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How to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania

Drexel University School of Education

Home to more than five hundred school districts, Pennsylvania provides aspiring teachers with no shortage of opportunities for career growth and advancement. Rising statewide demand for qualified educators makes teaching in PA an excellent way to start a teaching career. Below you can learn about how to get a teaching certificate in PA and the kinds of requirements you’ll need to complete.

Teachers with better qualifications are better prepared to help students; take a moment to request information about opportunities to become a teacher in Pennsylvania through the School of Education at Drexel University.

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Teacher in Pennsylvania?

Figuring out what degree you need to be a teacher will depend on your state. Like most states, becoming a teacher in PA requires candidates to possess at least a Bachelor’s degree. The most direct route is with Undergraduate Education Degrees, which can help you complete various requirements, like requirements for student teaching.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, you’ll also need to complete a teacher education program that has both regional accreditation and accreditation by the Department of Education. For Pennsylvania, that means accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Student Teaching Through Drexel’s School of Education

Having hands-on classroom experience is required to become a teacher in Pennsylvania. The student teaching experience allows future educators the opportunity to apply the pedagogical theory to classroom practice, while under the supervision of a teacher mentor. Student teaching lasts a minimum of 13 weeks and allows pre-service teachers to gain practical experience teaching specific grade-levels and subjects.

Not all student teaching programs are alike. For instance, the Drexel University School of Education provides students with a range of options to specialize the student teaching experience, like the Undergraduate Co-Op program.

Combining hands-on experience with classroom work, the co-op program provides immersive and flexible approach to student teaching. For instance, students seeking a biology certification might co-op with a bioscience firm. With placements based on the major of the student and their areas of interest, these programs can help you go above and beyond PA student teaching requirements.

Required Certifications for Pennsylvania School Teachers

Apart from earning a bachelor’s degree, a teacher education program, and student teaching experience, there are a few more requirements to become a teacher in the state of Pennsylvania. Completing PA teaching certification requirements will require completing a variety of pedagogical, general skills, and subject-specific exams.

That includes the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA), Praxis Core exams, and any relevant Praxis subject exams. For example, someone aspiring to become a middle school math teacher would need to complete the subject exam for middle school mathematics.

While Undergraduate Teacher Certification Requirements vary state by state, most states have requirements which are similar to Pennsylvania. It’s also possible to above and beyond meeting the bare minimum Pennsylvania teaching requirements with Postgraduate Education Certifications.

Required Clearances for Pennsylvania School Teachers

What clearances do you need to teach in PA? Pennsylvania law requires teachers and teacher candidates to complete a federal background check, a Pennsylvania state criminal records check, and a Pennsylvania child abuse history clearance. Check out our clearances and student teaching forms page for additional information.

In addition to being fingerprinted, there are a number of small fees associated with completing these clearances. The total cost is around $55. It’s also important to allow time for documents to be processed, and you should complete your clearances at least eight weeks before starting student teaching.

Additional Certifications for Teachers in Pennsylvania

Certification could be considered the bare minimum requirement for becoming a teacher. There are also a variety of add-on teaching certifications that can improve your qualifications. Drexel offers certification in a variety of areas including Teaching English as a Second Language, Reading Specialist, Special Education, Principal certification and more. Check out our certifications page to learn more.

Graduate Education Certificate Programs

Drexel University’s School of Education offers 14 graduate certificates as an outgrowth of the master’s program. That includes Graduate Education Certificate Programs in areas including:

  • Certificate in Instructional Design
  • Certificate in K-12 Virtual School Leadership
  • Certificate in Dyslexia Specialist (Wilson Language® certification)
  • Certificate in STEM Education
  • Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis

Certificates are essentially a letter of recommendation from the issuing institution which says the recipient has a particular type of expertise, and they’re ready to apply it to practice. Possessing a certificate can help improve an educator’s ability to serve students, and it can create new opportunities for career advancement.