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How to Become a Substitute Teacher in New York

Read about how substitute teachers can become certified in New York. Find out what degrees you might pursue, which tests are required for certification, and how to complete the application process.

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In the state of New York, substitute teachers are required to hold New York teaching certificates (or be working towards one) if they work longer than 40 days in one school district over the course of a year. Read about the requirements for getting certified to teach in New York.

New York Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Substitute Teachers in New York (2017)* $38,630
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education, content area, edTPA
Testing Requirements NYSTCE's EAS and content exams, edTPA

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Substitute teaching in New York requires a bachelor's degree in the appropriate subject area. If a student wants to substitute teach chemistry to high school students, for example, it would be helpful to pursue a degree in chemistry along with an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. Those who want to teach multiple subjects might consider a bachelor's in elementary education.

Courses will be different depending on the subject area and the grade level students wish to teach, but most preparation programs will include pedagogical courses like:

  • Human Development
  • Special Education
  • Family and Community Experiences
  • Historical and Current Trends in Education
  • Curriculum and Assessment
  • Language and Literacy

These degree programs will also allow students to teach in classrooms during internship experiences. These student-teaching internships are designed to prepare future teachers to enter the classroom confidently.

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Step 2: Take All Required Tests

There are several tests for substitute teachers to take prior to certification. First, teachers need to take the applicable New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE). For an Initial License, the Educating All Students exam is mandatory. This is a 2 hour and 15 minute exam made up of 40 multiple-choice questions and 3 constructed-response questions. The exam costs $92 and requires a passing score of at least 520.

Next, students will take the appropriate NYSTCE content exams. For instance, if a teacher hopes to work with ASL students, the American Sign Language content exam is required. This is a 3 hour and 25 minute exam, and a score of 520 or higher is needed. If a teacher hopes to work with English Language Arts students, the 3 hour and 15 minute exam by the same name is needed. This test is made up of 90 multiple-choice questions and 1 constructed-response question. Those interested in teaching elementary school students would take the Multi-Subject: Teachers of Childhood (Grade 1 - Grade 6) exam, which covers English language arts, math, and arts and sciences topics. A list of all content exams is available on the NYSTCE's website.

Additionally, teachers will need to take the appropriate edTPA assessment for their certification. Most subjects require a passing score of 38, except for elementary education (46) and world and classical languages (32). This assessment requires teachers to have compiled portfolios of their work from their student teaching internships. The portfolios are evaluated and feedback is given to help improve teachers' planning, instruction, and assessment skills. The cost is $300.

Step 3: Complete and Submit the Certification Application

After teachers have completed all testing requirements, they may begin the process of submitting their applications. Information like date of birth and social security numbers will be included in the application. The initial application can be submitted online, but additional materials like official transcripts should be mailed to the state Department of Education. The application fee is $50. A background check is also required; the fingerprinting fee is $99. When all the applicable materials have been provided, applicants will be issued their Initial Certificates. Then, they will be free to substitute teach for any length of time.

Study Help for Future New York Teachers

You can prepare for all the future testing you will complete with the resources below. Start studying for the EAS and content exams now and feel completely prepared on test day.

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