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PA Teacher Certification
Sept. 1, 2013 Changes — As of Sept. 1, 2013, many of the certification areas listed above will change to comply with curricular and certification changes across Pennsylvania. Prior to 48 undergraduate credits and/or formal admission from pre-teacher education (PTE) to the teacher education (PS) major, all students — Pennsylvania students, as well as out-of-state students — are required to pass three Praxis I Academic Skills Assessment Tests administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
As of fall 2008, those Praxis I tests remain as: Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) 10710 or 5710 PPST Reading, 20720 or 5720 PPST Writing and 10730 or 5730 PPST Mathematics. A limited number of users at any one time may access PLATO, a web tutorial for Praxis I, which is available to BU students and alumni. Instructions available through PLATO.
Following completion of BU's teacher education program, candidates may apply to become certified to teach in Pennsylvania or other states. The Teacher Certification Coordinator coordinates the Pennsylvania application process and assists, as needed, with out-of-state forms requiring signatures. Programs offered for Instructional Level I certification are:
- Business, computers and information technology K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12)
- Early childhood N-3 (nursery through grade 3)
- Elementary education K-6 (kindergarten through grade 6)
- Foreign languages K-12 French or German or Spanish. The teacher intern program is available for those who already possess a bachelor's degree in the discipline.
- Music education K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12)
- Reading specialist K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12, graduate level certification)
- Special education N-12 (nursery through grade 12)
- Special education hearing impaired N-12 (nursery through grade 12, graduate level certification)
- Special education speech/language impaired N-12 (nursery through grade 12, graduate level certification)
- Secondary education (grades 7 through12) includes biology, chemistry, citizenship education, communication, earth and space science, English, general science, mathematics, and physics. Secondary education programs have the option of the teacher intern program for those who already possess a bachelor's degree in the discipline.
Programs offered for Educational Specialist certification at the graduate level are:
- Instructional technology specialist K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12, graduate level certification)
- School nurse specialist K-12 (kindergarten through grade 12)
- Elementary School Counselor K-6
- Secondary School Counselor 7-12
Programs offered for Supervisory certification at the graduate level are:
- Supervisor-curriculum and instruction K-12
- Supervisor-special education K-12
Program offered for administrative certification at the graduate level is:
- Principal K-12
Program offered for Program Specialist certification at undergraduate and/or graduate level is:
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
Testing Requirements by Certificate Type
In addition to the bachelor's degree and academic program completion, a total of four to five Praxis tests are required for initial, Instructional Level I, teacher certification in Pennsylvania. After the three Praxis I PPSTs described above, candidates must pass the Praxis II: Subject Assessment, sometimes called the subject specialty. In addition, for all certification areas that cover grades K-6 or K-12, candidates must pass Praxis II test 0511 Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge.
Teachers who already possess a valid Pennsylvania Instructional Level I or II certificate are exempt from the Praxis I and Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge tests; however, they must pass the Praxis II subject assessment. It is the student's responsibility to register for the proper Praxis tests and to identify 2646 on the Praxis test registration form for "Attending Institution" and under "Designated Score Recipients."
Any changes that Pennsylvania makes during the year in Pennsylvania-required PRAXIS tests or qualifying scores will be posted here. PDE recognizes the qualifying scores of any PRAXIS test identified as "replaced" for a period of ten years from the date of test administration, if the test administration was prior to the date it was replaced.
If a qualifying score changes on an existing PRAXIS test, the qualifying score in effect for Pennsylvania on the date the certification application reaches PDE is the score that applies. Qualifying scores may be subject to change. Faculty advisors can guide about required PRAXIS tests. After all academic and Praxis requirements are completed, candidates may apply for Pennsylvania certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). After your application is submitted through TIMS, a Substitute Teaching Letter may be obtained through the Teacher Certification Coordinator, Angela McCabe, McCormick 3103-C. Instructions updated for BU in 2012 can be accessed here.
Principal and supervisory certificate candidates complete the same certification application forms, plus a verification of five years of work experience — form PDE338V — which can be printed from here.
Those seeking dual certificates need both subject specialty Praxis tests. In Pennsylvania the first teaching certificate and exceptions to Pennsylvania's "add on" options, as well as all educational specialist, supervisory, and administrative certificates must be recommended by and the application routed through the preparing university. After the first instructional certificate, Pennsylvania requires proof of continuing education every five years as part of Act 48. The instructional level I certificate is valid for six service years; however, between the third and sixth year of teaching in Pennsylvania, the teacher must apply for an Instructional Level II certificate through PDE. Act 48, adding certificates, and Level II (Applicants Prepared in PA) are described here.
Out-of-State Certification and Interstate Certification Agreements
It's highly recommended, but not required, that program completers apply for Pennsylvania certification soon after graduation. However, if a different state is pursued first, graduates of Pennsylvania-approved programs are advised to contact the teacher certification/licensure office in the appropriate state for forms and instructions. Candidates complete out-of-state applications themselves; however, if a signature of the certifying officer is required, the form may be sent to the teacher certification coordinator at Bloomsburg University.
Since April 2001, Pennsylvania has signed an Interstate Agreement with the following 45 other states/jurisdictions. Holders of Pennsylvania Instructional Level I or Level II Certificates are eligible, subject to special provisions, for consideration in other states.
Participating states currently include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
This list is updated as additional states complete the contract process and the current list is maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Title II Report
In October 1998, Congress enacted Title II of the Higher Education Act. Title II includes accountability measures in the form of reporting requirements for institutions and states on teacher preparation and licensing. Section 207 of Title II requires the annual preparation and submission of three reports: one from institutions to states, a second from states to the U.S. Secretary of Education, and a third from the Secretary to Congress and the public.