Pennsylvania considers the education of its children to be among the highest priorities of state government and has dedicated many resources toward that end. Educators prepare for their responsibilities in the schools of the Commonwealth by the completion of (1) state-approved teacher education programs including a student teaching or intern experience, (2) Praxis I and Praxis II assessments and (3) application materials documenting that all certificate requirements have been met. Those requirements have been raised significantly in recent years.
In this section, you will find information on approved teacher preparation programs, the Interstate Agreement, the requirements for certification and the application process.
Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation
Division of Candidate Evaluation Services
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
About Certification for Applicants Prepared Outside of Pennsylvania
These questions and answers are based on current regulations 22 PA Code Chapter 49, Certification of Professional Personnel as of September 1999.
1. Is a PDE certificate required in Pennsylvania?
Yes. Any professional serving in the public schools must hold an appropriate, valid Pennsylvania certificate.
2. What type/area certificate is required?
Types of certificates are: Instructional, Vocational Instructional, Educational Specialist, Intern, Supervisory, Administrative and Letters of Eligibility. Please refer to the list of Subject Areas and Codes on page 8. Individuals must maintain an active certificate as mandated by Act 48 of 1999 (continuing professional education).
3. What do the terms “Level I” and “Level II” mean?
Pennsylvania currently has two levels of certification. The initial certificate, Level I, is valid for a specific number of service years, during which time you must complete established requirements. Upon completion of those requirements, the Level I may be converted to a Level II certificate. If not converted, the Level I lapses. You may not be employed in a Pennsylvania public school with a lapsed certificate.
4. How do I qualify for a certificate?
Candidates who have completed approved certification programs at out-of-state colleges may have their credentials reviewed directly by the Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation by submitting the application packet. If the evaluation by the Bureau reveals minor deficiencies in the candidate’s preparation program, the Bureau will prescribe the additional requirements. If a major deficiency is found, applicants will be advised to contact a college with an
approved certification program.
A graduate of an out-of-state college may be eligible for certification in Pennsylvania provided that:
The recommending college has a state-approved preparation/certification program in the area of certification requested;
The applicant has received a recommendation from the dean or department of education chairperson of the preparing college (provision is made for this recommendation on the application form), or possesses a teaching certificate comparable to the Pennsylvania Level I certificate;
The preparation program completed by the applicant is comparable to approved programs offered by Pennsylvania colleges. Certificates are issued only for major areas of study;
The applicant applying for his/her Pennsylvania Certificate obtains a satisfactory score on the Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Tests; and
The applicant meets all other requirements established by law (School Code 1209).
5. Does Pennsylvania have an Interstate Certification Agreement?
Pennsylvania has signed an Interstate Agreement with 45 other states/jurisdictions based upon the mutually agreed-upon conditions of that contract. It should be noted, however, that in all cases, candidates for Pennsylvania certification must complete the Praxis tests required by Pennsylvania. In order for this Bureau to evaluate an application using the Interstate Agreement, the candidate must provide verification that he/she has:
Been awarded a baccalaureate degree
Completed a state-approved teacher education program, including a supervised student teaching experience, leading to a comparable or broader certificate in the member state
Received the recommendation from the certification officer at the college or university on an application form designated by this Bureau
Complied with all ancillary requirements, including Pennsylvania tests and college minimum grade-point average
Met all Pennsylvania requirements related to citizenship as well as moral, ethical and physical/mental fitness
Candidates who possess a valid and comparable (in subject and grade level scope) certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards will be issued a Professional Instructional II certificate. The applicant will not be asked to complete any additional requirements for that certificate, including Praxis Series tests.
The following sections of the Interstate Agreement have not been signed by Pennsylvania:
· Alternative preparation or alternative certification
· Certification and experience without having completed an approved program
· Vocational, educational specialist, administrator or supervisor
As of April 2001, the following states/jurisdictions have agreed to sign a contract with Pennsylvania: