How to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania
Teaching is one of the most powerful ways to affect change in the world. Indeed, teaching is a way to contribute to those you teach and everyone they touch. The following steps will help guide your journey toward becoming a teacher in the state of Pennsylvania.
Choose What You Want to Teach
First, you need to consider in which setting you would like to teach. For example, would you like to see yourself teaching in elementary, middle, or high school? Would you like to be in special education? If you have a passion for a specific subject, you should consider becoming a high school or middle school teacher. If you prefer to teach multiple subjects, you can consider becoming an elementary school teacher. Answering these questions from early on will help you stay on the right pathway.
Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, the basic education requirement for becoming a teacher is obtaining a Bachelor's Degree and completing a teacher preparation program. The degree may be obtained before one is admitted to a state-approved teacher education program or as a part of such a program. Or, if one is seeking to teach in a vocational subject area, one must have two years of full-time wage earning experience in the area of the certificate requested.
Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
Teacher preparation or education programs should be accredited by the newest accrediting agent, CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Preparation). Former accrediting agencies were National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
As mentioned earlier, this step can occur while obtaining a Bachelor's Degree if you are in a "blended" program, but it can be completed on its own as well through alternative programs.
In addition to having a Bachelor's Degree and completion of a teacher education program, a 3.0 GPA is required to seek a teaching certificate in Pennsylvania.
Teacher preparation programs usually include fieldwork in a classroom as well as a set curriculum at your college or university. The classes you will take generally cover pedagogy, methodology of teaching, differentiated instructional strategies, and effective classroom management practices. Your courses may also explore typical developmental stages for students of varying ages. The fieldwork aspect generally consists of classroom observations and student teaching or interning. As a student teacher, you will work with a master teacher to develop and deliver lessons to students over a set period of time.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania
There are other paths to becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania besides the traditional one detailed already.
Teacher Intern Certification Program
You may be able to obtain your Pennsylvania teaching certificate through a Teacher Intern Certification Program provided that you already possess a Bachelor's Degree. Requirements for this route may be found on the Intern Certification section of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's website. A list of the state-approved Teacher Intern Certification Programs is offered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)
In addition, you may obtain a teaching certificate by holding a Passport of Teaching credential from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). IF this applies to you, you may be eligible for a Pennsylvania Instructional I certificate. As of February 5, 2015, the qualifying subject areas ares are secondary English, secondary mathematics, secondary general sciences, secondary physics, secondary chemistry, or secondary biology.
Once the ABCTE Passport certificate is earned, the candidate will be able to apply for a Pennsylvania Temporary Teaching Permit (TTP). This permit will be valid for one calendar year and can be obtained through the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher The TTP will allow the candidate to teach in a public school under a "mentoring" program. The mentoring program requires that the candidate is placed in a full-time classroom in the certification area.
Pass the Required Tests for Pennsylvania
The next step to becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania is passing the required tests. One must pass the certification tests based on which type of certificate they are seeking. Available ones in Pennsylvania include:
- Instructional I Certificate
- Educational Specialist Certificate
- Administrative Certificate
- Vocational Certificates
- Instructional Add-Ons
See here for the Testing Requirements by Certificate Type. For initial Pennsylvania K-12 certification, you must take the following tests:
- PAPA*: Reading Writing, Mathematics
- Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge
- Appropriate content area tests (Praxis II)
Additional details on certification testing requirements are provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Apply for your Pennsylvania Teacher Certification
The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that all potential Pennsylvania educators apply for a certificate through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). There are several forms that must be submitted during this process, including official transcripts and passing test scores.
Pennsylvania Department of Education
School Leadership and Teacher Quality
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: (717) 728-3224
Find a Teaching Job in Pennsylvania
Now you are ready to find a job at a school in Pennsylvania! You have the power to change the lives of students as you help them reach their potential.
Pennsylvania is currently experiencing a shortage of teachers certified to teach languages, math, sciences, and special education. School districts in the state are responsible for posting individual job postings on their independent job sites as required. Applicants should apply to the district directly. The Department website does link to several third party sites for job listings such as: 50 States' K-12 Job Opportunities, Pennsylvania School Boards Association Professional Vacancy List, SchoolSpring.com, and Teach Philadelphia and Teachers-Teachers.com.
Labor Unions for Teachers in Pennsylvania
Upon being hired, teachers may join a labor union such as the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) or the AFT Pennsylvania chapter. There are also alternative affiliations that teachers can join, such as the Keystone Teachers Association (KEYTA).
Finally, upon retirement, teachers can withdraw their contributions to the Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) on a monthly basis. Working teachers can track their mandatory contributions through PSERS' web portal.
Teachers may wish to work outside the public school system, in which case, applying to any of the state's 2,111 private schools is advised. Teachers should know that compensation, advancement, and benefits in private schools can vary greatly from what the public system offers. Although the state does not require private schools to hire only certified teachers, many private schools prefer to do so.
Teacher Shortage in Pennsylvania by Subjects or Discipline (2014-2015)
The following list of teacher shortage areas in Pennsylvania has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2014-2015 school year
- English as a Second Language
- Hearing Impaired (Pre-Kindergarten
Number of Public School Teachers By Grade
The table below lists the number of public school teachers in Pennsylvania by grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.
|Grade Level||Number of Teachers|
|Pre-kindergarten & Preschool Teachers||903|
|Middle & High School Teachers||54,682|
|Ungraded Class Teachers||9,696|
Data obtained from the State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data 2013
Number of Private School Teachers By Grade
There are more than 2,070 private schools with an estimated 19,300 private school teachers in Pennsylvania. The table below details the number of teachers by grade level during the 2011-2012 school year.
|Grade Level||Number of Teachers|
|Elementary School Teachers||9,623|
|Middle & High School Teachers||3,489|
|Combined K-12 School Teachers||6,162|
Data obtained from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) 2012
Continue Your Education and Professional Development
Research and anecdotal data show that highly effective teachers are those that engage in ongoing, relevant, and high quality professional development. In fact, every state has professional development guidelines that ensure that teachers complete a minimum number of hours for professional development in order to renew their teaching license.
Commonly, educators may choose professional development opportunities in the following broad categories - integration of subject matter in the classroom, strategies for teaching diverse student populations, assessment and evaluation, school support and administrator roles, and self-reflection. In addition to boosting student achievement, teachers who engage in professional development more often fulfill their career and salary goals too.
Professional Development in Pennsylvania
In the state of Pennsylvania, the state department of education has mandated that all educators must earn six credits of collegiate study, six credits of approved continuing professional education courses, or 180 hours of continuing professional education programs every five years in order to maintain current status as a practicing teacher. Teachers that have further questions regarding this process are welcome to contact their school district representative or their administrator.
Employment and Teacher Salary in Pennsylvania
New teachers in Pennsylvania make $41,901 per year which is above the average per capita salary across the state. Even with this very competitive wage, there are still teacher shortages in many subject areas, and across preschool, elementary and high school levels. Teachers are encouraged to become certified in a shortage area, and to apply to high-enrolment districts like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Central Bucks School Districts.
Salary Range$46,320 - $88,100
Elementary school teachers have a salary range between $46,320 to $88,100 a year in Pennsylvania. There are around fifty thousand employed elementary school teachers. Read about what it takes to become an elementary school teacher.
Elementary School Teachers
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||4,880||$62,090|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||2,390||$58,780|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Elementary School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2021)
Salary Range$53,260 - $116,210
English teachers have a salary range between $53,260 to $116,210 a year in Pennsylvania, with over 4,690 employed in the state. See details on how to become an english teacher.
English Language and Literature Teachers (College Professor)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||260||$68,700|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||230||$76,970|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for English Language and Literature Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1123)
Salary Range$48,830 - $87,810
As a high school teacher in Pennsylvania you can expect to make between $48,830 - $87,810. There are around fifty thousand employed high school teachers. Take the next step and learn to how to become a high school teacher.
High School Teachers
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||3,450||$59,710|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||2,710||$59,400|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for High School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2031)
Salary Range$58,200 - $126,260
In Pennsylvania, a history teacher's salary may range from $58,200 to $126,260. There are around a thousand employed history teachers. Get more information about becoming a history teacher.
History Teachers (College Professor)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||110||$73,150|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for History Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1125)
Salary Range$42,740 - $81,480
Kindergarten teachers in Pennsylvania, can earn between $42,740 to $81,480 a year. There are around five thousand employed kindergarten teachers. Read about what it takes to become a kindergarten teacher.
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||380||$55,230|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||370||$55,750|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Kindergarten Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2012)
Salary Range$42,740 - $118,050
As a math teacher in Pennsylvania you can expect to make between $42,740 - $118,050. Pennsylvania is home to about ninety thousand math teachers. See our guide on how to become a math teacher.
Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||230||$76,250|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||130||$83,640|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1022)
Salary Range$18,170 - $63,140
P.e. teachers have a salary range between $18,170 to $63,140 a year in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is home to about eight thousand p.e. teachers. See our guide on how to become a p.e. teacher.
Coaches and Scouts
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||540||$39,150|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||290||$29,310|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Coaches and Scouts (SOC Code: 27-2022)
Salary Range$21,110 - $38,480
In Pennsylvania, a preschool teacher's salary may range from $21,110 to $38,480, with over 13,580 employed in the state. See details on how to become a preschool teacher.
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||640||$26,280|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||420||$25,420|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)
Salary Range$33,840 - $136,640
As a school administrator in Pennsylvania you can expect to make between $33,840 - $136,640. Pennsylvania is home to about nine thousand school administrators. Take the next step and learn to how to become a school administrator.
Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||110||$42,560|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||90||$40,970|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program (SOC Code: 11-9031)
Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||520||$99,880|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||290||$94,310|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School (SOC Code: 11-9032)
Salary Range$40,580 - $82,620
School counselors in Pennsylvania, can earn between $40,580 to $82,620 a year, with over 11,010 employed in the state. See our guide on how to become a school counselor.
Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||600||$59,900|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||490||$48,210|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (SOC Code: 21-1012)
Salary Range$41,410 - $85,710
School librarians have a salary range between $41,410 to $85,710 a year in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is home to about five thousand school librarians. Read about what it takes to become a school librarian.
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||310||$64,180|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||260||$49,030|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Librarians (SOC Code: 25-4021)
Salary Range$40,300 - $92,870
In Pennsylvania, a special education teacher's salary may range from $40,300 to $92,870. Pennsylvania is home to about twenty one thousand special education teachers. Interested in becoming a special education teacher?
Special Education Teachers (Preschool)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||-||$62,340|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Preschool) (SOC Code: 25-2051)
Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||760||$60,910|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||330||$57,380|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School) (SOC Code: 25-2052)
Special Education Teachers (Middle School)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||260||$68,450|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||80||$62,930|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Middle School) (SOC Code: 25-2053)
Special Education Teachers (High School)
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||560||$65,610|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||170||$57,990|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (High School) (SOC Code: 25-2054)
Salary Range$22,420 - $37,540
In Pennsylvania, a substitute teacher's salary may range from $22,420 to $37,540. Pennsylvania is home to about eighteen thousand substitute teachers. Read about what it takes to become a substitute teacher.
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||770||$30,190|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Substitute Teachers (SOC Code: 25-3098)
Salary Range$19,440 - $34,740
In Pennsylvania, a teaching assistant's salary may range from $19,440 to $34,740. There are around forty thousand employed teaching assistants. Interested in becoming a teaching assistant?
|Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton||4,050||$24,400|
|Scranton, Wilkes, Barre||1,700||$26,320|
Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Teacher Assistants (SOC Code: 25-9041)
Top School Districts Supporting Teachers in Pennsylvania
Teachers work hard every day and the more support they have the better they can succeed at inspiring our future. This is why Teacher.org has ranked school districts in Pennsylvania that excel in supporting teachers inside and outside of the classroom. 342 school districts in Pennsylvania were analyzed with the top 50 school districts being featured below. The school districts were scored on several factors which represent how well a school district supports their teachers.
For more information on school district rankings, see our methodology page: http://www.teacher.org/school-district-ranking-methodology.
Continued List of School Districts in Pennsylvania
Data obtained from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey