There are several pathways to becoming a math teacher in New York, all of which involve following these basic steps:
|Earn a Bachelor’s Degree at Minimum and Complete a Math Teacher Preparation Program|
|Complete Required Workshops and Fingerprinting|
|Pass New York Teacher Competency Exams|
|Apply for and Maintain Your New York Teaching Certification|
New York is the nation’s leader in many important STEM fields – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – as well as commerce, finance, and industry. Central to New York maintaining its edge are the math teachers that work in the state’s public school system. Tasked with preparing New York’s next generation of industry leaders, math teachers play a vitally important role in securing the future of the state. Thanks in large part to these dedicated math teachers; New York students who took the ACT exam in 2013 earned the second highest average score in the United States.
The New York State Education Department is responsible for managing the teacher certification process. It does this through its Office of Teaching Initiatives, the agency you will be dealing with as you complete the certification process.
Step 1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree at Minimum and Complete a Math Teacher Preparation Program
First and foremost, to meet math teacher certification requirements in New York you’ll need a bachelor’s degree at minimum in mathematics.
Once you have fulfilled the major requirements for the mathematics portion of your program you will need to complete an approved teaching preparation program as part of your overall degree. This is the traditional route for undergraduate students and one of the main pathways candidates can take to become eligible for teaching certification in New York.
Each of the following pathways has a specific program you will need to choose depending on what grades you intend to teach: Middle Childhood grades 5-9 or Adolescence grades 7-12. Choosing the right pathway depends on your individual circumstances:
- Approved teacher preparation program – for undergraduates pursuing a math major
- Alternative teacher preparation programs – for candidates who already have a degree in the field of mathematics
- Reciprocity for out-of-state teachers – for candidates who are certified teachers in another state or who completed their math teaching degree in another state
- National Board Certification – a route open to any candidate who is already a classroom teacher
Approved Teacher Preparation Program
Colleges and universities across the state offer hundreds of approved teacher preparation programs in math specific to the two grade range certification options in New York:
These focus on the subjects of education and pedagogy and will develop teaching skills you will use to convey the subject of mathematics to your students in the classroom. You will take classes that focus on:
- Pedagogical history and development
- Education strategies and techniques
- Question-based mathematics instruction
- Teaching students from diverse backgrounds
- Identifying students with disabilities
- Student teaching
A student teaching segment is included in all New York math teacher preparation programs. This will see you placed in a classroom alongside an experienced math teacher who will guide and assist you as you put the educational theory you have learned into practice.
Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs
Alternative teacher preparation programs are often the choice of those making a career change. This path is for prospective teachers who already have at least a bachelor’s degree in the math field, but who have not completed a teacher preparation program.
Alternative math teacher preparation programs are also offered according to grade level – grades 5-9 or 7-12 – and can be classified in one of three ways:
- Post-baccalaureate program
- Graduate program
- Approved agency such as Teach for America
A Transitional B or C Certificate will be issued when you are accepted into one of these programs. This will allow you to temporarily teach math in the classroom while you complete the requirements to become eligible for a normal teaching certificate.
Characteristic of alternative teacher preparation programs are direct classroom placement and on-the-job training instead of student teaching.
- Transitional B Certificate: for those completing a non-graduate-level preparation program; leads to an Initial Certificate
- Transitional C Certificate: for those completing a graduate-level preparation program; leads to a Professional Certificate
Reciprocity for Out-of-State Teachers
New York will generally recognize your eligibility for a state teaching certificate if you currently hold an equivalent teaching certificate in a different state and have at least three years of teaching experience. However, you will still need to complete the following, which are detailed further in Steps 3 and 4:
- New York’s required workshops
- Educating All Students Test
- Academic Literacy Skills Test
If you completed your math and teaching degree out-of-state, you will need to have done so with a minimum GPA of 2.50. You will also need to complete all of New York’s required workshops and testing.
National Board Certification
This certification is managed by the non-profit organization National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). If you are NBPTS-certified, you would be eligible for a New York teaching certificate once you complete the state’s required workshops detailed in Step 3. To earn this certification you will need to compile a portfolio that contains proof of your teaching excellence, as well as pass several NBPTS assessment tests.
National Board Certification is offered in two areas for math teachers:
Step 2. Complete Required Workshops and Fingerprinting
New York requires prospective math teachers to complete several workshops in order to satisfy all job requirements. The first of these is currently required of all prospective teachers, while the second two are required if you completed your education outside of New York:
- Dignity for All Students Act – you will need to complete six hours of approved training in discrimination, bullying, and harassment prevention; this may be included in a traditional teacher preparation program completed in New York
- School Violence Intervention and Prevention – you will need to complete two hours of approved training in this subject
- Child Abuse Identification – you will need to complete two hours of approved training in child abuse identification and reporting
All teacher candidates in New York must also submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. You can find out where to sign up to get your fingerprints taken on the Office of Teaching Initiatives’ fingerprinting webpage.
Step 3. Pass New York Teacher Competency Exams
There are four exams you will need to pass to be eligible for a teaching license in New York:
- Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)
- Educating All Students Test (EAS)
- Content Specialty Test in Mathematics
- edTPA in Math
Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)
The Academic Literacy Skills Test takes 210 minutes to complete and is divided into two segments:
- Reading – 40% of the total test with 40 multiple-choice questions
- Writing based on sources – 60% of the test with 2 focused response and 1 extended response questions
Educating All Students Test
You will have 135 minutes to complete the Educating All Students Test, which is comprised of 42 multiple-choice and 3 constructed-response questions from five different categories:
- Students and diversity – 18%, constructed response 10%
- Students with disabilities or special learning needs – 18%, constructed response 10%
- Students who are learning the English language – 18%, constructed response 10%
- Responsibilities of the teacher – 8%
- Home and school relationships – 8%
Content Specialty Test in Mathematics
This Mathematics Test will evaluate you on knowledge that is specific to the field of mathematics. You will have 210 minutes in total to complete this exam, which is comprised of 90 multiple choice and one constructed response questions in seven different categories:
- Algebra: 20%
- Pedagogical content knowledge: 20% – constructed-response question with 60 minutes allowed to complete the response
- Functions: 17%
- Geometry and measurement: 15%
- Probability and statistics: 10%
- Calculus: 10%
- Quantity and numbers: 8%
edTPA in Math
Although the edTPA in Math is a scored assessment, it is more of an overall evaluation than a test. The edTPA is a review of a portfolio of information you will collect during your student teaching or initial teaching experience, and will include things like:
- Lesson plans
- Video clips of your instruction
- Student work samples
- Commentaries that explain why you have chosen a particular approach to a specific situation
Your alternative or traditional teacher preparation program will assist you in getting started with your edTPA evaluation in math, which is completed according to the grades you will be teaching:
- Middle Childhood Mathematics
- Secondary Mathematics
Step 4. Apply for and Maintain Your New York Teaching Certification
After completing the steps up to this point you will be ready to apply for a New York math teaching certificate. To do this you will need to create an account with New York’s TEACH System and complete an application for an Initial Certificate. You can also check the status of your application through the TEACH System. To complete the application process, you may need to send in additional materials. This is especially true if you completed an alternative teacher preparation program or are from out-of-state:
- Official college transcripts
- Relevant out-of-state test scores
- Documented teaching experience
- Any relevant teaching licenses
These can be sent to:
University of the State of New York
State Education Department
Office of Teaching
Main Education Building
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234
You will be notified through your TEACH System account when and if you application is successful, at which point you will be ready to start the hunt for math teacher jobs in New York.
Your Initial Certificate will be valid for five years. During this time you will need to complete the requirements to earn a Professional Certificate. To keep your Professional Certificate valid, you will need to complete 175 hours of professional development activity every five years. Your employing district must approve these activities. To fulfill this requirement many teachers choose to expand their education.
A master’s degree – such as an M.A.T., M.Ed. Or MATL – can fulfill your professional development activity requirements as well as increase your professional qualifications. A master’s degree will develop your skills to the benefit of both you and your students, and can also open up additional career opportunities down the road.