Professional Personnel Development Center

The Center provides teacher preparation, online resources, and in-service programs that prepare Pennsylvanians to meet professional standards as career and technical educators. Through these programs, participants may earn state teacher certification and become eligible to teach technical career programs in career and technical schools in Pennsylvania.

Center Services

  • Courses that lead to PA certification in teaching, school administration, and cooperative education
  • Career guidance for workforce development professionals
  • Competency-Based Teacher Education for new career and technical instructors
  • Staff professional development
  • Credit for work experience
  • Performance-based occupational assessment
  • Recruitment and placement for career and technical instructors and administrators

The Professional Personnel Development Center (PPDC) is associated with two Penn State University academic units: the Workforce Education and Development Program and the Agricultural and Extension Education Department.

The Penn State University Center is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of Career and Technical Education.

We develop that segment of Pennsylvania's workforce who will prepare the rest of the Commonwealth's workforce with the skills and standards needed by business. Potential Center participants may include:

  • Trained and experienced workers who are newly hired by career and technical schools to teach technical skills to students
  • Experienced instructors in search of professional upgrade training
  • Certified career and technical instructors who want college degrees
  • Teachers who want to do school-to-work or cooperative education placements
  • Experienced trainers who want state certificates that will allow them to work in public schools
  • Seasoned teachers who want to become school administrators
  • Central Pennsylvania schools with career and technical programs
  • Anyone interested in lifelong learning in topics related to education for work

Opportunities for Employment and Advanced Study

Employment at the Center offers professionals an opportunity to develop their skills while they pursue advanced study with either the Workforce Education and Development Program or the Agriculture and Extension Education Department at Penn State. Positions as instructors and training consultants are frequently available. Individuals with experience in workforce development and a desire to pursue graduate study are encouraged to apply.

Director's Statement

The Pennsylvania system for the preparation and development of career and technical education professional personnel includes three regional centers located at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania State University, and Temple University. Coordinated through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, each center uses a "critical mass" of appropriate resources to provide responsive and flexible services to meet the priority staff development needs of career and technical educators within their respective region of the state. The Penn State Center is directed toward achieving the following goals:

  1. Developing the capability of career and technical teachers to establish and maintain a valid curriculum; utilize effective teaching techniques, safely manage a classroom, shop, or laboratory; and locate, select, and efficiently utilize resources.
  2. Developing the capability of career and technical education administrators and teachers to manage curriculum development and revision initiatives, thereby maintaining the validity of planned program content.
  3. Developing the capability of career and technical administrators and teachers to provide leadership in the strategic planning processes of districts, schools, and programs.
  4. Developing the capability of career and technical education administrators to provide instructional supervision of beginning, and experienced teachers, in the use of effective methods of instruction.
  5. Developing the capability of career and technical administrators to manage the personnel, finances, and facilities of a local education agency (LEA).
  6. Developing the capability of career and technical teacher educators to maintain dynamic and effective teacher preparation.
  7. Developing leaders who can contribute to local, state, national, and international programs of career and technical education.
  8. Actively participating in the implementation of work-based education via Pennsylvania's School-to-Work initiative, as well as such related programs as tech prep, High Schools That Work, cooperative education, and apprenticeship.


Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE)

  • Visit to register for test codes 5712, 5722 and 5732.
  • Scores must be electronically submitted directly to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality from the test vendor.
  • A minimum score of 148 (Reading), 158 (Writing) and 142 (Mathematics) is required.
  • Minimum Composite Scores are 140 (Reading), 150 (Writing) and 132 (Mathematics) is required.

If your reading and writing scores total 306 or higher and both scores meet or exceed the minimum composite score, you meet the Vocational 1 testing requirements.

If the sum of your reading, writing and mathematics scores total 448 or higher and all scores meet or exceed the minimum composite score, you meet the vocational testing requirements.

The Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT)

A combined score of 1550 or higher with no individual section -- Critical Reading, Writing, Mathematics -- score of less than 500.

  • The best section scores from different test sessions may be selected.
  • Submit official test scores and a T MS application cover sheet to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality in an envelope sealed by the test vendor. Scores may also be verified by the Pennsylvania Approved Preparation Programs through TIMS.


Guided by Pennsylvania Department of Education personnel and an Advisory Committee, the Professional Personnel Development Center operates the following programs and services to achieve these goals:

  • Curriculum Development and Support
  • Cooperative Education Certification Pathway
  • Inservice Baccalaureate Degree Pathway
  • Inservice Certification Pathway
  • Inservice Masters Degree Pathway
  • Occupational Competency Assessment
  • Pre-service Baccalaureate Degree Pathway
  • Recruitment and Placement Services
  • Vocational Director's Certification Pathway
  • Vocational Director's Master's Pathway


Acronym Guide for New Teachers in Career and Technical Education (CTE)


ACTE: Association for Career and Technical Education (our field’s national association)

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act

ADD/ADHD: Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

AP: Advanced Placement

AYP: Adequate Yearly Progress


BCTE: Bureau of Career and Technical Education


CBTE: Competency Based Teacher Education

CCS: Common Core Standards

CEW: Career Education and Work standards

CIP: Classification of Instructional Program (codes)

CTC: Career and Technical Center, formerly Area Vocational Technical School

CTSO: Career and Technical Student Organization


DECA: Distributive Education Clubs of America


ELL: English Language Learner (this term is now preferred over ESL, English as a Second Language)

EQ: Emotional Quotient (refers to emotional intelligence)

ETS: Educational Testing Service


FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education

FBLA: Future Business Leaders of America

FERPA: Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act

FFA: Future Farmers

FRP: Field Resource Person


GED: General Equivalency Diploma

GPA: Grade Point Average


HOSA: Health Occupations Students of America

HPO: High Priority Occupation


IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

IEP: Individual Education Plan, a legally binding document that addresses the special education needs of a student

IU: Intermediate Unit

IUP: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, our sister school for western PA (Temple University serves the east)


JOC: Joint Operating Committee


LAC: Local Advisory Committee

LAN: Local Area Network

LEA: Local Education Agency

LEP: Limited English Proficiency

LRE: Least Restrictive Environment

LRP: Local Resource Person


NCLB: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (federal legislation, will be replaced by Every Child Achieves Act)

NIMS: National Institute of Metalworking Skills

NOCTI: National Occupational Competency Testing Institute

NTHS: National Technical Honors Society


OAC: Occupational Advisory Committee

OCA: Occupational Competency Assessment

OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education


PACTA: Pennsylvania Association of Career and Technical Administrators

PACTEC: Pennsylvania Career and Technical Education Conference (June of every year)

PDF: Portable Document Format

PBA: Project-Based Assessment

PBL: Project-Based Learning (may also refer to problem-based learning)

PDE: Pennsylvania Department of Education

PDT: Professional Development Team, a team of professional development instructors who work for Penn State’s PPDC (see below)

PIMS: Pennsylvania Information Management System

POS: Program of Study

PPDC: Professional Personnel Development Center (directed by Cynthia Pellock at Penn State)

PPID: Professional Personal Identification number

PSSA: Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (will be replaced by the Keystone Exam)


SAS: Standards Aligned System

SNT: Special Needs Team

SOAR: Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration

SSID: Statewide Student Identifier

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (if STEAM, A is for Arts)


TIMS: Teacher Information Management System

TSA: Technology Student Association


Voc 1: Vocational Instructional I certification

Voc 2: Vocational Instructional II certification


WIA: Workforce Investment Act

WIB: Workforce Investment Board

WBE: Work-Based Education

WBL: Work-Based Learning

WFED: Workforce Education and Development

Last updated May 15, 2015.