BY GRANT LANCASTER
New Yorkers seeking a teaching degree have several very competitive options in the city, including schools ranked highly on national lists and with high rates of students passing certification tests.
New York State requires teachers to have a bachelor’s degree, complete a certification program and pass an examination to be certified as a teacher. Most universities have certification officers that can help recommend a candidate for certification.
For many, passing rates on these final examinations will be an important factor in picking an education because it represents a final skills test. Several New York City colleges reported high passing rates for these exams in a list compiled by Teacher Certification Degrees. All schools listed are state-approved, and most are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
Private universities like NYU boast pass rates higher than 90%, but less expensive CUNY public schools in places like Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn also had passing rates of 85% or higher, making them attractive alternatives to costly private schools.
Perhaps more important than the final exam, however, is hands-on teaching experience. The New York State Education Department requires at least three school years’ worth of teaching experience for professional certification.
This is why most teaching programs offer in-school teaching experiences for students early on, with NYU Steinhardt offering students four student teaching experiences in their junior year for a bachelor’s degree in childhood education and Hunter College embedding their childhood education students in schools from the start of their program.
The level of student teaching experience students get may vary from school to school and between degree programs, but the importance of first-hand teaching experience is stressed at New York City colleges no matter the price point.
In addition to their coursework, student teaching and examination prep, education students must complete the certification program, where a recommendation from a university’s certification officer can make a difference. Most schools will not automatically recommend students, so students seeking an education degree may want to contact their university’s officer to ensure they get their recommendation.
Once students get their degree, their certification and pass the examination, they will be ready to enter the largest public school district in the U.S., if they choose to stay in New York City. The NYC Department of Education has nearly 2,000 schools where graduates can teach.
Newly-certified teachers must complete the NYC Department of Education’s online teacher application to be approved to apply for teaching jobs, then they may contact schools directly to apply for jobs.
New York state has a teacher to student ratio of about 14:1, putting them above the 2020 national average of 16:1, according to Public School Review.
New York elementary school teachers, with the largest number of teachers employed, earn an average of $83,010 annually, with the second-largest group, secondary school teachers, earning a yearly average of $85,300, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics information.