FAQs about Certification for Undergraduate & Graduate Students

When should I apply for certification?

Since the state only has two official certificate issuance dates (September 1st and February 1st)  depending on your graduation date you should apply prior to the closer of the two dates. As long as you do so, your certificate will carry that date, even if you are recommended after that date. 


Can I apply even though my degree hasn’t been awarded yet?

Yes, but remember that we cannot recommend you until you have graduated and submitted all required materials. Until that time your application status will be “Not Ready for Review”.


How do I apply for my certificate?

The application is submitted online via the state’s TEACH system: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/apply.html  We recommend that you register with the TEACH system when you begin your program at Pace.


I’ve just graduated - which certificate do I apply for?

The overwhelming majority of Education graduates will be applying for Initial certificates but, in some cases, graduates of Alternative certification programs may already qualify for their Professional certificates.


What’s the difference between the Initial and Professional Certificate?

An Initial Certificate is good for five years, whereas the Professional Certificate is non-expiring.


How do I qualify for a Professional Certificate?

To qualify for a Professional Certificate you must have three years of full-time teaching experience in your area of certification and one year of professional mentoring.


Must I obtain my Initial Certificate before I can apply for my Professional?

No. If you meet the requirements you may bypass the Initial and go right to the Professional. 


What materials are required for certification recommendation?

Required Workshop Certificates

  • Identification and Reporting of Child Abuse and Maltreatment
  • School Violence Prevention and Intervention
  • The New York State Dignity for All Students Act (DASA-Training in Harassment, Bullying, Cyberbullying and Discrimination in Schools: Prevention & Intervention).

Required Certification Exams

  • the Teacher Performance Assessment (EdTPA)
  • the Educating All Students Test (EAS)
  • Academic Literacy Skills test (ALST)
  • Content Specialty Test (CST) (depending on your area of concentration)


I’m filling out my application and being asked for a program code? What is that?

A program code is a unique numeric identifier specific to the recommending university. It also indicates your program, certification area, and campus.


How do I know what my code is and where do I find it?

Your program code is listed in the instructions provided for applying for certification in the TEACH system. You may find our list of codes here:


I received my Initial Certification and am now ready to apply for my Professional Certificate. Is there a different program code for that?

No, codes are program-specific, so it is the same for both certificates.