirement:
- Completion of a college course in a language other than English, as indicated on the college transcript. The course may be for any number of semester hours of credit.
- Satisfactory performance on a College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test in Spanish, French, or German.
- Passing performance on a proficiency exam offered by an institution of higher education’s foreign language department (verification required).
- Graduation from a higher education institution with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, in which the language of instruction was other than English.
A: Yes, American Sign Language is considered a language other than English.
A: Students enrolled in an approved teacher preparation programs who have never taught before usually obtain initial certification via institutional recommendation. Others (except Childhood Ed (1-6) and School Building Leaders) may choose to follow the individual pathway. Please see the next question for more details.
What is the difference between NYS- institutional recommendation (approved teacher preparation pathway) and individual evaluation pathway?
A: Institutional recommendation pathway is obtained when a student completes an approved teacher preparation program. If leading to initial teaching certification, it MUST include the student teaching component.Individual transcript evaluation pathway is obtained if/when a student has taught at a private school but is not NYS-certified (initial/professional) and just needs to finish course requirements without having to student teach. Be mindful that when applying via the individual transcript evaluation, the student deals directly with the NYSED and that most likely the NYSED, when evaluating, will find deficiency(ies). Most importantly, when applying via the individual pathway there will be no institutional recommendation.
A: INITIAL Certificate: The entry-level certificate for classroom teachers, issued in specific subject/grade titles, and the entry-level certificate for School Building Leader (SBL). The initial certificate is valid for 5 years and leads to professional certification.
Professional Certificate: The advanced-level certificate for classroom teachers (issued in specific subject/grade titles) and School Building Leaders. The professional certificate is continuously valid with completion of required professional development hours on a five-year professional development cycle.
A: New York State has reciprocity with over 40 other states. The other states may or may not require teacher certification examination(s). It is the responsibility of the student to check all requirements with that state’s department of education. You must also file an application at that state for the teaching certificate/license/credential. When requesting institutional support, most state department of education will have a form on their website requiring institutional verification/support of the approved teacher preparation program completed. Please be mindful that the certification reciprocity and institutional support ONLY applies to the coursework completed under the approved teacher preparation program.
A: Please call OTE at 212.678.4057/3466 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Feel free to visit our office in Zankel, Room 411.
A: First, download or pick up a student teaching packet from the Office of Teacher Education (OTE). Follow the checklist on the front page of the packet in order to obtain a CLEARANCE LETTER. You must take a tuberculosis test, get fingerprinted, register online with the New York City Dept. of Ed, take the child abuse workshop and take the violence prevention workshop in order to obtain a clearance letter and start student teaching. A student teaching handbook is available online or at Zankel 411 with guidelines for the placement. A general orientation to student teaching is offered during the New Student Experience at the start of fall semester. (A full list of workshops and events is available on this website.) Special note: If you have taken or will take the HBSS 4116 Health course, there is no need to take the two workshops.
1) What if I've already paid to submit the edTPA but didn’t submit it yet?
Submitting the edTPA is required of all teacher candidates who apply for NYS certification after May 1, 2014. (please see question 3 if the edTPA score did not meet the minimum NYSED passing score http://www.highered.nysed.gov/pdf/edtpa-statement.pdf).
2) What if I already passed the edTPA?
Teacher candidates may register for the other three certification exams at http://www.nystce.nesinc.com/. These exams include: Educating All Students exam, the Academic Literacy Skills Test, and the Content Specialty Tests. The ATS-W is not required if you already passed the edTPA.
3) What if I took and failed the edTPA?
Candidates who did not achieve a passing score on the first submission of edTPA may retake one or all tasks through their teacher candidate account at http://www.edtpa.com. Alternatively, candidates may take and pass the Assessment of Teaching Skills—Written (ATS–W) prior to June 30, 2015.
4) What if I failed the edTPA but had already passed the ATS-W?
Any candidate who applies for certification on or after May 1, 2014, and fails the edTPA, will not be required to retake the ATS–W if the candidate took the ATS–W prior to April 30, 2014, and received a satisfactory passing score on the exam.