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Pennsylvania Teaching Certification: How to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania Teaching Certification: The Pennsylvania Department of Education offers a number of routes for teachers to pursue in order to get licensed (PDE). Candidates must successfully finish a state-approved certification program, a conventional bachelor’s degree, student teaching requirements, and qualifying examinations in order to become certified teachers in Pennsylvania.

Teachers with active or pending certification can apply for competitive employment openings through the PDE. Early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school teaching techniques and courses are all certification options for students. For instructors who were trained in-state or out-of-state, Pennsylvania offers a variety of certification courses as well as emergency certification for in-demand substitute teachers.

Pennsylvania’s licensed teachers rank among the highest-paid professionals in their industry nationwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest employer of secondary teachers in the United States, paying secondary teachers an annual mean wage of $69,530. (BLS). Our guide below will educate you how to become a teacher in Pennsylvania.

Teachers’ Employment Prospects in Pennsylvania

Public PreK–12 schools in Pennsylvania that accept certified instructors are available for employment. PDE offers certification options for educators, including administrators, substitute teachers, and teaching assistants. Eventually, teachers might obtain a master’s degree to get certified in an additional area and possibly earn more money.

In Pennsylvania, there is a huge demand for teachers. The PreK–12 teacher shortage, which affects subjects including special education, English, math, and social studies, was recently addressed by PDE. Due to a lack of suitable substitute instructors, Pennsylvania school districts issued emergency certifications in record numbers in 2021.

The BLS reports that Pennsylvania is one of the states that employs the most teachers, particularly secondary teachers in big metropolises like Philadelphia and Johnstown. Pennsylvania certified high school teachers get among the highest incomes in the nation for this occupation, with an annual mean wage ($69,530) that is greater than most other states.

Pennsylvania Teaching Certification
Pennsylvania Teaching Certification

Pennsylvania Teaching Certification: How to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania

By finishing a teacher education program that is PDE-approved, leads to a bachelor’s degree, and satisfies the state’s student teaching requirements, candidates can become certified to teach in Pennsylvania. Bachelor’s degree holders in fields other than education are also required to complete a program in teacher preparation. Teachers also need to pass background checks and exams for certification.

Public school teachers in Pennsylvania have the option of pursuing an instruction certificate in the subject and grade level they want to teach. At the request of some private schools, Pennsylvania now provides certification for academic private schools and grants district-level certification for substitute teaching. Instructors with teaching credentials from another state may be eligible for Pennsylvania licensure.

Get the Minimum Required Education

To become certified to teach in Pennsylvania, students must complete a bachelor’s degree program and maintain a 3.0 GPA. A generalist course of study, which is typical in primary education, or a major in a particular teaching subject and grade level, such middle school math, are both options for teachers. English as a second language (ESL) and special education are examples of further specialities.

To complete the minimal education requirements for licensing, Pennsylvania teachers most frequently enroll in certification programs that have been approved by the PDE. These bachelor’s degree programs contain the fieldwork required of instructors in Pennsylvania to obtain their teaching certification.

The following options are available from PDE to fulfill certification education requirements.

  • Finish a certification course that has been approved by PDE
  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in education or teaching (requires additional student-teaching experience)
  • Get a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education (requires additional approved certification program)
  • Comply with the reciprocity agreement with Pennsylvania by completing a teacher certification program in another state.
  • Possess a teaching certificate and at least two years of experience teaching in another state.

Obtain Experience Teaching Students

To be eligible for Pennsylvania teaching certification, PDE normally requires candidates to undergo a 12-week supervised student-teaching experience. The PDE-approved certification programs contain a practicum that satisfies the state’s criteria for on-the-job training in teaching along with education coursework at the bachelor’s level.

Through the necessary field component, students can build abilities in lesson design, student assessment, and classroom administration. Holders of a standalone bachelor’s degree who want to become teachers in Pennsylvania must also finish a separate teacher training program and satisfy student teaching requirements.

Also Read: 10 Best Early Childhood Education Colleges

Passing the Necessary Certification Exams

Before enrolling in a college or university’s approved certification program, PDE mandates that students take a basic skills evaluation. Students can apply for certification by passing a set of Praxis exams in their chosen teaching subject or specialization after finishing the program.

To pursue certification, all prospective teachers must pass reading, math, and writing proficiency examinations, albeit the minimal standards differ depending on the test’s administrator. Students can take these exams through the College Board, ACT, ETS, or ES Pearson.

Request Certification

In order to apply for a teaching certification in Pennsylvania, a candidate must submit all required documentation, including proof of their schooling, work history, and test results. Teachers who complete an accredited degree in Pennsylvania must pay $200 to PDE, while graduates of programs outside of Pennsylvania must pay $260.

Students can use PDE’s Teacher Information Management System to submit their applications online (TIMS). Responding to character assessment questions is a part of the application process. Via TIMS, applicants can track the progress of their application and eventually print their certificate. It takes about eight weeks to process certifications.

Pennsylvania Teaching Certification
Pennsylvania Teaching Certification

How Can I Keep My Pennsylvania Teaching License Active?

Act 48 must be followed by teachers in order to keep their teaching credentials valid in Pennsylvania. Act 48 lasts for five years after students have completed the prerequisites for renewal and starts on the day they get their initial teaching certificate. Every five years, teachers must fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain their certification.

Six semesters of undergraduate coursework, six CPE credits of PDE-approved coursework, 180 hours of CPE programs, additional PDE-approved activities or seminars, or any combination of the aforementioned are all acceptable options for continuing professional education (CPE). Students receive a reminder from PDE at least 12 months before the expiration of their renewal period.

The next renewal cycle will accept up to 50 hours of extra CPE that students have accrued during the previous two years.

Also Read: CMU Transfer Acceptance Rate

Teaching Jobs in Demand in Pennsylvania

Social Studies Teachers

Geography, history, and anthropology are all included in the social studies curricula. In order to teach students about human civilization, they also employ current events. These teachers may be certified as generalists to teach social studies alongside other topics or as specialists to teach social studies to students in elementary, middle, or high school.

$49,377 is the median annual salary.

Mathematics Teachers

However, math teachers can also obtain general certification to teach math with other subjects in K–6 classrooms. Most educators certified in this field work with middle or high school students. Math instructors must translate complicated calculations and formulas into terms that their young students can comprehend. Algebra, calculus, geometry, and trigonometry are all covered.

$51,353 is the median annual salary.

Special Education Teachers

Students with mild to severe learning, behavioral, or physical challenges are taught by special educators. To focus on pupils with severe disabilities, some special education teachers collaborate with other professionals and therapists. Special educators are in high demand in the nation’s teaching sector because they need a special set of skills that go beyond those of a typical teacher.

$61,500 is the median annual salary.

Middle Schools Teachers

Grades 5-8 pupils are taught by middle school teachers as they complete their elementary education and become ready for high school. In order to teach all subjects in middle school, future teachers can choose to earn a degree in general education. Alternatively, they can choose to focus on teaching one subject, such as math, science, or social studies.

$60,810 is the median annual salary.

High School Teachers

Teachers in high schools work with students in grades 9 through 12. They often obtain degrees and certifications in a particular field, such math, Language, or computer technology. Some high school teachers have chosen to concentrate in vocational and technical education, however this is more typical for postsecondary educators. They might also pursue certification in ESL or special education teaching.

$62,870 is the median annual salary.

Pennsylvania Teaching Certification
Pennsylvania Teaching Certification

Frequently Asked Questions

Without a teaching degree, is it possible to teach in Pennsylvania?

Alternative certification may be available for candidates for a teaching license who hold a bachelor's degree or higher in a subject area that has been endorsed but have not finished a standard teacher preparation program.

How long does it take to become a certified teacher in Pennsylvania?

Six to eight weeks, roughly. Applications are processed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) in six to eight weeks after our Certification Office receives them.

Is Pennsylvania a desirable location for educators?

According to a recent research, Pennsylvania is the top state for teachers in terms of pay.

Are there a lot of teachers in Pennsylvania?

By August 2025, the state will require thousands of new teachers, hundreds of new administrators, and thousands of educators in other crucial positions, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.


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