Teacher Certification Pathways

Adult students interested in teacher certification have several pathways available to them. Three major options exist; the pages linked below describe how study towards a degree at Empire State College can be relevant, and indicates when studies at the college are not useful to the student seeking certification.

Option 1: Master's Degrees Leading to Certification

Option 2: Traditional Master's Degree in Education

Option 3: Bachelor's Degrees Leading Directly to Certification

For information on New York state certification requirements and on public and private institutions in New York state that offer alternative master's degrees, traditional master's degrees or bachelor's degrees leading to teacher certification, see the New York State Education Department's Office of Teaching Initiatives.

Empire State College does not have a registered teacher-certification program at the undergraduate level but does offer a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) that leads to New York state teaching certification at the middle-school and secondary levels.


  • Undergraduate students interested in obtaining teacher certification should consult the New York State Education Department for specific requirements and share these requirements with their primary mentor.
  • Students planning to pursue certification after completing their Empire State College undergraduate degree should consult with the college through which they plan to pursue certification.
  • Often, undergraduate students seeking teacher certification are better served with liberal-arts or interdisciplinary concentrations.

 For more information about pathways to teacher certification, consult the educational studies website and speak with an educational studies or MAT mentor.

Master's Degree Leading to Alternative Certification

Students who earn a bachelor's degree at Empire State College (or at another accredited college) are eligible to apply for admission to the Empire State College M.A.T. program or to a master's degree program at another college. The Empire State College M.A.T. prepares students to teach in high-need schools and leads to middle- or high-school certification in math, science, English, foreign language or social studies.

Note: Students interested in elementary education, special education, arts education, physical education or similar areas, should investigate programs at other colleges. Undergraduate degrees in educational studies at Empire State College do not lead to teacher certification. Students in this area individually design concentrations in other aspects of education, often with a strong application to their own professional settings. For example, corporate and agency-based human resource professionals may design concentrations in areas such as adult development and training, and child care professionals may study child development and learning. Students also may pursue broad interdisciplinary interests such as knowledge, learning and culture within this area of study.

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