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​CSPG 5 - Evaluation of Credentials for Individuals Prepared Outside of the United States

Modified: October 1, 2022

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Foreign Credentials

  2. All foreign transcripts must be evaluated by a professional credential evaluation agency accredited by the Association of International Credential Evaluators. Inc. (AICE); National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES); or an agency approved by another U.S. state department of education in order to obtain the approving state's educator credential.

    Contact the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality if you wish to utilize the services of an agency that is not a member of AICE or NACES to make sure it is recognized.  Pennsylvania does not endorse or recommend any individual credential evaluation service.  

    The evaluation agency must provide a report that includes:

    • An English translation and credit/degree evaluation of all foreign credentials;
    • The U.S. equivalent of all earned degrees; 
    • An overall Grade Point Average (GPA);
    • A course-by-course evaluation showing the U.S. equivalency in terms of semester hour college credit and the level of the coursework; and
    • Verification that the candidate holds the equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate (bachelor's) or graduate degree earned at a nationally and/or regionally accredited college or university.
    • The original or notarized photocopy of the foreign evaluation report must be submitted with photocopies of the foreign credentials.
  1. Citizenship

    Candidates who are not U.S. citizens must:

  • Submit a photocopy of the front and back of their valid permanent resident immigrant visa; and
  • Submit a completed “Declaration of Intent to Become a Citizen of the United States" form.

Citizenship documentation is not required for:

  • World language instructional and emergency permit;
  • Letter of Eligibility;
  • Commission Qualification Letter;
  • Commission; or
  • Type 08 (Exchange Teacher, Cultural Exchange, or Visiting Scholar) emergency permit.
  1. English Oral Proficiency Test

    Non-U.S. citizen applicants educated solely in a foreign country where the primary and official language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in understanding and speaking the English language.  An advanced-mid score is required on the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) English Language, Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).  Register for this test on the ACTFL website.

Special Considerations

Candidates who are native speakers of a foreign language must still complete a state approved teacher certification program that meets the established General Standards and Subject Specific Program Guidelines for Foreign Language.


24 P.S. §12-1202; 22 Pa. Code §§49.63, 49.171

This revision supersedes all earlier CSPGs carrying this number and/or addressing this subject. Previous CSPG printing dates on this subject: 1/87, 7/04, 7/09.

Summary of Changes

​Date of Revisions
​Major Changes to CSPG 5
​Added the acceptance of master’s or higher degrees for certification in lieu of bachelor’s degrees, as per Chapter 49.
​Technical changes (e.g. grammar mechanics).  No policy changes.
​4/2017​Added AICE, federal and other state Department of Education
approved agencies to the foreign evaluation options.
  • ​Notarization of foreign documents (Declaration of Intent to Become a United States Citizen, Green Cards, I-551 stamps, visas, Certificates of U.S. Naturalization) is no longer required.
  • Candidates whose native language is not English, or who were educated solely outside of the United States, will take the ACTFL English Oral Proficiency Test and not the SPEAK test.
  • Candidates must hold a valid immigrant visa to be issued an Emergency Permit. Employment Authorization Cards are no longer accepted for certification purposes.