See program requirements for a list of the Education courses required for teacher certification. In addition to these certification track courses, certification candidates must major in the subject area they plan to teach (see certification areas in the menu on the left for details) and complete the following general state requirements for all certification candidates in Pennsylvania.
For an all-inclusive look at the requirements, as well as detailed information about the student teaching program, refer to the Certification Handbook (below).
General State Requirements
English and Math (undergraduates only)
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires certification candidates to meet the following course or test requirements.
- One course in English composition (freshman writing fulfills this requirement) [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 Subject Test in Math counts (either Mathematics Level 1 or 2) as does AP credit for calculus or statistics) [not required for post-baccs]
GPA of 3.0
To be enrolled in the program—and later to be recommended for certification—students must have a GPA of at least a 3.0. Students with a GPA in the 2.8-2.99 range may enroll on a provisional basis. To be recommended for certification, they must meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education's score requirement on the Praxis Subject Area test for those with a GPA in this range.
Basic Skills Test (undergraduates only)
- Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT): If before college, you earned an SAT score of 500 or higher in each individual section—Critical Reading, Writing, Mathematics - you meet the State's Basic Skills Assessment requirement.
- American College Test (ACT) Plus Writing: If you took the ACT before 2015 and earned a composite score of 23 accompanied by a combined English/Writing score of 22 or higher and a Math score of 21 or higher, you meet the State's Basic Skills Assessment requirement. Tests taken after September 2015 require separate scores of Reading: 22; Mathematics: 21; and Writing: 21.
If you haven't yet met the requirement with your SAT or ACT score, you have to take the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) in reading, math, and writing. For information, go to http://www.pa.nesinc.com/.
Subject Area Tests
Before the State will approve a certification candidate's application, the candidate must pass a Praxis II test in their subject area. For information, go to http://www.ets.org/praxis. If pursuing a foreign language certification, students must also take the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge test. We advise students to take the Praxis exam after junior year and by January before the student teaching semester.
Extracurricular Teaching Experience
Teacher certification candidates must gain extracurricular teaching experience, ideally working with middle or high school students. They may meet this requirement in one of the following ways:
- Preferred: Playing the role of a teacher, teaching assistant, or coach for at least 60 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.
- Taking an additional education course for which fieldwork in a school or other learning setting is a requirement.
- Extending the student teaching experience from the minimum requirement of 12 weeks to 14 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.