Top 20 (+1!) 

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. Where can I be fingerprinted?
  2. When should I get fingerprinted?
  3. How long do fingerprints take to clear?
  4. How can I tell if my fingerprints have cleared?
  1. What exams do I need?
  2. Can I take them all at the same time?
  3. What if I took the test last year and selected UB instead of Buffalo State College?  Can I still get certified?
  4. Do I need to send my scores to the Teacher Certification Office?
  5. I am graduating but have not taken all of my necessary exams.  What now?
  1. What seminars do I need?
  2. Where can I take these seminars?
  3. How much do they cost?
  4. What should I do with my seminar completion certificates?
  1. Where do I apply for certification?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. How do you pay the fee for certification? 
  4. How do will I know when I have been certified?
  5. When will I get my certificate from New York State?
  6. Can I apply for jobs before I receive my certificate?
  7. What do I do if I want to get certified to teach in another state?
  8. You took all your tests, seminars and will graduate at the end of the semester.  Now what? 

1.  After you have applied for fingerprint processing through TEACH Online Services and have received fingerprint cards from NYSED, you may have your inked fingerprints applied to the cards in the Teacher Certification Office (716-878-6121), the University Police Department or your local police department.

2.  You should get fingerprinted as soon as possible!   Your fingerprints should be processed through TEACH Online Services prior to student teaching.   

3.  Fingerprints take several weeks to clear. 

4.  You can check the status of your fingerprints by calling OSPRA at 518-473-2998.  

5.  You will need the LAST, ATS-W and a Content Specialty Exam.  The Content Specialty Exam will be specific to your program.  For example, Childhood Education majors will take the CST - Multi while English 7-12 majors will take the CST - English Language Arts.  Please note that Exceptional Education majors will take the CST - Multi and the CST - SWD. **IMPORTANT** IF YOU ARE COMPLETING YOUR PROGRAM IN THE SPRING 2013 OR LATER, YOU SHOULD WAIT UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE BEFORE TAKING ANY CERTIFICATION EXAMS.

6.  No, you will not be able to take the tests simultaneously.  Some tests are offered in the morning, while others are offered in the afternoon.  The NYSTCE website will advise you of test availability.  Please also make a note of test day rules when you sign up for your tests.

7.  We ask students to select SUC Buffalo during the exam registration to ensure SUC Buffalo receives your scores.  However, New York State receives your exam scores regardless of the institution you select  -  you can still be certified because the scores are attached to your social security number in the TEACH system.

8.  No, you do not need to send your scores to our office.  We can access whether you passed or failed in the TEACH system.  TEACH will access your exams through your social security number.  You should maintain your original test score notifications in a safe place, should you ever be asked to produce them.  TEACH  indicates only that you passed the test, not your score; the Teacher Certification Office does receive or maintain your test scores and cannot provide them to you in the future.

9.  New York State will not issue your certification until all of your necessary exam scores are posted.  You must pass all of your exams to be certified.  However, please apply for certification in the meantime.  If you have graduated, please apply for certification on the TEACH website and submit your Release Authorization Form and copies of your seminars.  This will allow us to recommend you for certification.  Once all of your exam scores are posted, NYSED will issue your certificate.

10.  All teacher certification candidates who are applying for Initial Certification need to complete specific required seminars.   Please access the seminars portion of our website to find out which ones you need.

11.  All seminars are available on campus through the Continuing Professional Studies Office.   Some seminars are also available online.  For more information, visit the Seminar section of the Teacher Certification Office Website.

12.   Their approximate cost will be $35.00 to $45.00 for each seminar.

13.  You should hold onto your original seminar completion certificates.   When you are ready to apply for certification, you will submit COPIES of the seminar certificates with your Release Authorization Form.   The copies that you submit are not maintained by our office, and you will not be able to obtain them from us in the future.

14.  You apply for certification online through the TEACH website.  Before applying, please dowload the step by step application directions for your academic department.

15.  Each college-recommended certificate costs 50.00.

16.  You can pay the fee online (during the application process) with MasterCard or Visa.  If you do not have a credit card, you may mail in a money order. 

17.  Great question!  After you have applied through TEACH and submitted your Release Authorization Form and seminars, you can access the status of your application online.

18.  After you have applied through TEACH, submitted your Release Authorization form with seminars certificates of completion and your program completion is officially listed as "awarded" in Banner, the Teacher Certification Officer will recommend you for certification.  You cannot be recommended until your degree is posted by the Registrar’s Office, which takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks after the semester ends.  If you have completed all certification requirements and have applied correctly on TEACH, your Initial Certification should be listed on TEACH within a few days of the recommendation.

19.  You will not receive a paper certificate for your Initial Certification.  School Districts in New York State will use TEACH Online Services to verify your certification status.  You may wish to print the page of your TEACH account that lists your issued certificate(s) if you are asked to provide verification.

20.  If you want to get certified to teach in another state, please access the New York State Reciprocity Agreement.  It is also essential to access each state’s specific requirements.  These are available on each state’s Department of Education website.

21.  Be sure to apply for graduation.  Graduation through the college is separate from certification.  You can apply through the Registrar’s Office