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Institutional Recommendation

One of the requirements of the approved teacher preparation pathway is an institutional recommendation leading to New York State certification.

An institutional recommendation means that the institution where you completed your "Approved Teacher Preparation Program" is verifying to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) that you have completed a  Teacher Education Program or an Administration and Pupil Personnel Program which satisfies the New York State’s requirements for certification in that particular area, as agreed upon in the program registration.

Institutional Recommendation - IRDF

Institutional Recommendation - TC/NYSED

Institutional Recommendation - NYSTCE

NYSTCE (New York State Teacher Certification Examination):
Applicants for New York State teacher certification are required to take the NYSTCE:

  • Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST),
  • Assessment of Teaching Skills - Written (ATS-W), and
  • Content Speciality Test (CST) - Several subject areas require more than one CST.
    Registration booklets for exams are available on-line. In addition, test preparation guides are available at our office, Zankel Hall 411 (for Teachers College students ONLY).

    Please note that exams are not given on a monthly basis.

    For sample test questions and further information, go to

    Public School Building Leadership
    & Public School District Leadership
    program completers must take the NYSTCE School Leadership Assesments.

    Institutional Recommendation - CLEP

    If you have not completed the adequate amount of undergraduate course work for your pending degree you can receive undergraduate credit by taking the CLEP (College-Level Examination Program) tests.

    CLEP is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program in the country.

    More than 2,900 accredited institutions of higher education award credit for satisfactory scores on CLEP examinations.

    The tests are a "series of examinations, each 90 minutes long, that allow you to demonstrate your knowledge in a wide range of subjects."

    If you are planning on taking a CLEP test, the math and foreign language exams, please see reverse side for specific requirements.

    Institutional Recommendation - International Applicants

    In New York State, you must have a certificate (either Provisional/Initial or Permanent/Professional) to teach in a public school.

    Certification means that the state has reviewed your credentials and certified you as eligible to teach.  Teachers in Charter schools also require certification.

    Private or Independent schools, however, do not always require a teaching certificate

    Visa concerns:

    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, which provides an employment authorization for a maximum of 12 months.  See "F-1 Employment and Practical Training" information at

    For information on work authorization sponsored by the NYC Department of Education International Recruitment Office - Phone: (718) 935-5854

    There are 2 types of teaching certificates:
    • Provisional/Permanent (older titles that are in the process of being phased out), and
    • Initial/Professional (new)Certification.

    US citizenship is not required for New York State Initial teacher certification.
    US Permanent Residence ("Green Card") IS required for Permanent/Professional Certification.

    Requirements for initial certification can be found at

    Certification through a Teachers College degree program leading to an Approved Teacher Preperation program requires:

    • Completion/submission of an Institutional Recommendation Form (IRDF)
    • Completion of a degree program that includes student teaching
    • New York State Teacher Certification Examination (NYSTCE)
    • Fingerprint clearance.  We have also created a quick reference sheet for International Students looking to be fingerprinted - CLICK HERE
    • Detection of Child Abuse and School Violence Prevention Workshops.


    Certification through Individual Application* (i.e., not through Teachers College):
    *With the exception of Childhood Ed (1-6), School Building Leader and School District Leader*
    If you completed your education in another country (or another U.S. institution), you may be eligible for New York State certification.  The New York State Education Department will evaluate credits/credentials from other institutions or agencies.
    You must meet the following requirements:

    For Secondary teacher certification, you need to have an undergraduate degree in the field/subject area you plan to teach (at least 30 credits in the academic subject), plus 21 credits of pedagogy, and student teaching.

    For Certification in special subjects, you need18 credits of pedagogy, and a minimum of 30 credits in the subject, an undergraduate major in that field, plus student teaching.

    Institutional Recommendation - Verification of Experience Form

    Classroom teaching experience includes experience earned in a public or approved nonpublic preschool or elementary, middle, or secondary school as well as in-state & out-of-state- experience.

    Claimed experience may be in any grade or subject.

    Experience that is not full time may be credited on a prorated basis.

    Teaching assistant experience is not applicable to this requirement.

    Teachers working as substitutes in numerous districts may wish to have each district verify the experience by providing a short letter on district letterhead.

    Institutional Recommendation - Reciprocity

    Completion of New York certification requirements and Teachers College programs does not automatically translate into certification or licensure in other states.

    If you plan on seeking certification outside of New York State, it will be to your advantage to investigate certification requirements for that state. While there is reciprocity between New York and many other states, there may be additional courses and exams required by the state where you seek certification. In most states, applicants may be issued a temporary license for one to two years, during which additional requirements must be completed.

    More information can be found by contacting the State Department of Education or visiting the website of the state in which you are interested.  

    Please note, individual state requirements and contact information are subject to change.  

    For information regarding interstate agreement for Applicants from Other States, please click here.
    For Information regarding the Department of Education in other states, kindly follow the links provided.

    Candidates MUST enter in the NYSED - TEACH system, their electronic certification application(s) and pay $50 for each certificate.

    Payment is to be made DIRECTLY to the NYSED to cover your certificate fee.

    Hard copies of the IRDF can be picked up in the Office of Teacher Education (OTE) located in Zankel Hall 411.

    The IRDF must be completed by the candidate and submitted back to the OTE with all supporting documents (official undergraduate & other NON-TC transcripts, and proof of Child Abuse and School Violence Prevention workshops).