Options for Current Teachers (Moving to New York State)

NYS teachers are experiencing a workforce shortage, with more than 180,000 positions needing to be filled over the next 10 years1. Earning your New York professional teaching license allows you to advance your career and enhance your credentials while filling an invaluable need in our field and making the future brighter for young people. 

You already know how important teaching is — a New York teacher’s certificate provides job security and enhanced marketability in today’s ever-changing employment market. Plus, there are so many areas of specialty you can gain experience in to fit your individual interests and skills, from helping to serve the needs of bilingual students to teaching students with disabilities to differentiated instruction and physical education.

Read on to learn more about the many career growth opportunities for current teachers looking to gain professional certification in New York State and earn a master’s degree.

Why Earn Your Professional New York Teaching Certification?

If you are a current teacher with initial certification, the next step to growing in your career and serving your students is to earn your professional teacher certification. NYS requires all teachers to have professional certification (otherwise your initial certification will expire). This training will also build your skills and knowledge, opening countless doors for education professionals who want to take on leadership roles within their school districts, or specialize in an area such as special education or technology. We’ll explore in more depth the various graduate degree types you can pursue as you earn your professional certification and the job titles other current teachers with master’s degrees hold.

A master’s degree is just one component of earning your NYSED professional teaching certification. You’ll also need to complete three years of instruction experience in the classroom, with one of those years involving mentorship. Finally, if your initial licensure did not include a 6-hour DASA training workshop, this is the last step before you can proudly add a professional certification to your teaching resume and see your career prospects bloom. 

Here are a few benefits to consider if continuing on for your professional certification is on your radar.

Opportunities for teachers in New York State are expansive

We already know that NYS teachers are in demand, given the current teacher shortage. Consider too just how many areas of need there are to serve, which adds up to huge opportunities for current teachers. According to NYSED,3 New York State consists of 731 school districts, 4,413 public schools, 356 charter schools, and over 2.5 million K–12 students.

Of course, there are many factors driving the unprecedented demand in the workforce, including challenges resulting from the pandemic. But it’s important to note that state government officials are laser-focused on improving prospects for NYS teachers in the coming years. One way the education system in our state stands to benefit is via an influx of billions of dollars to fund schools and offer better incentives for teachers.

Building your teaching credentials with a New York teaching license is rewarding

You already have a passion for nourishing the minds of young people as a current teacher. In addition to advancing your career, earning a professional teaching certification in a specialty such as Instructional Technologies and Curriculum Design will empower you to make an even bigger impact on the lives and education of students, as well as their families and the community.

A master’s degree offers NYS teachers many opportunities to specialize

At Canisius University, current teachers can earn their master’s degrees via eight different tracks, many of which offer online options that suit busy professionals. Master’s degrees you can pursue as you work toward your New York professional certification include:

•    Instructional Technologies and Curriculum Design 
•    Literacy Education 
•    Physical Education 
•    Special Education (Advanced)
•    Teaching Students with Disabilities – Childhood
•    Teaching Students with Disabilities – Adolescence
•    Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

“I was able to finish my master’s in only a year and a half, and I don’t think I would have been able to do so without the support of my professors and advisors.”

Lauren Semo ’19, ’20

Your Career Longevity Depends Upon a New York Teaching Certification

NYS teachers are ultimately required to earn their professional New York teaching license within five years of gaining initial certification with a bachelor’s degree. Earning your master’s degree not only leads to your necessary teacher certification, but also provides the perfect opportunity to align your interests and strengths with the pursuit of your master’s degree and the ability to add new certification areas to your credentials.

Whether your passion lies with helping students with special needs throughout their education journey or inspiring a love of reading or physical education in New York State children, earning a master’s degree is a crucial component of continuing your New York teaching certification. Previous graduates will also attest to a master’s degree and NYS teaching licensure helping them be more flexible in their careers, be it changing grade levels or subject-matter specialization in the school setting.

Job opportunities for current teachers: Master’s degree

Many current teachers with initial licensure look to grow their careers with a master’s degree. Opportunities you’ll gain access to with a professional certification, plus years of teaching experience, include job titles such as:

•    Enrichment teacher
•    Technology director for a school district
•    Mentor/coach
•    Teacher on special assignment
•    Literacy specialist
•    Principal*
•    Superintendent*
•    Athletic director*

*Requires master’s degree, three years of teaching and completion of a SBL and SDL.

Where NYS Teachers Work

As we explored earlier, NYS teachers have the opportunity to make a difference in a variety of school settings, given the thousands of public schools and hundreds of charter schools in our state.

Special Education Teacher Profile: Leah Hoffman

“After finishing my undergraduate program at Canisius University in special education, I felt the need to continue my education, especially as a first-year teacher. The Advanced Special Education program offered at Canisius allows me to further expand and deepen my knowledge and participate in coursework that positively impacts my ability to educate students with disabilities.
With this program, I have also acquired the opportunity to extend my certification to grades 7–12, which will enable me to be placed at a variety of grade levels in my school’s community. The knowledge and coursework in the Advanced Special Education program has allowed me to further explore strategies and practices that have benefited me during my transition into a classroom setting. I have truly benefited from working with the full-time and adjunct faculty who are currently working in P–12 settings, and I have been able to use what I am learning the next day in my own classroom. The Advanced Special Education program is a wonderful experience that has deepened my knowledge and skills as a special educator.”

Work Toward Your Professional Teaching Certification: Earn Your Master’s Degree from Canisius University

Learn from distinguished faculty active in research and publishing. Take classes in person or online, full- or part-time. Our curriculum serves as an ideal complement to your real-world teaching experience.

NYS teachers enrolled at Canisius have a 95% pass rate on the Literacy Certification Exam for program graduates. 

Ranked among the Best Online Master’s Education Programs according to U.S. News & World Report, Canisius University offers a variety of specialization options, most of which provide teachers with another certification area. Explore opportunities below to find out which master’s degree is right for you as a current teacher.

Differentiated Instruction helps NYS teachers gain proficiency in addressing the individual learning needs of each student in the classroom. This program leads to the Gifted Education Extension.

Instructional Technologies and Curriculum Design offers a pathway to professional teacher certification for educators who believe in the power of technology to shape the future. Fittingly, current teachers can complete this master’s degree online, which leads to Education Technology Specialist Grades K–12 certification.

Literacy Education, also offered online and for cohorts of birth through grade 6 or grades 5–12, provides a pathway for educators who feel passionately about reading toward earning a Master in Literacy degree and Literacy Specialist certification for either grades B–6 or 5–12.

Physical Education is an online track to earning a professional teacher’s certificate for educators who wish to specialize in physical fitness.

Special Education (Advanced) is for you if you have completed a degree program that led to certification in Students with Disabilities. Upon graduation, you will earn your professional certification in Teaching Students with Disabilities.

Teaching Students with Disabilities – Childhood and Teaching Students with Disabilities – Adolescence each address the education needs of students with unique challenges throughout their school careers at respective stages and adds a Students with Disabilities certification.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is an online program that works with certified New York State teachers to earn your TESOL certification, for ENL, ESL and ELL students in grades kindergarten through 12.