Option 1: Master's Degree Leading to Alternative Certification

One route to certification involves earning a bachelor's degree in an appropriate field and then entering an alternative master's program. These models offer a "fast track to the classroom" for working adults who want to change careers and become teachers.

Bachelor's Degree Requirements

The student completes a bachelor's degree from a four-year college. The student generally meets the following requirements at the undergraduate level:

  • a major or the equivalent of at least 30 credits in an academic field that meets NYS Education Department requirements
  • general-education course work that meets NYS Education Department requirements.

Opportunities Through Empire State College

The bachelor's degree may be from any accredited college, public or private, whether or not that college offers undergraduate teacher-certification programs.

A four-year degree from Empire State College can be excellent preparation for an alternative master's degree in education, either at Empire State College or at another college.

Graduate Degree Requirements

The student completes a master's degree in education or teaching from a college that has an approved, alternative teacher-certification program. The student generally meets the following requirements as part of the master's degree:

  • teacher education course work that meets NYS Education Department requirements
  • other requirements established by the master's degree institution.

Note: Master's programs generally require students to complete teacher-education course work for NYS Education Department requirements as part of the master's degree, so prior course work in teacher education is not necessary.

Opportunities Through Empire State College

The Empire State College Master of Arts in Teaching is an approved, alternative teacher-certification program. The M.A.T. leads to NYS transitional B certification in biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, mathematics, social studies, English, French or Spanish. See the program information page for details.

Admission to the Empire State College M.A.T. is selective. The best preparation includes:

  • a solid academic background in an academic field that meets NYS Education Department requirements for the student's intended certification
  • general education course work that meets NYS Education Department requirements for teacher certification
  • strong overall academic skills in writing, critical thinking and library- and Internet-based research.

Professional Preparation

Most alternative programs require intensive full-time study and professional preparation, for eight to12 weeks, usually during the summer. Immediately after the intensive program, the student enters the classroom as a certified teacher. The student must complete the master's degree during the next two or three years in order to obtain regular, initial certification.

Opportunities Through Empire State College

The professional preparation component of Empire State College's M.A.T. degree does not require students to give up full-time employment to complete an intensive program. Rather, students meet these requirements during the first year of part-time graduate study, while retaining their existing employment, and have the opportunity to enter the classroom as certified teachers at the start of the second year.