To become a teacher in Pennsylvania, you must meet a variety of educational requirements and standards for certification. Students must first earn a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Once done completing a bachelor's degree, students should enter an accredited teacher preparation program and complete supervised student teaching. The state of Pennsylvania tests all students for general and professional knowledge as well as subject area knowledge before granting teacher certification. Additional testing may be required depending on the level of education that you want to teach.
Out-of-state teachers who are interested in gaining teacher certification in the state of Pennsylvania may not need to complete all testing required for new teachers in the state. However, they must complete the content test in their particular grade level and area of study.
Areas of Specialization for Teachers in Pennsylvania
Potential educators need to decide what grade level of education they are most interested in teaching, so they can pursue the appropriate teaching certificate. Some teachers can also choose a specialty such as Special Education, Adult Education, School Administration, Educational Specialist, or Vocational Education. Students can choose to apply for certification in areas such as:
- Grades 4-8
- Secondary Certificates (grades 7-12)
- All Grades (pre-kindergarten to grade 12)
If you plan on choosing an education specialty, you may also need to apply for a certificate that is directly connected to your specialty or focus. More information about the different types of teacher certifications can be found on the Department of Education website.
Pennsylvania Teacher Licensing Requirements
Becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania requires a series of steps and several years to achieve. First, a student must earn a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Second, the student must complete a state-accredited teacher preparation program and complete supervised student teaching as instructed by their program. Once a student has completed those education requirements, he or she can take the appropriate assessments required to apply for teacher's certification in the state of Pennsylvania. Current tests administered include general testing for reading, writing, and mathematics (PAPA), PRAXIS I for fundamental subjects and content knowledge, and PRAXIS II for specific content knowledge.
Once the basic assessments are completed, students will be asked to complete specific testing in relation to the grade level and subject matter that they want to teach. At this point you can also apply for a variety of specific certificates that can allow you to focus on a particular area of education. Some of the possibilities include:
- Educational specialist certificates
- Administrative and supervisory certificates
- Vocational certificates
Students will also be required to undergo a thorough background check in order to prove that they have moral character as defined by the state of Pennsylvania. If you're looking to be a potential educator in the state, you should check with the Pennsylvania Department of Education for more detailed information on their requirements for becoming a teacher.
Out-of-State Educators in Pennsylvania
Out-of-state educators who wish to earn a teaching credential in Pennsylvania can do so in two different ways:
- You can apply to the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality. The bureau may then inform you of any possible requirements you may still have to fulfill.
- You can apply for a teaching license through the Interstate Certification Agreement. No matter which path you choose, you will likely need to pass Pennsylvania's assessment tests to qualify for a teaching certificate. For more information about how out-of-state educators can earn a certificate to teach in Pennsylvania, please visit the state's Department of Education website.
Alternate Paths to Teaching in Pennsylvania
The state of Pennsylvania offers two alternate routes to attaining a teacher's certification. The Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program allows students with a bachelor's degree to teach with supervision while they complete a teacher's preparation program. In order to qualify, you must complete the appropriate education requirements and testing as required by the state of Pennsylvania.
You may also apply for teacher's certification by meeting the requirements defined by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). To achieve a teacher's certification this way, you must first pass the ABCTE tests in pedagogy and the subject area. The next step for students would be to apply for a Pennsylvania Temporary Teaching Permit (TTP) which can allow you to serve in public schools in Pennsylvania under the supervision of another teacher. Additional information on other routes to certification can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.
- "Alternative Program Providers," Pennsylvania Department of Education, http://www.education.pa.gov/Teachers%20-%20Administrators/Certification%20Preparation/Pages/Alternative-Program-Providers.aspx#.VQG7kX7D-Uk
- Pennsylvania Department of Education, http://www.education.pa.gov/Teachers%20-%20Administrators/Certifications/Pages/default.aspx