International Students

International Students

The Office of Teacher Education is committed to supporting international students, in collaboration with the Office of International Services. To ensure that the Office of Teacher Education is aware that you may need support, take a moment to complete our International Student Intake Form as soon as you arrive on campus.  In addition, please find key information for student teaching and certification processes below:

Students WITH a Social Security Number

Good news!  If you have a Social Security Number (SSN), you will follow the same processes for student teaching clearance and initial certification as any other student at Teachers College.  Please STOP READING and refer to our general documents and web pages for guidance.  

First Things First: A Teachers College Degree versus New York State Certification

A TC Degree

A Teachers College degree is issued by Teachers College and signals that you have met all requirements for that degree.  For example, graduates of the Elementary Inclusive program earn a Master of Arts in Elementary Inclusive Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.  All TC students who complete the requirements for their degree programs are eligible for their TC Degree, whether or not they have a Social Security number. You can track your progress toward your degree by consulting your degree audit in the myTC portal.  


New York State Certification

New York State certification is issued by the State of New York, not Teachers College, and certifies that you have met the state’s requirements to teach a particular subject in a New York State public school.  For example, graduates of the Elementary Inclusive program are typically eligible to apply for New York State certification to teach childhood education, grades 1-6, in public schools within the state of New York.  Successful completion of your TC degree is one requirement for certification, but it is not the only requirement.  For example, the state also requires that you pass all of the certification exams associated with your certification area and ensure that your fingerprints are on file at the state level.  


Students without Social Security numbers will need a New York State Education Department issued 9-digit identification number in order to create a New York State TEACH account, apply for certification, and begin completing certification requirements such as exams and state-level fingerprinting.  We recommend requesting a NYSED-issued ID number as soon as you arrive at TC.  See below for recommended steps for students without Social Security Numbers who will seek New York State certification.  

Students WITHOUT a Social Security Number

Requesting and Using a NYSED-Issued ID Number for Certification


Step 1: If you have not already done so, complete our International Student Intake Form so that our office is aware of your SSN status and your career goals.

Step 2:  Complete our ID Number Request Form.  A member of our office will reach out to the New York State Education department to request a 9-digit ID number for your use.   

Step 3: Create a New York State TEACH account using your state-issued 9-digit ID number,  and use that number to complete certification requirements such as workshops and exams as you move through your degree program; do not complete state-level fingerprinting at an Identigo location until you have applied for certifcation (see below).  

Step 4: In your final semester at TC, apply and PAY for the certificate(s) you will seek at the end of your degree program.  This step MUST be done before state-level fingerprinting at an Identigo location.  

Step 5: After applying for certification, make an appointment to get fingerprinted at one of the many locations across New York State via, or call (877) 472-6915. Your ORI Code is 14ZGQT. When prompted for your SSN or 9-digit state number, provide your 9-digit state-issued number.  See the Students without Social Security Numbers section of our "Fingerprinting" tab for more detail. 


Note on Student Teaching for All Students without Social Security Numbers

To get clearance to student teach in a NYC DOE school, you do not need a SSN.  You can simply follow our Directions for Fingerprinting at the New York City Department of Education for Students without a Social Security Number, which adhere to the New York City Department of Education’s guidelines for students without SSNs.   


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