In addition to engaging in the education and psychology coursework listed under Program Requirements, teacher certification candidates must also meet the following requirements. They must also align their major coursework to the State's requirements for teachers in their specific subject area. For information about courses required in the various certification areas, select the appropriate certification area to the left (English, Mathematics, etc.).
Extracurricular teaching experience
Teacher certification candidates must gain extracurricular teaching experience, ideally working with middle or high school students (through a summer teaching experience, such as Summerbridge, for example, or through a tutoring program). Certification candidates maymeet this requirement by:
a) [Preferred] Playing the role of a teacher, teaching assistant, or coach for at least sixty extracurricular hours, working with groups of children in a learning environment. During this time, the certification candidate should be engaged in planning, preparing for, and carrying out activities for groups of children.
b) Taking an additional education course for which fieldwork in a school or other learning setting is a requirement.
c) Extending the student teaching experience from the minimum requirement of twelve weeks to fourteen weeks, allowing an extra two weeks at the start of the experience to apprentice with their cooperating teacher before taking on full responsibility for teaching.
English and math course requirements for undergraduates
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that certification candidates meet the following course or test requirements. NOTE: Alumni/ae enrolled in the Teacher Education Program as post-baccalaureate students do NOT need to meet the math and English course requirements.
- One course in English composition (freshman writing and ESEM both fulfill this requirement, as does a score of 600 or above on the SAT II Writing test) [not required for post-baccs]
- One course in American or English literature (AP English credit counts) [not required for post-baccs]
- Two mathematics courses (a score of 560 or above on the SAT II Math Level IC test counts, as does AP credit for calculus or statistics) [not required for post-baccs]
Second semester sophomores or post-bacc applicants must have an entrance GPA of at least a 3.0 (some exceptions apply). To be recommended for certification, students must have an exit GPA of at least a 3.0.
Basic skills (PAPA, SAT, or ACT) and content knowledge(Praxis) tests
Students applying for certification must pass the following tests:
- (Undergraduates only - the State has exempted post-baccs from this requirement) If you scored below a 1550 on the SAT, or if you scored below a 500 on any individual section of the SAT (Critical Reading, Writing, Mathematics), you must take the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) in reading, math, and writing (by the fall prior to the student teaching semester). For information, go to http://www.pa.nesinc.com/. Note that a composite score of 23 on the ACT Plus Writing accompanied by a combined English/Writing score of 22 and a Math score of 21 will also exempt you from the PAPA.
- A Praxis II Subject Assessment test for the subject area(s) in which they are pursuing certification. For information, go to http://www.ets.org/praxis. To find out which Praxis II exam to take, go to the above Praxis link, then under "State Testing Requirements," select "Pennsylvania," then "go." Click "tests for their certification area," then scroll down to "Secondary Education (Grades 7-12)" OR, for languages, "K-12 Areas."
- If pursuing a foreign language certification (which is a K-12 certification), students also need to take the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge test (Test Code 5511). .For information, go to http://www.ets.org/praxis.
**When registering for a Praxis test, students should request that the score report be sent to the Department of Education in the State in which they plan to apply for teacher certification.**