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Types of Certification

Initial Certification


Students who complete a program of study at SUNY Potsdam that is approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) that leads to Initial Certification will be recommended through the Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Certification for the appropriate teacher certificate.

In order to be recommended for Initial Certification, the following requirements must be successfully completed:

  1. An approved program of study that leads to certification.
  2. Health 230/530 (CA, SAVE, DASA), a three-credit-hour course on drug abuse prevention, child abduction prevention, fire safety, and arson prevention, the Dignity for all Students Act, the Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse, School Violence Prevention, and Intervention.
  3. New York State Certification Exams: In order for a teacher candidate to receive an Initial Certificate from NYSED, the candidate must take the New York State Certification Exams. Please refer to the New York State Teacher Certification Exams website for the most up-to-date requirements and information.
  4. Fingerprint clearance from the New York State Education Department.
  5. Certification Application through TEACH account following instructions on the appropriate Student Information Application Sheet (Program Codes).

Professional Certification


Candidates completing a graduate program that is approved by NYSED that leads to Professional Certification can be recommended in some cases by the Office of Field Experiences. Teacher candidates are responsible for assuring that the graduate programs they are completing have been approved to lead to Professional Certification related to the Initial Certificate they hold. Teacher candidates are encouraged to consult with the campus Certification Officer and their adviser to assure that their program will lead to Professional Certification.

Holders of Initial Certificates must obtain a Professional Certificate within five (5) years from the effective date of the Initial Certificate in order to continue to be licensed in the State of New York. Once the Professional Certificate has been obtained, the holder of a Professional Certificate must complete 100 hours of documented professional development every five (5) years in order to keep the Professional Certificate active.

In order for NYSED to award a Professional Certificate, teacher candidates must complete the following requirements:

  1. Complete a relevant master's degree, approved by NYSED to lead to Professional Certification in the area of the Initial Certificate
  2. Complete the Certification Application through their TEACH account
  3. Complete the appropriate Content Specialty Test if master's degree leads to an additional certificate. Tests are subject to change, please refer to the New York State Teacher Certification Exams website for the most up-to-date information.
  4. Obtain three (3) years of paid teaching experience either as a full-time employee or as a substitute teacher (one full year equals 180 substitute days)
  5. Complete a mentoring program through your school district during the first year of teaching
  6. Complete the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) training

Applying for Additional Certificates

A teacher candidate applying for additional certificates should contact the regional BOCES Certification Officer for assistance.

Time Extensions

Time Extensions are not processed through SUNY Potsdam. Please file for a time extension online through your TEACH account. Time Extensions are currently issued in one year increments.

For information regarding Time Extensions, including valid conditions, exceptions and directions to apply, please visit