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

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How do I obtain certification if I completed a non PDE state approved certification preparation program?

​There are several routes to obtain certification.  Refer to Out of State Prepared for more information about which route is best for you.

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 (unless applying for certification to teach a foreign language)
  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree
  • Meet all Pennsylvania DOE testing requirements
  • Submit an online application through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS)
  • Submit all required documentation verifying program completion and work experience (if applicable)

​Does Pennsylvania have reciprocity with other states?

​Pennsylvania along with most states and U.S. territories have signed an Interstate Certification Agreement to recognize current and comparable state-approved programs.  Candidates from participating states must still meet other Pennsylvania requirements such as student teaching, GPA and PA testing.

​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.

When should I take the tests?

​All Pennsylvania required tests must be taken and passed before a certificate can be issued.  All required tests should be completed before your application is evaluated by PDE. 

​How should I send my test scores to PDE?

​The testing company reports your official scores electronically to PDE if you specify PDE as a score recipient when you register for your tests.  If you have already taken your tests and did not request PDE as a score recipient, contact the appropriate company and request that your test scores be submitted directly to PDE.  A photocopy of your test scores cannot be accepted as official.

​Are tests taken in other states acceptable for PA certification?

​Yes, if it is the exact same test name and code required in Pennsylvania.  You must meet the Pennsylvania qualifying score.  Other similar tests cannot be accepted to waive the PA required tests. 

​What documents do I need to submit to complete my application?

​Refer to your TIMS application coversheet for a list of required documents.  You should also refer to the directions listed under the Out of State Prepared section of the PDE website for more specific information and details.

​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.  Also refer to the Good Moral Character Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

​Should my college send transcripts directly to PDE?

​No.  In order to avoid misrouting transcripts within PDE, you must mail all official college sealed transcripts with your TIMS application coversheet.  If your transcripts are submitted under your current name, they can be submitted by your college/university directly to the ra-teachercert@pa.gov account. 

​Can 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 teaching until your certificate is issued.  To substitute, a public school may ask you to obtain an emergency permit by submitting an emergency permit request through TIMS.

​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 Search for an Educator

What does my application status mean?

  • Incomplete: You started an application but have not yet submitted it.

  • Submitted for IHE/LEA Verification: You submitted your application and it is now waiting for an electronic verification of your preparation program (IHE) or work experience from your employer (LEA).

  • Pending Documentation: PDE is waiting for your required documents.

  • Awaiting Evaluation: The TIMS system has determined your application is complete and is now waiting for staff in our office to review your application by the "awaiting evaluation" date.  PDE posts the estimated application processing time at the TIMS log-in screen.  Applications with an answer other than "no" to a good moral character question will take longer. 

  • Pending Additional Documentation: The PDE evaluation has occurred and you now need to submit additional information in order to complete the evaluation.  Please check your email to look for the specific requirements outlined by your evaluator.

  • Pending Test Score: The PDE evaluation has occurred and you need to complete a test(s) in order to be issued a PA certificate.

​Once my application has been approved, will my certificate be mailed?

​No.  Paper certificates are no longer printed and mailed.  You must log back on to your TIMS dashboard to print an unofficial copy.  Certification can only be verified through TIMS or the public link Search for an Educator.  

​Who should I contact if I have questions regarding this process?

​If you have questions regarding the certification process, contact the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.