What is Certification?

Certification is a process to verify the qualifications and proper training of each professional educator. All professional employees of public schools must hold a certificate. The State Board of Education sets the standards and regulations for certification, and the Department of Education’s Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality administers those standards and regulations.

How do I qualify for a certificate?

”Pennsylvania considers the education of its children to be among the highest priorities of state government” and has dedicated many resources toward that end. Educators prepare for their responsibilities in the schools of the Commonwealth by the completion of:

 (1) state-approved teacher education programs, including a student teaching or intern experience, with a minimum, cumulative GPA of 3.00 on their college transcript;

 (2) testing requirements; and

 (3) an application documenting that all certificate requirements have been met. 

Students should regularly consult with their academic advisors and the Education Department for any changes or considerations. The Education Department offers specific advising checklists and policy documents to help guide students in their respective programs.

Students who have earned a Bachelor's degree and have successfully completed the requirements above are eligible to apply for the appropriate Pennsylvania credential.

What are the procedures to apply for certification?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) uses an online application system called TIMS (Teacher Information Management System).  Candidates for certification are able to submit an online application on or after the month when they complete their educator-preparation program.  

To learn how to use TIMS, review the “Applicant User’s Guide” at www.PA-TIMS.com .  First applicants will register/log in on the www.pde.state.pa.us home page (top left).

PDE offers the following guidelines for completing the Education Information section:

  • Search and select your institution using the link provided. (Type in Marywood.)
  • Complete the degree information. They may answer this question on or after the first day of their graduation month. (For most graduates, this will be May 1st or January 1st.)
  • Search and add the major area(s).
  • Click Yes to the question, "Did you attend an educator preparation program while at this institution?" 
  • Complete the preparation program information (Instructional I, Educational Specialist I, Administrative or Supervisory - TRADITIONAL).
  • If students are in post-baccalaureate programs, they should add their undergraduate college, answer "YES" to the degree questions and provide details, but answer "NO" to the preparation-program question.

 

In addition, live and recorded webinars "How to Apply for Level I Teaching Cert. for PA Graduates" that walk applicants through the TIMS system are available by registering at www.pdewebinars.org.

What teaching certificate do I earn after completing my program?

Teacher preparation candidates who meet the Pennsylvania Department of Education's requirement criteria are eligible to apply for an Instructional I teaching certificate. 

Instructional II certification or "permanent certification" is granted by PDE to teachers who meet the following criteria: hold a valid Instructional I certificate; have completed a teacher induction program; have three years of satisfactory teaching experience in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; and have completed 24 post-baccalaureate credits.         

Can I teach in other states with a PA Instructional I teaching certificate?

Currently, there are Interstate Agreements in place for those with a PA Instructional I certificate. The Agreement makes it possible for an educator who completed an approved program and/or who holds a certificate or license in one state to earn a certificate or license in another state. Receiving states may impose certain special requirements which must be met.

The agreement is not necessarily "full" reciprocity. The educator may have to complete additional requirements, such as workshops, testing, or advanced degree, etc., before receiving a full professional certificate in the new state. Different Praxis tests or assessments may be used.

Each state has specific application requirements. Check for procedures for applicants completing an out-of-state teacher-preparation program on the state’s department of education web site.

What is Act 48?

Effective July 1, 2000, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enacted Act 48, mandating a continuing professional education program for educators to maintain active certification. ACT 48 requires all certified school personnel to complete continuing education requirements every five years in order to maintain their certificates as active. The Act 48 requirement can be met with six college credits, six credits of continuing professional education courses, 180 clock hours of continuing professional education, or any combination equivalent to 180 hours.  The continuing education activity is to be related to an area of the educator’s assignment or certification and, if the educator is employed by a school entity, complies with their school entity’s plan. 

In 2011, The Public School Code was amended to suspend ACT 48 continuing professional education requirements until June 30, 2013. Educators may continue to acquire Act 48 credits during the moratorium and they will be credited to their compliance period.  

How do I register my Act 48 courses?

To register post-baccalaureate courses you are completing, complete and sign an ACT 48 Release Form and return it to the Education Department at Marywood University. Note: Course must be undertaken after your PA Level I Certification was issued. Also, be sure the Pennsylvania Department of Education has your current address (Update your contact information through TIMS.) 

Once collegiate credits or hours of participation have been reported, you will be sent a letter verifying the data submitted to PDE. You may then view the credits/hours submitted on PDE’s website. Contact Marywood’s Education Department if credit/hours do not appear on the PDE site or if there are any discrepancies in the data.

Who can Answer Questions I May Have?

You are welcome to contact the Certification Office at Marywood University with any questions on testing requirements and the certification process.

Rebecca Sesky, Certification Officer
Room 2010, McGowan Center
Marywood University
2300 Adams Avenue
Scranton, PA 18509

Tel: (570) 961-4731   Email: sesky@marywood.edu    Fax:  (570) 961-4744

 

You may also contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education directly at:

Pennsylvania Department of Education
School Leadership and Teacher Quality
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126

Tel: (717) 787-3356