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​CSPG 32 - Biology (7-12)

​Instructional Area Code 8405
Modified: April 20, 2023

Biology is a biological science that generally describes the scientific study of the structure, function, reproduction, growth, heredity, evolution, behavior and distribution of living organisms and their relations to their natural environments. 

Grade Level Scope of Certificate

A person holding a valid certificate for Biology is qualified to teach biological/life science courses to students in Grades 7 through 12.  A person holding this certificate is also qualified to teach this content in the sixth (6th) grade. (See CSPG #104).

Certification Assignment

An educator holding a certificate for Biology is qualified to teach biological and life science courses including the following:

    • life science (an introductory course comprised of learning experiences related to the ways living things interact with the world around them, but below the level of difficulty of a biology course)
    • botany, anatomy, biochemistry, biophysics, cell and molecular biology, ecology, environmental science, evolutionary biology, genetics, human and animal physiology, marine and aquatic biology, microbiology, radiation biology, toxicology, zoology
    • general science
    • forensic science​
    • nutritional biology course which involves the scientific study of biological processes by which organisms function.


An educator holding a certificate for Biology is not qualified to teach chemistry, physics, physical science, earth and space science or any major science content area other than biology where high school graduation credit is given. 

Special Considerations

An educator certified in this field may:

    • Provide Professional development in their area of collegial studies;
    • Serve in the role of mentor or advisor; and 
    • Assist students in understanding how to read content area materials.

Certificate Clarification

The older PA instructional certificate, Comprehensive Science, is still applicable for teaching Biology.


Program Specific Guidelines for Certification

22 PA Code: Chapter 4: §4.21(e)(3); (f)(3), §4.22(c)(3), §4.23(c)(3)

Chapter 49: §49.11, §49.81

PA Public School Code: §1202, §1212, §1604

Other CSPG’s for Reference

General Science

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous printing dates on this subject: 1973, 3/75, 3/78, 2/82, 1/87, 6/92, 7/04, 3/14.

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG #32
  • ​Updated formatting
  • No changes necessary
  • ​Clarifications of certification assignment.
  • Clarifications of special considerations.
  • Removed mid-level sciences statement (refer to CSPG 104).
  • Clarification that Biology certified educators cannot teach Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science (removed statement limiting this to the 10-12 grade level); these major content courses may not be taught by Biology certified educators at 9th grade or as advanced courses at lower grade levels without the proper specific science certificate.
  • CSPG #033 titled Science Certification and Assignment Scope was divided into specific CSPGs for five science certificate areas: CSPG #032 Biology; CSPG #034 Chemistry; CSPG #040 Earth and Space Science; CSPG #046 General Science and CSPG #056 Physics.
  • Definitions and category clarifications were removed.
​6/1/1992​CSPG #033 titled Science Certification and Assignment Scope listed definitions for all areas of sciences/science course categories and corresponding appropriate certifications.
​3/1/1975​CSPG #033 Assignment Scope in Various Science Certifications
  • Addressed comprehensive general science courses as to be taught by any science certificate.
  • Addressed introductory science courses at the junior high grade level to be taught by any valid science certificate; exception of earth and space science specifically needing either an Earth and Space Science certificate or a Geography certificate in the area of physical geography or a Physical Science certificate.
  • High school science must be taught by the specific science certificate.
  • Planetarium activities required certificate in any area of science.