Becoming a Teacher in Pennsylvania

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Rachel S. discovered her passion for education years ago, spending time as a teacher in West Philadelphia.

"I felt that it was my vocation to teach inner-city children," she stated in an interview with Cabrini University's alumni magazine staff. "I gravitated to the students I met in my experiences as an inner-city teacher."

Using this experience, Rachel started her own learning institute for tutoring services and a summer camp dedicated to educational enrichment programs for children. Being a teacher helped Rachel discover her passion, which in turn has made a tremendous impact in the lives of the families she serves.

Have you ever wondered what type of positive impact you could have as an educator? Maybe now is the time to find out. Pennsylvania is experiencing a shortage of teachers across the state, and there is a growing need for qualified professionals to get a teacher certification.

If you've ever thought about teaching or are ready for a career change, this article provides information on how to become a teacher in Pennsylvania.

Getting a Teacher Certification

Each state has different requirements for teachers. Pennsylvania requires educators to have a bachelor's degree and to be certified from an approved educational provider. You do not need a degree in education to get certified, but you will need to take courses towards a Secondary Education Certification (grades 7-12) or Early Elementary Education Certification (Pre-K-grade 4). This initial certification lasts six years, and you will need to get a "Level II" certification before that time. You can dig deeper into state certification requirements on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website.

If you're currently pursuing your bachelor's degree in education, you will want to make sure your program has initial teacher certification built into the degree.

Choosing a Certification Program

If you currently have a full-time job, you can explore part-time programs to help ease your career transition. Many certification courses can be taken separately as a post-baccalaureate certificate or in conjunction with a master's degree in education, but you'll want to make sure that any program you look at is approved by the PDE.

Alternative Teacher Certification

If you already have a bachelor's degree and want to start teaching right away, you can apply for an Intern Certification with the PDE, which provides an alternative route to teacher certification. To be eligible for this program, you must secure a full-time position or long-term substitute position in your area of expertise and be enrolled in an approved Intern Certification program. The Intern Certification is valid for only three years and is contingent on being continuously enrolled in an approved program and passing all the required exams.

Important Teacher Requirements

In addition to earning a state-approved certification, you will also need to pass subject area exams. But don't worry, your program's faculty and administration will be able to help you prepare for those tests and will assist you in submitting your grades to the state.

Though teaching can be demanding, it is also extremely rewarding. You can help change the lives of children every day, giving them upward mobility in our society. Find out if Cabrini's teacher certification programs are right for you.