To qualify for a certificate in Pennsylvania, a student must:
  • Complete an approved education preparation program at the bachelor's or graduate level;
  • Receive the recommendation of your preparing college/university;
  • Meet all testing requirements established by the State Board of Education; and
  • Meet all other requirements established by the School Code.
Eligibility for a teacher certificate is based on:
  • Successful completion of a Teacher (Educator) Preparation Program with the conferral of a baccalaureate degree. (Vocational Certificate candidates: See Adviser).
  • A minimum 3.00 cumulative grade point average.
  • A grade of at least “C” or better in all specified courses, including practica.
  • Approval by (a) the pertinent program representative and (b) the University Certification Officer.
  • Successful completion of any clearances, tests, and any other requirements as specified by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
  • Please note there are citizenship requirements for certification

U.S. Citizenship Requirement for Teacher Certification Candidates

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) currently requires teachers* to be U.S. Citizens.

PDE will issue certificates to teacher candidates holding a resident alien (green card) visa if they have filed a “declaration of intent” to become citizens. This form can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

Some candidates also have been able to obtain dual citizenship with the United States and their home country.

Some states do not have a U.S. citizenship requirement for teachers, so Penn State can provide "non-citizen" completers of PSU teacher preparation programs with formal letters verifying their professional preparation. Certification requirements in other states may change from year to year, so candidates should contact other states to obtain the most current information regarding their specific situations. The U.S. DOE offers a map to assist students in linking directly to departments of education and bureaus of professional certification in other states.

Representatives in the Advising and Certification Center verify a candidate’s successful completion of all necessary exit criteria for a Teacher (Educator) Preparation Program in conjunction with the program representative’s approval.

The certifying officer also confirms a candidate’s eligibility for the teaching credential on the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS)

Certification Options

The Pennsylvania State University's majors that are also Teacher (Educator) Preparation Programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), and nationally recognized by Specialized Professional Agencies (SPA).

Entrance to the Teacher (Educator) Preparation Programs within the College of Education is through a formal Entrance to Major (ETM) process.

  1. To obtain Instructional I certification in Pennsylvania, candidates must also complete the following requirements:

    a. Complete all Retention and Exit criteria required in order to successfully complete a Teacher (Educator) Preparation Program.

    b. Obtain Pennsylvania Qualifying scores for the PRAXIS Series or PECT tests required by PDE in effect at the time of recommendation by the University for certification. (See Teacher Testing).

    c. Pass the Precertification Competency Examination on Educating Students with Disabilities (if completing certification prior to August 2013). This exam is waived for students who completed a Special Education 400 or 444 course with a grade of at least C, or holders of School Psychology or Special Education degrees.
  2. Candidates must be of good moral character, possessing personal qualities, professional knowledge, and skills which warrant issuance of a teacher's certificate (School Laws of Pennsylvania, Article XII).
  3. Candidates also must be United States citizens, not in the habit of using narcotic drugs in any form or excessive amounts of intoxicating beverages (School Code 1209), and not convicted of a criminal offense nor currently under indictment (Act 34 and Act 151).
  4. Candidates must apply for teacher certification using PDE’s online Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) and submit a PSU Record of Application before a certifying officer from Penn State can recommend them for certification.
  5. Representatives in the Advising and Certification Center will verify a candidate’s successful completion of all necessary exit criteria for a Teacher (Educator) Preparation Program in conjunction with a program representative’s approval. The certifying officer also confirms a candidate’s eligibility for the teaching credential on the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).

NOTE: Students wishing to pursue a certification program in conjunction with a degree in another college must complete all of the requirements for each program. Education representatives at each campus can discuss options such as concurrent majors or post-baccalaureate certification opportunities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has developed a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to the Level II certification requirements.

Instructional II certification in Pennsylvania can be obtained following the completion of at least three years of satisfactory teaching including an approved induction program in the public schools of Pennsylvania and the completion of twenty-four post-baccalaureate credits in any area that will enhance the professional development of an educator.

Therefore, effective September 1, 2011, individuals applying for Level II conversion must have earned at least 6 post-baccalaureate credits of collegiate study in the area of Inclusive Classrooms and/or in the area of Standards Aligned Systems (SAS).

These credits may be:

  • completed at any four-year, fully-accredited institution through resident instruction, continuing education, distance education, correspondence study, or World Campus programs.
  • either graduate or undergraduate level courses, as well as Pennsylvania Department of Education approved "in-service" workshops and training programs sponsored by county intermediate units for this purpose. Course work completed at community colleges is not acceptable.

The following website includes a course catalog of offerings through Penn State's World Campus.

Educators interested in pursuing an advanced degree or certification program through resident education at Penn State should contact the specific program area for details on the requirements and the application process.

Educators interested in pursuing selected courses through resident education for their professional development should on enroll as "non-degree" graduate students through Penn State's Graduate School.

Although it is possible to obtain Instructional II certification after three years of successful teaching with 24 post-baccalaureate credits, the validity of the Instructional I certificate has been extended to cover six years of satisfactory teaching.


The application for Instructional II certification is obtained through a school district superintendent's or intermediate unit director's office. The form must be completed and accompanied by a copy of a teacher's current, valid certificate, and an official transcript showing the course work completed. The superintendent/director signs the form attesting to the years of experience and will usually send the packet to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg for issuance of the certificate. Currently a $100.00 Postal Money Order must accompany this packet.

Generally, experiences teaching in out-of-state schools are not considered "approved time" accumulated toward the three years of required teaching necessary in Pennsylvania for the Instructional II certificate.

Additional questions should be directed to a school superintendent/director's office or the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Teacher Preparation and Certification, 333 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333. (717) 787-3356.

Act 48 of 1999 requires all Pennsylvania educators who have been issued "initial" any certificates since June 1, 1987 to establish professional development plans every five years. These plans are to include additional continuing education or related experiences equivalent to 180 hours of professional development, such as six credits of approved college coursework, six credits of continuing professional education courses, 180 clock hours of continuing professional education, or any combination of collegiate studies, continuing professional education courses or other programs, activities or learning experiences equivalent to 180 hours. For the purposes of calculating hours and credits, one credit of collegiate study or continuing professional education course is equivalent to 30 hours of continuing professional education. Educators holding master's degrees may volunteer to develop these plans.

Penn State is an approved provider of professional development coursework, conferences and other related activities.
The following site includes details on reporting the completion of professional development activities completed at Penn State:

For additional details, please contact the PDE Bureau of Teaching and Learning Support at (717) 772-4944, or review the Act 48 Professional Education Plan Guidelines:

Welcome to the Educational Leadership Program of The Pennsylvania State University.This program is available to those who want to exercise leadership roles in educational policy and management or engage in research about educational leadership. Areas of research emphasis include educational policy and politics, law, finance, ethics, evaluation. organizational theory, affiliated centers and programs focus on teacher leadership, rural education, educational evaluation, comparative & international education, educational ethics, and equity. Program faculty collaborate closely with graduate students in each of these research areas. Additionally, internships and practicums in a variety of settings can be arranged. The Educational Leadership Program has consistently been ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report and is currently ranked #7 in the nation.



The mission of the Educational Leadership Program is to support and advance education by preparing outstanding leaders who are committed to the continuous improvement of education, leaders who believe that higher levels of learning are possible for all children, and that school administrators must emphasize organizing and leading for learning and shared school leadership.  In addition, the Educational Leadership Program strives to create and disseminate knowledge for greater equity in education, school improvement, the creation of appropriate education policies, and the development of effective leaders focused on issues of social justice.


Take a look

Education Leadership has lot to offer potential students who are passionate about taking the lead in their classrooms, school, districts, and in research.  We encourage you to look through our programs to see which one of our degree and certificate programs is a right fit for you.  We also encourage you to check out the centers and journals housed here in Educational Leadership to see how you can start making a difference!

Penn State University offers the Single Area Certificate program in the following area:

Supervisor of Special Education

The certificate entitles a person to function between the school administration and certified professional staff of a public school for enhancing the attainment of the employer's expectations and goals by authorizing duties using independent judgment not equally shared by all professional certified staff, directing other certified persons, and having direct input to administrators which substantially affects the employment, assignment, transfer, promotion, layoff, discharge, or other similar personnel actions of other certified professional level employees.

Issuance of the Supervisory Certificate requires a minimum of five years of professional school experience in the area for which the certificate is sought.

Preparation for this professional certificate is at the graduate level and presumes in-depth study in the area of supervision.

For more information on supervisory certification, please see the Pennsylvania Department of Education website.

Special Education Certificate:

Penn State offers a district-wide Supervisor of Special Education certificate, which qualifies the holder to function as a liaison between the administration and the certified professional special education staff of a public school for the purpose of:

  1. Enhancing the attainment of the district's expectations and goals by authorizing activities using judgment not equally shared by all professionally special education certified staff;
  2. Directing other certified special education persons;
  3. Providing direct input to administrators, which affects the employment, assignment, transfer, promotion, layoff, discharge or other similar personnel actions of other professional-level employees certified in special education.

Issuance of the Supervisor of Special Education certificate requires a minimum of five years professional school experience in a special education area.

Preparation for this professional certificate is at the graduate level and presumes in-depth study in the area of special education.

Special Education Department

Students who want to teach in a state other than Pennsylvania can do so by following the interstate certification reciprocity process.

The post-baccalaureate teacher certification program allows candidates who already have a baccalaureate degree to pursue teacher certification.