Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

If you are enrolled in a teacher education program at TC, it is never too early to get fingerprinted. You will need to have your fingerprints on file with the New York City Department of Education prior to student teaching, and you will need to have your fingerprints on file with the New York State Education Department prior to certification. Please see Fingerprinting for two different pathways you can take to ensure that your prints are on file with both agencies

Many academic programs and departments provide suggested timelines. If these are not available, we recommend that you take/pass the "Educating All Students" (EAS), the REVISED "Content Specialty Test" (CST) and the edTPA (educative Teacher Performance Assessment) -NO longer required by NYSED effective 4/27/2022. You should have taken/passed all exams 4-6 weeks prior to your graduation date. To register online or for more information, go to the NYSTCE website at: www.nystce.nesinc.com or the edTPA website http://www.edtpa.com/.

There are three specific ways to be able to obtain NYS-certification:

  • Pathway-Approved teacher preparation program: This pathway is for candidates who complete a NYS-approved teacher preparation program and after completion and after degree conferral, that institution endorses a recommendation on the student’s behalf.
  • Pathway-Individual Evaluation: This pathway is for candidates whom did NOT complete a NYS-approved teacher preparation program and whom may have completed courses here and there in or NYS out of state, that may have teaching experience at a private PreK-12 level and would like to obtain NYS certification on its own and have the NYSED conduct a transcript and general evaluation of requirements.
  • Pathway via interstate reciprocity

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). NOTE:  when applying via the individual pathway there will be no institutional recommendation.

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.

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.

First, carefully read the Student Teaching Clearance Packet, available on the “Student Teaching” tab of this site.  Follow the steps outlined there to ensure that you have: 1) completed all TC-based requirements and signed an Acknowledgement of Risk Form; 2) ensured that your fingerprints are on file with the New York City Department of Education; 3) Sent proof of both actions to ote@tc.edu. Once you have met these requirements, OTE will issue you a Student Teaching Clearance letter. You may not begin student teaching without clearance from the Office of Teacher Education.

Yes, American Sign Language is considered a language other than English.

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 http://www.tc.columbia.edu/international/current-students/employment--taxes/f-1-visa-employment/f-1-optional-practical-training-opt/.

For information on work authorization sponsored by the NYC Dept. of Ed, contact the International Recruitment Office. Phone: (718) 935-5854.

This varies by program, but we are proud to report that all of our programs include rigorous field placement requirements that meet or exceed state minimums. As a student enrolled in a NYSED-approved teacher preparation program, it is your job to ensure that you meet your program’s expectations for student teaching. At the end of each semester, you will submit a Record of Hours form to the Office of Teacher Education, which we document and upload to the registrar.

Each time you submit a Record of Hours form to our office, we process it and upload it to the registrar.  However, the registrar will not update your degree audit until all of your student teaching placements are complete.  In most programs, this takes place after completion of two student teaching placements.  If you have indeed turned in all of your Record of Hours forms during your time at TC but you are still not seeing an update to your degree audit, please do not hesitate to email us at ote@tc.edu.

Go to: www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert, press TEACH Online Services, and click "Create an NY.gov TEACH Account." Follow the instructions to create your account! For a step-by-step video tutorial, click here

Cooperating Teacher FAQs

Cooperating teachers do indeed become eligible for a tuition voucher each semester that they host. Please carefully read our Policies and Procedures for Tuition Vouchers to learn how to apply this benefit. Step-by-step instructions are on page 2.

Yes. CT Vouchers are valid for only four semesters after the semester in which a CT hosted a student teacher, and summers count as one semester. For example, a voucher earned in Fall 2018 can be used in Spring 2019, Summer 2019, Fall 2019, and Spring 2020. Expired vouchers cannot be used toward coursework at Teachers College.

If we determine that you are eligible for the voucher for which you have applied, we will produce it on your behalf, send you a confirmation email, and share the voucher with the Bursar’s Office. However, the Bursar does not apply payment until the first two weeks of the semester in which you are taking your class.

Back to skip to quick links