Certification

Professional Certificate - Master's Degree Requirement

IMPORTANT NOTE: The master’s degrees listed in the table below are not relevant to the master’s degree requirement for the Transitional G certificate and IHE Professor Experience pathway for the Initial certificate.

In order to satisfy the master's degree requirement and requirement of 12 graduate semester hours in the content core for Professional certification, you must have been awarded a master's degree from an institution of higher education that is accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education or is authorized by the Board of Regents to confer degrees and whose programs are registered by the Department. Four possible routes to an acceptable master's degree are listed below.

  • Graduate teacher education programs leading to a certificate
    The master’s degree is acceptable if it is based upon completing any teacher preparation program leading to any certificate, whether in New York State or another jurisdiction. The master’s degree may be completed toward a classroom teaching, administrator, or pupil personnel services certificate (e.g., school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker). 

    Such a master's degree can be used to fulfill the master's degree requirement for any additional classroom teaching service certificate title.
  • Master's degree accepted previously to satisfy requirements for a Permanent or Professional classroom teaching certificate
    This same master's degree will satisfy the master's degree requirement and the requirement for 12 graduate semester hours in the content core for Professional certification for any subsequent certificate.

  • Master's degree in the Initial certificate content or related area *
    The master's degree may also be in the content area of the Initial certificate or in a closely related subject area. For more information, see the Professional Certificate - Chart of Related Master's Degrees.

    In the case of any of the "Generalist" certificates (Early Childhood Education Birth- Grade 2, Childhood Education Grades 1-6, Generalist in Middle Childhood Education Grades 5-9, Students with Disabilities Birth-Grade 2, Students with Disabilities Grades 1-6 and Students with Disabilities Generalist Grades 5-9), any master’s degree will be accepted.

    * Master's degrees that focus on grades PreK-12 in Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Instructional Technology, Literacy, Bilingual Education, and Teaching English as a Second Language are also considered to be related to ALL content areas. While degrees in these subjects do not need to lead to a teaching certificate, they must be completed at an institution with an approved teacher preparation program.


  • Required coursework for those with an unrelated master's degree
    1. Graduate coursework in the content area of the certificate.
      If the master's degree is not in any of the above categories, the applicant for Professional Certification must complete 12 semester hours of graduate study in the content area of the Initial certificate.

      • If coursework is completed in the content (subject area) of the certificate, it must be taken at an institution of higher education that is accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education offering a graduate degree in the subject area of the certificate. 

      • For certificate titles with multiple disciplines within the subject of the certificate (e.g., family and consumer science includes health, nutrition, textiles, etc.), the courses must be completed at an institution of higher education that is accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education offering a graduate degree in one of these disciplines.

    2. Graduate coursework in content linking pedagogy (see Pedagogical Core)
      • All content linking pedagogical coursework must be completed at an institution of higher education that is accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized for this purpose by the United States Department of Education with an approved teacher preparation program.

      • Coursework that links content to pedagogy may also be used to meet this requirement.  Content linking pedagogy refers to courses that focus on the methods of teaching content in the subject area of the Professional certificate sought.  For example, a secondary biology teacher could take courses in advanced curriculum development and instruction that would include 12 semester hours in pedagogical knowledge specific to teaching biology.  Graduate level content linking pedagogy can also be combined with graduate content in the subject area to meet the 12 semester hour requirement for Professional certification.

      IMPORTANT NOTE:  The 12 graduate semester hours may be included in the unrelated master's degree.
To see the list of related master's or higher degrees for the Professional certificate in the Inital certificate area, go to Professional Certificate - Chart of Related Master's Degree.
Last Updated: February 10, 2022