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How to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania

Posted on 9/10/2019 12:02:58 PM by Office of Admissions

As many states and school districts around the country and in Pennsylvania deal with a teaching shortage, the need for certified professionals continues. The increased demand for teachers makes it an excellent time to enter the field or augment your credentials.

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a teacher or advancing your career in education, now is the time to fulfill your desire to change young people’s lives or help them move forward on successful life paths.

But how do you become a teacher? Where do you start?

Earn a Degree

All states require public school teachers to have a college degree, and many educators major in education. If you’re considering a bachelor’s degree in education, make sure your program has initial teacher certification embedded in the program.

If you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education, you may teach in certain non-public schools, but you must gain certification to teach in a public school. Conditions for certification vary by state. To find out more about Pennsylvania’s requirements, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website.

High school teachers will often double major in the subject they teach and secondary education, and college professors most often need a graduate degree—master’s and often doctoral, depending on the discipline.

Participate in Student-Teaching

Potential teachers must complete a certain amount of time obtaining field experience and participating in student-teaching, which varies by state, to sit for a state-approved certification exam.

Gain State-Approved Certification

You’ll need to pass your state’s standardized exam to teach in the public school system before applying for certification.

If you’d like to pursue teaching certification while working full-time, or if your undergraduate degree is in a subject other than education, you can explore part-time programs to ease your transition. Many teacher certification courses can be taken standalone as a post-baccalaureate certificate or in conjunction with a master’s degree in education. As previously mentioned, it is important you enroll in a PDE-approved program.

Various alternative certification programs offer other ways to become a certified teacher if you majored in another subject while in college. PDE maintains a list of acceptable in-state providers.

If you’re already certified but would like to teach in another state, you may be able to take advantage one of a state reciprocity agreement.

Pass Subject-Area Tests

In addition to earning a state-approved certification, part of your teacher preparation includes passing subject-area exams. Your program’s faculty and administration can help you prepare for those tests and 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 the knowledge and skill sets they need to achieve success.

In 2018, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognized the value of increasing and retaining the number of teachers when it awarded $2 million in grants to eight universities, including Cabrini. The University’s Planning Grant Award is helping to identify and develop a strategy for embedding a full year of clinical residency experience to occur with the Pre-K­–Grade 4 program or Pre-K–8 Special Education.

Cabrini offers numerous PDE-approved education degrees and certifications at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Find out if its teacher certification programs are right for you.


Cabrini Education Programs

Bachelor’s degree in Education with PDE-approved certifications in:

Master’s degree in Education with PDE-approved certifications through part-time programs:

Doctorate in Educational Leadership