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How to Become a Biology Teacher in New York

Biology teachers can qualify to teach grades 5 through 9 or grades 7 through 12 in the State of New York. They must earn a bachelor's degree, take required courses in biology and education and fulfill many other requirements to be certified.

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Teachers are in demand in Central New York. Those interested in teaching biology in the State of New York will find that New York pays middle school teachers the highest salaries in the United States. New York pays the second-highest salaries for high school teachers, with only the state of Alaska paying high school teachers more.

New York Biology Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in New York (2016)* $77,330 (Elementary School); $78,060 (Middle School); $81,410 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Science Education
Testing Requirements edTPA, EAS, CST

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete State-Approved Degree or Individual Evaluation Requirements

Everyone pursuing teacher certification in New York must earn a bachelor's degree. Those who are preparing for college can opt to complete a state-approved program. Those who already have a bachelor's degree or choose to attend a school that isn't state-approved must fulfill the individual evaluation requirements.

State-Approved Degree Program

Biology teachers must graduate from a science education program. Some schools offer programs that are specifically tailored to teaching middle school students while others focus on teaching adolescent students, or they offer strategies for teaching students from both age groups. State-approved programs incorporate core requirements in science and education. Students will also complete student-teaching practicums to gain practical experience. In order to qualify for teacher certification, students must receive a letter of recommendation from their postsecondary institutions.

Individual Evaluation

The individual evaluation process for teacher certification in New York is complex. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree and graduate with a 2.50 GPA. They must fulfill specific course requirements, including pedagogical courses, studies in science, communications, human development and teaching methods for different subjects. They are also required to complete 40 days of student teaching.

Step 2: Complete Initial Certification Requirements

All teachers in New York must pass the Educating All Students exam. Students must earn a score of 500. A fee of $92 is required to take the two-and-a-quarter-hour test. Biology teachers must earn a score of 38 on the edTPA evaluation. They are also required to score 520 on the Biology Content Specialty Test (CST).

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Step 3: Complete Additional Requirements

Once all the certification tests have been passed, it is necessary to apply for the initial certification. This involves paying a fee of $50 if you have pursued certification through an approved program. Approved program applicants must also complete a workshop on the Dignity For All Students Act and submit their fingerprints for a background check. Transcripts and proof of identity are required to obtain the initial certificate.

Those seeking individual evaluation must pay a fee of $100. In addition to the Dignity For All Students Act workshop, individual evaluation teachers must take workshops in biology, child abuse identification and school violence intervention and prevention. Proof of identity, school transcripts and a background check are also required.

Step 4: Complete Professional Certification Requirements

Those who have completed an approved degree program can qualify for a professional certification after acquiring three years of full-time paid teaching experience. They must fulfill the mentoring requirement for teachers with initial certification and demonstrate that they have U.S. citizenship or are permanent residents.

Teachers who have earned initial certification through the individual evaluation process must demonstrate citizenship or permanent resident status, acquire three years of full-time experience as a paid teacher and complete three years of mentoring. Those seeking professional certification through the individual evaluation process must also have a master's degree.

Teacher Certification Resources

Use the practice and study guides for the EAS exam and Biology CST test provided below to prepare to take your teacher certification tests.

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