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​Pennsylvania Certification

Pennsylvania considers the education of its children to be among the highest priorities of state government and has dedicated many resources toward that end. Educators prepare for their responsibilities in the schools of the Commonwealth through the completion of: (1) A state-approved teacher education program that includes a student teaching (for instructional certificates) or field experience (for administrative certificates such as principal or vocational director and educational specialist certificates such as school counselor, school nurse, etc.). (2) The Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) Reading, Writing, Mathematics and the correct content assessments as indicated on the Testing Requirements webpage. (3) Application materials documenting that all certification requirements have been met. In this section, you will find information on approved teacher preparation programs, the Interstate Agreement, the requirements for certification and the application process.

Teacher Preparation Programs in Pennsylvania - A person may complete a teacher preparation program in Pennsylvania and be recommended for a certificate provided that program has been approved by the Department of Education as leading to the designated certificate.
Pennsylvania Certificates (PDF) - A listing of the types of certificates available in Pennsylvania, including subject codes found in the Teacher Information management Systems (TIMS)  
Certification Testing  - Find information about the required tests, test vendors, online registration for tests, test study guides, frequently asked questions and more.
Application for a Certificate - Apply for a certificate using the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) online system. It is recommended that you review the  Frequently Asked Questions prior to entering the TIMS online application. Additionally, this website has a User Guide for Applicants to assist you with navigation of the online certification system.  
Check the Status of Your Application - Please go to your TIMS dashboard to check the status 

Professional Development for Certificate Holders - Review information regarding professional development for certificate holders.

Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) Public Website - View the Pennsylvania certification status of individual teachers, school administrators and pupil personnel professionals. The website provides the ability to search for an educator by name, educational entity or by the Pennsylvania Professional Personnel ID (PPID). Tips for success when using the site:
        • When searching by name, use the percent sign (%) in strategically placed locations when there are multiple variations. For example, D%Angelo will list D Angelo, D'Angelo, DeAngelo, as well as Deangelo.
        • Click on the View Complete Profile link next to the desired educator.
        • Employment information is only provided for public entities for the single year listed on the search screen. Educators with no employment record on file may be working in a private institution, out of state or elsewhere.
        • The Complete Profile displays certification information and discipline status. Definitions are available to clarify discipline, continuing education and credential status terminology by clicking on the question mark symbol in the blue circle.
        • When searching by PPID, the name does not appear. The PPID does not display when searching by name or entity for security reasons.

Certification Requirements

Broad Requirements for Instructional and Educational Specialist Certifications
  1. Hold a Bachelor's Degree: Baccalaureate degree awarded (either prior to admission to the program or as part of the program) or for vocational subject areas, two years of full-time wage earning experience in the area of the certificate requested.
  2. Completion of an approved program of study leading to certification in the area of certificate requested:
    • State-approved teacher education program completion, including a supervised student teaching experience, leading to a comparable certificate.
    • Affirmation/recommendation of successful completion from the certification officer at the college/university/educational entity on an application form designated by the Bureau or through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) for provisioned users in TIMS.
    • For active/valid out-of-state instructional certificate holders, with two (2) years of successful classroom experience, program verification will not be needed. A copy of your certificate and verification of the two years of experience will be required.
  3. Hold a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA): A 3.0 overall cumulative GPA as noted on Bachelor's or Master's transcript is required for an initial certificate in Pennsylvania. Active/valid out-of-state instructional certificate holders, with two (2) years of successful classroom experience will not be evaluated for the 3.0 GPA requirement.

    The cumulative GPA must be indicated on the college transcript. If it is not indicated on the college transcript, the overall GPA may be supplied in a letter from the college or university for out-of-state applicants. For applicants completing their program through a Pennsylvania entity approved to offer the program, the affirmation/verification should be completed through TIMS.

    NOTE: All references to a GPA are relative to a 4.0 scale. Applicants with credits on other scales must have the equivalent GPA.

    Please refer to Certification Testing and Scores (PDF) for further information on GPA.

    A list of frequently asked questions regarding the GPA-Praxis testing requirements can be found under Frequently Asked Questions.
  4. Successful completion of Pennsylvania required tests: All candidates for certification must meet the qualifying score for all applicable tests at the time their application for certification is received by the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality. The required tests and qualifying scores may change as tests are reviewed and updated. Additional information regarding test score validity may be found in CSPG 21 - Testing.

    Identify the certificate type (see Types of Certificates in Pennsylvania) in which you are interested and then refer to the Testing Requirements by Certificate Type (PDF) document to identify tests needed.

    NOTE: Active/valid out-of-state instructional certificate holders, with two (2) years of successful classroom experience do not need to take the pre-professional skills test (PAPA), but must complete the content area test for the certification area requested.

    Test codes, vendors and cut scores required for certification can be found on the Certification Testing and Scores (PDF) document.
  5. Meet all Pennsylvania requirements related to citizenship, moral, ethical and physical/mental fitness.
Broad Requirements for Administrative and Supervisory Certifications
  1. Hold a minimum of a Bachelor's degree or higher.
  2. Completion of an approved program of study leading to certification in the area of certificate requested.
  3. Experience: The experience qualifications vary based on the credential being requested. Review the various options at Certificates for Administrative, Supervisory, Superintendent.
  4. Successful completion of Pennsylvania required tests.
Interstate Agreement: Both testing and GPA requirements are considered ancillary to the Interstate Agreement and states are permitted to ask that both requirements be met before a certificate is issued. The terms in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement provide a common vocabulary which Member Jurisdictions agree to use in disseminating information nationally and internationally.
For more specific information, select one of the following: