Teacher certification programs in Pennsylvania have been specifically designed so that those graduating with an undergraduate degree can become teachers without having to continue in university until they attain a Master's level degree. Although this program has been in existence for almost forty years, up until 1983, only those with advanced degrees could be admitted into the program. The result has been that many more teachers have been recruited into the teaching profession for the schools of this state. This program is available in thirty-seven of the state’s colleges and universities.
In order to gain admission into these teacher certification programs, you must not only hold a Bachelor’s degree, but must also have at least a 3.0 grade point average. Your list of courses for that degree has to include six credits in Math and six credits in English Literature and Composition. If you have a grade point average of 2,80, you can still gain admission into the program, but you must first pass the Praxis 1 Preprofessional exam to demonstrate competency in the basic skills of reading writing and math.
Although you don’t necessarily need to have an offer of a teaching position to be admitted into one of the teacher certification programs, it is one way of guaranteeing admission. Preference is given to those who have a job offer. Although you may think that it would be strange to be offered a teaching position without having completed teacher training, it is a possibility if you have a degree in a field for which there is a shortage of qualified teachers, such as in high school Science courses or Math.
Another requirement of the Pennsylvania teacher certification programs is that you must be continually enrolled from the time you start the program until you successfully complete it. Courses are offered at night and in the summer, so it is not a problem to work and attend college at the same time. As long as you take one or two courses a term, you are continuously enrolled. Once you receive a job offer, the institution you are attending for the program will apply to the Pennsylvania Bureau of teacher Certification for an intern certificate for you. The Bureau will then verify that you have met the admission requirements and issue the certificate. Without this intern certificate, you will not be permitted to teach in the schools of the state.
Once you complete the prescribed teacher certification program, you will then receive an Instructional 1 certificate upon recommendation from your professors in the program. The Intern certificate allow you to hold a full-time teaching position, but it is only valid for a three-year period. This is ample time to allow you to complete your course work. You can only obtain such a certificate to work as a classroom teacher. It does not apply to certification for administrators or specialist teachers at the school or district level. If you are working as a teacher, this will fulfill the student teaching component of the program as you will be supervised and evaluated by both your professor and the administration of the school.