Applicant FAQs

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia University Logo

Peace Corps Fellows Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Peace Corps Fellows Program as challenging as Peace Corps?

As Fellows routinely say, "If you think the Peace Corps was the only 'toughest job you'll ever love,' think again." The inherent challenges of urban teaching and graduate coursework at Teachers College necessitate strong time management skills, patience, and, most importantly, a lively sense of humor. The Peace Corps Fellows program is both grueling and exhilarating.

If I already have valid teaching certification (in New York or other states), can I apply to the Peace Corps Fellows Program and pursue a master's degree in a different teaching area?

Yes. New York City students need qualified teachers, which is why our program exists. Please apply. Your course schedule may be somewhat different from other Fellows in your program.

What type of New York State certification will I obtain?

The Alternative Teacher Certification Program for the Peace Corps Fellows leads to a Transitional B Certificate. The Transitional B is valid for 3 years during which candidates are expected to complete the degree program and then apply for an Initial and then Professional certificate. The Initial certificate is valid for 5 years, with the same effective begin date as the Transitional B. In effect, the Initial Certificate would extend the candidate's eligibility to teach for 2 years beyond the Transitional B certificate.

Peace Corps Fellows admitted into a master's degree program are required to complete the program as outlined on their program planning sheet, distributed to them upon admission to the program.  Completion of the program leads to an Initial certificate.  Many Fellows also qualify for Professional Certification upon graduation because of their teaching in Peace Corps coupled with their teaching in NYC.

NYSED Trans-B Description - CLICK HERE 

Fellows MUST apply for their certificates via Institutional Recommendation. The NYSED will not accept any application for Individual Transcript Evaluation submitted by a Fellow as long as the Transitional B Certificate remains valid. Peace Corps Fellows are held to stringent New York State standards, requiring their completion of the following:

  • Three workshops: Child Abuse and Maltreatment, Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) and School Violence Prevention

  • New York fingerprint clearance.

  • Three written tests: Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST), Educating All Students (EAS), and the Content Specialty Test (CSTs)

The Peace Corps Fellows Program requires:

  • 200 hours of pre-service preparation and fieldwork observations

  • Employment as a full-time teacher of record

  • Completion of coursework leading to a master's degree from Teachers College

Fellows are supported by their academic advisor, Peace Corps Fellows mentors and staff.

Upon graduation from the academic program and completion of the certification requirements, Fellows apply for New York State Initial Certification.


 When can I begin the Peace Corps Fellows Program?


If you are applying for admission into the January Cohort

The admissions application is due on November first for candidates who are interested in becoming English, social studies or intellectual disability/autism teachers


The advantage of beginning in January is that you will have additional time to complete your required coursework before SIT and teaching full-time in September.

Selected applicants will be interviewed. Interviews will be conducted from November until early December. Interviews will take place at Teachers College, Columbia University or remotely. Letters of acceptance detailing scholarship awards will be sent out in mid-December.

If you are applying for admission into the May Cohort

For prospective students interested in math, science, English, bilingual/ bicultural, social studies or intellectual disability/autism programs, the deadline for applications is in mid-January.
For May admission, selected applicants will be interviewed in January and February at Teachers College or remotely. Letters of acceptance detailing scholarship awards will be sent out in mid-March.

Do I need to complete my Peace Corps service before becoming a Fellow?

To qualify for the Program, applicants must have satisfactorily completed their Peace Corps service and must meet the admissions requirements of Teachers College. A Volunteer is considered to have satisfactorily completed Peace Corps service if s/he: has completed the full two-year tour of Peace Corps service, or the full tour minus up to 90 days, if returned home on emergency leave; has been granted an “Early Close of Service” or an “Interrupted Service” due to circumstances beyond the Volunteer’s control; or has been medically separated as a Volunteer.

How can I see the work of your teachers or learn about how your program works with your teachers?

We invite all applicants to inquire about scheduling a school visit with a Peace Corps Fellow who is teaching in the applicant’s content area. During this visit, the applicant will have the opportunity to ask the Fellow questions about the program, New York City Schools, time management, courses at Teachers College, and other areas of interest. Preparing some of the questions in advance of the observation will enrich the experience.