I met with the regional certification specialist from Orleans-Niagara BOCES and received some clarification on frequently asked questions.
1) I have my initial certification. What do I need to do to obtain my professional certification?
You have 5 years from the date your initial cert was issued to apply for your professional cert. You need to have the equivalent of 3 years of teaching completed, and one year of mentoring. The 3 years of teaching can be as a substitute teacher. Keep track of all the days that you sub -- they add up quickly! The mentoring is a bit trickier -- my district has a one year mentoring program for substitutes. If you sub regularly at a district, ask if they have any type of mentoring program that you can utilize. If not, call your local BOCES and inquire about finding a mentor program.
2) What if I do not complete the above requirements within the 5 year window?
You have to log onto TEACH and apply for an extension. Basically, give the state some cash and they give you more time.
3) What's the deal with the required 175 hours for the Professional Certification?
Currently, you are required to complete 175 hours of professional development within 5 years during your professional development. This 5 year clock begins the July AFTER you receive your professional cert. For example - if you receive your professional cert in February 2013, the clock for your 175 hours begins in July 2013. The clock begins whether you have a classroom or are subbing.
If you are working for a district (even as a sub) and completing PD hours, they log them into the TEACH system. If you are not working for a district and taking PD on your own (paying for classes at BOCES, taking graduate classes for PD hours, participating in other workshops), you simply need to log them into TEACH.
ANY HOURS THAT YOU COMPLETE BEFORE THE CLOCK STARTS IN JULY WILL NOT COUNT (aka - don't waste your time)
4) What if I take a leave from teaching or am working in another career field?
You are still required to complete the hours. However, for each year that you are not teaching, the number of hours required decreases by 10%. You can contact your local BOCES to find possible PD opportunities.
5) What happens if I don't complete the 175 hours within 5 years?
Well, no one currently knows! The state is working on an appeal process for teachers to file if they haven't completed the hours. The state is currently not tracking hours, which leads me to believe that a change is coming -- hopefully one that takes teachers who can't find a full-time job into account!
We hope this information is helpful! Please visit our NYS Teacher Certification Information section to learn more.