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Certification for Educators Prepared by Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Approved Preparation Programs

  1. What are PDE approved preparation programs?
    PDE approved preparation programs are designed to prepare and certify educators to teach or serve in the schools of the commonwealth. Preparation programs are offered by colleges/universities, intermediate units or other educational entities.

  2. Is there a list of PDE approved preparation programs on your website?
    Yes. For a list of PDE approved preparation programs and providers, go to Approved Certification Programs.

  3. How do I qualify for certification?
    • Be of good moral character
    • Be at least 18 years of age
    • Be a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident holding a valid green card
    • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree
    • Complete a Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) approved preparation program with a minimum 3.0 GPA
    • Meet all testing requirements
    • Submit an online application through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS)
    • The PDE approved preparation program provider must verify program completion through TIMS

  4. What tests do I need to pass to qualify for certification?
    For more information, refer to your TIMS summary page or Certification Testing and Scores.

  5. When should I take the tests?
    All required tests must be taken and passed before a certificate can be issued.

  6. How should I send my test scores to PDE?
    The testing company reports your scores electronically to PDE if you specify PDE as a score recipient when you register for the tests. If you have already taken your tests and did not request PDE as a score recipient, contact the appropriate company.

  7. Does my PDE approved preparation program provider need my test scores?
    Yes. Your approved preparation program provider needs your test scores.

  8. Do I need to submit separate applications to be certified in more than one subject area?
    No. If you were prepared by a PDE approved program provider for multiple subject areas, you can submit one application for all areas.

  9. What documents do I need to submit to complete my application?
    Refer to your TIMS application coversheet and only send the required documents listed.

  10. Do I need to submit clearance documents to PDE?
    No. Submit clearance documents to PDE only if you answered “yes” to any of the background questions on your application. Check your TIMS coversheet for a list of required documents.

  11. Do I need to submit college transcripts to PDE?
    No. Transcripts are not required because you were prepared by a PDE approved preparation program.

  12. May I obtain a temporary certificate while my application is under review?
    No. There are no provisions for a temporary certificate while an application is under review. You may not begin serving until your certificate is issued. To substitute, a public school may ask you to obtain an emergency permit by submitting a permit request through TIMS.

  13. How do I check the status of my application?
    Access your TIMS dashboard and look to the left side of your screen under “Application(s) in Process.” Your status will be in the third column. You may also check the status of your application on the public website at www.teachercertification.pa.gov.

  14. Once my application has been approved, will PDE mail my certificate?
    No. Paper certificates are no longer printed and mailed. You must access your TIMS dashboard to print an unofficial copy. Certification can only be officially verified through TIMS or the public website at www.teachercertification.pa.gov.

  15. Who should I contact if I have questions regarding the process?
    • If you have questions regarding your program, testing, GPA, etc., you should contact your approved program provider.
    • If you have questions regarding a TIMS application, contact the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.