Technology Specialist

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia University Logo
secondary banner

The Center for Technology and School Change

Teachers College, Columbia University

Technology Specialist

With technology changing every aspect of our world, K-12 school systems are still discovering creative uses of technology and how to integrate it in the classroom. Under the advisement of Dr. Ellen Meier, who also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Technology Specialist K-12 Certification program at Teachers College, preservice teachers in the Technology Specialist program are prepared to support K-12 teachers across different content areas in the design and implementation of technology-integrated projects and to serve in leadership roles within a school, school district or other educational settings.

Through courses built on theory and practice, preservice teachers understand how digital technologies can be used to shift traditional educational practices towards 21st century teaching and learning approaches. Preservice teachers complete courses covering appropriate uses of technology, cognition and computing, curriculum design and project development, organizational change and leadership. In addition to their fieldwork and student teaching requirements, preservice Technology Specialists have the opportunity to observe how facilitators at the Center collaborate and provide situated professional development and on-site support to teachers and administrators in different school settings to further their understanding of the impact of technology in schools.


The Technology Specialist program at Teachers College leads to an initial New York State certification as an “Educational Technology Specialist” for grades PreK – 12. Below is a checklist of items needed for NYS certification:
____ Complete the Masters program in Educational Technology Specialist.
____ Pass the NYSTCE Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST)
____ Pass the NYSTCE Elementary/ Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written: ATS-W (Secondary)
____ Pass the NYSTCE the Content Specialty Test- Educational Technology Specialist (CST 071)
____ Complete two workshops: child abuse and violence prevention
____ Obtain fingerprint clearance
____ File an Institutional Recommendation Data Form in the OTE/SSS office (Russell Hall room 400) along with required documents (official bachelors’ transcript, workshop proof) when M.A. degree is awarded
____ Create a NYSED-TEACH account and file for the electronic certificate.

The Office of Teacher Education/School-Based Support Services (OTE/SSS) serves as an ongoing resource to this certification program and provides information, support and resources to faculty and students engaged in the certification process.

  • A Professional Development role – The ETS would train peers on various technologies and coordinate technology integration within the classroom.
  • A Technology Teacher role – The ETS would teach students how to use various technologies either in a computer lab, or as a push-in to classrooms with laptop carts or 1:1 laptop programs. This should not be confused with a technology teacher in the previously-known-as “industrial arts” department.
  • A Technology Coordinator role – The ETS would have a more administrative role coordinating the purchasing, recommendations, and technical support of the technology in a school.
  • Some combination of the above. Some technology specialists may also be responsible for running enrichment programs or computer clubs within the school.
  • What department does the Technology Specialist program fall within at TC? The Technology Specialist program is part of the Communication, Computing and Technology Education program within the department of Math, Science and Technology.
  • Where can I find more information about the program requirements? Degree requirements and information can be found here.
  • How many credits are required to complete the program? The program requires 38 points of coursework. Course points from previous, non-Teachers College work cannot be transferred in to count toward the 38 points required for this M.A. degree. This is true for all M.A. programs at Teachers College.
  • How long will it take me to complete the program? This depends on whether you are attending part-time or full-time. If you take two courses on average per semester and attend Fall, Spring and Summer you can finish in two years. This includes taking classes while student teaching.
  • What courses does the program consist of? The program consists of 4 main components: Core Content, Pedagogy Concentration, Student Teaching/Practicum and Electives. Please view the program guide for more information.
  • How flexible are the program requirements? There is limited flexibility in the program because of the guidelines set forth by New York State for programs leading to certification. However, based on prior experience and with the approval of the program advisor, you may be able to substitute some courses to fulfill the 38-credit program requirements. Additionally, some classes may be offered for variable credit in which you can opt to take the courses for fewer credits, allowing for additional electives within the program.
  • What are the course formats? Some courses are classroom-based, and some are offered online. Classroom-based courses typically meet once per week in the Fall and Spring or twice per week in the Summer. Online courses can be synchronous, meeting once per week using Adobe Connect, or asynchronous. The asynchronous classes generally do not meet at any specific time and use a learning management platform such as Moodle, Blackboard, Teachers College proprietary ClassWeb, Wikis or other technologies. Some one-credit courses are also offered as workshops which meet in person for two full days, including weekends.
  • When are courses offered? Courses are offered during the Fall, Spring and Summer sessions. Courses may be offered in person or online. During the summer, online courses are longer than face-to-face courses. The latter courses are two days per week. Most Fall and Spring in-person courses are offered from 3-5 pm, 5-7 pm or 7-9 pm.
  • Is there an opportunity for financial aid or scholarships? Financial aid and scholarships are available on a limited basis for Masters students. Work study is also an option.
  • Are there students who are in the program or have completed the program who would be willing to speak with me? Yes, alumni of the Technology Specialist program would be happy to speak with you. The program advisor can connect you with graduates of our program.
  • May I observe a sample class before deciding to enroll? Yes, this can be arranged. The program advisor will work with you to determine an appropriate class within your schedule availability.
  • What is the background of the students in this program? Students in track one of the program come from a variety of backgrounds and generally consists of career changers who wish to enter the field of education after spending several years in another (usually related) occupation. The program also attracts those who have recently completed undergraduate degrees and wish to work in education. Students in track two of the program are typically full-time teachers who are interested in earning an additional NYS certification related to technology.
  • How long has this program existed at TC? The Technology Specialist program has been in existence since 2005 after the state established this certification category in 2004. The program at Teachers College has been steadily growing. Teachers College is very involved with the decision-makers in Albany who are continuously working to meet the needs of K-12 schools.
  • What is the final MA Integrative Project? The Masters project is a required for all candidates within the CCTE program and is defined by the student and the program advisor. The purpose is a final cumulative evaluation of the learnings obtained throughout the program.
  • What are the other required assessments to be fulfilled? In addition to completing a final integrative project, candidates must develop a curriculum unit, school technology plan, student teaching journal, and classroom observation project.
  • What is the difference between an “Approved Program of Study” and the “Individual Pathway” program? Teachers College is an approved program of study for candidates seeking initial certification as educational technology specialists. An individual pathway would require candidates to have completed many of the requirements of the program previously and apply directly to the state for certification.
  • What is the certification received? An initial certification as an Educational Technology Specialist for grades K-12.
  • How many hours of observation are required? When and where do these take place? 100 hours of observation time is required with 50 hours in elementary and 50 hours in secondary settings. Most students complete their observation hours during the same semester in which they do their student teaching. However, students can choose to complete the hours prior to student teaching and observe in different locations.
  • How many student teaching/practicum hours are required? How does placement work? Candidates in track one of the program are required to student teach for a minimum of 40 days (20 days at the elementary level and 20 days at the secondary level) or the equivalent of 200 hours (100 hours at the elementary level and 100 hours at the secondary level). The elementary and secondary placements occur in two different semesters. Students are allowed to take courses the same semesters in which they complete their student teaching. Placements will be determined in cooperation with your advisor. The student teaching placement may include time both inside and outside the classroom as the role of a technology specialist does not always include teaching students, but also includes teaching teachers, planning technology usage or other related functions. Before student teaching you will need to receive a clearance letter from the Office of Teacher Education. For more information on student teaching, visit the Teachers College Student Teaching Information site.
  • What locales will I be certified to work in? The Teachers College Technology Specialist program certifies you to teach and work within New York State. Should you desire to teach outside of New York State, you should refer to your state board of education to determine reciprocity agreements that may exist.
  • What exams must I take for state certification? There are three state exams that are required for certification. It is recommended that you complete the exams 4 – 6 weeks prior to your graduation. For more information and online preparation guides, visit the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations web site. The three state exams needed: 1. LAST – Liberal Arts and Sciences Test 2. ATS-W – Assessments of Teaching Skills – Written (Secondary) 3. CST – Content Specialty Test for Educational Technology Specialist (071).
  • When should I take these exams? In any specific order? These exams do not need to be taken in any order. The LAST should be taken as early as possible. The CST should be taken after completing most of the core content courses. The ATS-W should be completed as soon as possible after completing most of the pedagogical content courses. It is important to remember that you should register for these tests at least one month prior to the exam date to avoid unnecessary late fees. Additionally, scores are received one month after the exam date and early registration deadlines for the next scheduled exam may be before you receive your scores.
  • What other requirements are there for certification? Additional information on certification is available from the Office of Certification and Compliance.