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CSPG 3 - Certification Staffing Policy Guideline Validity of a Pennsylvania Certificate

Pennsylvania level I (provisional) certificates are valid for actual years of professional service as an educator, not calendar years. This may include some long-term substitute assignments. Level II (permanent) certificates are valid for 99 years. This document contains the following sections:

General Policies

  1. The years valid and effective date fields printed on a Pennsylvania certificate are not to be used as the singular factor for determining certificate validity.

  2. Certificates issued in accordance with 1980 and 1987 regulations are valid as follows:
    • Instructional I: six years of service.
    • Alien Provisional: six years of service (no longer issued and converted to non-citizen credential 9/2012).
    • Educational Specialist I: six years of service.
    • Supervisory I: three years of service.

  3. Certificates issued in accordance with 1999 regulations are valid as follows:
    • Instructional I: six years of service.
    • Educational Specialist I: six years of service.
    • Supervisory and Vocational Supervisor: 99 years of service.

  4. Vocational I certificates are valid for eight years of service from the date issued. See 24 P.S. § 12-1204.2.

  5. Administrative Certificates issued in accordance with statute and regulations listed below are valid as follows:
Credential Type Code Years Valid
Administrative I: Elementary or Secondary Principal (effective 1980 and 1987) 83/84 Five years of service
Administrative (effective 1999) 78 99 years of service
Administrative I (effective 7/20/2007) 75 Five years of service beginning 1/1/2008
Provisional Administrative I (effective 6/30/2011) * 72 Five years of service
Vocational Administrative Director 78 99 years of service

*Within two years of employment as a principal, vice principal or assistant principal, the provisional certificate holder must either:

    • Complete an approved administrator preparation program; and
    • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of school law by presenting evidence of satisfactory achievement on the Praxis test required for administration certification.
    • Provide proof of completion of an Introductory Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership (PIL) program approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE); and
    • Satisfactory achievement on the Praxis test required for administrative certification
  1. Military Science is valid for 99 years.

  2. The holder of a level I Instructional certificate issued prior to September 1980 was initially granted a renewable three-year certificate. In September 1980 new regulations extended the validity to a total of six service years, eliminating the need for
    renewals. The certificate must be converted to level II by the end of the service time.

  3. Effective September 28, 2012, Alien Provisional certificates were no longer issued. A standard level I certificate (Instructional or Educational Specialist, etc.) is issued and designated on the credential as non-U.S. citizen.

  4. Either the employing school entity or the certificate holder may request a validity determination for a Pennsylvania certificate by submitting the Documentation Worksheet for Determining Certificate Validity.

  5. Only PDE’s Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality can determine the validity of a certificate.

Special Considerations

  1. The validity period of the following certificates is calculated by calendar year:
    • Vocational Intern and Instructional Intern: three calendar years.
    • Act 97 Waiver: one calendar year.

  2. A valid certificate must be maintained as active by completing approved continuing professional education requirements.


22 Pa. Code §§49.82, 49.102, 49.92, 49.142 (b), 49.152; 24 PS 12-1214; 24 PS 11-1109 (c).
24 P.S. § 12-1204.2

Related CSPGs: CSPG #6, CSPG #7

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous CSPG printing dates on this subject: 12/79, 1/87, 7/04, 6/14

Summary of Changes

Date of Revisions Major Changes to CSPG #003
1/2017 Removed Vocational Instructional I 1980 & 1987 (seven years) and 1999 (six years) validity due to Act 86 of 2016.

Added chart for Administrative I certificate validity:

  • Provisional Administrative I certificate validity information added.
  • Type codes added.
  • The validity of Administrative I certificates issued under the 1980/1987 regulations changed to five years of service from three years effective 1/1/2008.
  • The Alien Provisional Certificate is no longer issued effective 9/28/2012. Standard certificates will be issued to non-citizens and identified with the term “Non-Citizen of U.S.”, except for world language certificate holders.
  • Validity information:
    • An Instructional or Educational Specialist certificate for a noncitizen of U.S. is determined by service years; an Instructional certificate or Educational Specialist certificate is valid for six service years.
    • The Administrative I (created 1/1/2008) certificate is valid for five service years.
  • The Bureau title has been changed from the Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation to the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.
  • Vocational Instructional I Certificates issued on or after 10/1/1999 under the 1999 regulations were given a validity period of six years rather than the former validity period of seven years under the 1987 regulations.
  • Administrative code 78 certificates issued on or after 9/1/2001 are valid for 99 years.
  • Supervisory code 76 certificates issued on or after 9/1/2001 are valid for 99 years.
  • The State Board of Education extended the validity of provisional certificates issued effective 9/1980 as follows:
    • Instructional I: six years.
    • Educational Specialist I: six years.
    • Vocational Instructional I: seven years.
  • A holder of a provisional certificate issued prior to 9/1980 who had not completed three years of satisfactory service on the certificate in Pennsylvania automatically qualifies for the extended validity period. However, a person whose provisional certificate issued prior to 9/1980 that lapsed before the opening of the 1980-81 school year, by having completed three years of satisfactory service on the certificate, was required to either renew his/her provisional certificate (level I) or convert to permanent status (level II).

Date/CSPG CSPG #003 Related Histories
CSPG #75
  • The Alien Provisional Certificate was issued to an alien who: (1) was legally authorized to reside permanently and seek employment in the United States; and, (2) had filed declaration of his/her intent to become a citizen of the United States.
CSPG #14
  • All provisional certificates or level I certificates issued by the Department of Education are valid for three years of service.
  • Employment in nonpublic schools within the commonwealth which does not require the state certificate as a job requisite shall be counted towards the three years of service only if the holder seeks to have such service credited towards meeting the experience requirements established for permanent or higher levels of certification.
  • It is the responsibility of the certificate holder to fulfill educational requirements for conversion to a permanent certificate or for renewal of the provisional certificate within the validity period of the provisional certificate.