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Certification

The Pennsylvania Department of Education issues all certificates to teach in Pennsylvania. All information provided on these pages is subject to change, and all users should consult the Pennsylvania Department of Education regularly for updates.

Who needs to be certified?

Classroom teachers, administrative and supervisory personnel, school librarians,  and other school professionals (including guidance counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and school social workers) are required to hold a Pennsylvania certificate.

Applying for Certification and Creating a New Credential

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires all applications for credentials be completed and submitted through the new Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).

TIMS Instructions for Creating a New Credential

Note: You will need to submit the transcripts and any other requested documentation to the Pennsylvania Department of Education with a  coversheet that you can print out after you have submitted and paid for your application. The system will prompt you to pay by credit card or money order.

Certified in Another State?

Out-of-state certified applicants must obtain Pennsylvania certification to qualify for employment.  If you have an out-of state certification/license, please apply for a PA Certificate through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  You may contact them at (717) 787-3356 to speak with an evaluator.   It may take up to two months to receive a formal reply.

The Level II booklet is for applicants converting Level I to Level II.

Note:  Forms may be used for reference purposes only.  All applications for certification must be submitted online through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).

The fee for Level II applications is $125.

TIMS Electronic Application Instructions

For Teachers, Counselors, Librarians, School Nurses and School Psychologists

Teachers, counselors, librarians, school nurses and school psychologists who have worked after the issuance of a Level I certificate for a minimum of three (3) to a maximum of six (6) years in a public school, have completed 24 post baccalaureate credits,  and New Teacher Induction,  must convert their certificate to Level II status.

*Important Instructions:

Upon receipt you must submit a copy of your new certificate either in person, by mail or fax so that we can update your personnel file.
Time served on an emergency permit leading towards certification does not count towards Level II.
This procedure cannot be used for applying for Act 48 credits.  YOU MUST OBTAIN A SEPARATE TRANSCRIPT AND COMPLETE THE REQUIRED PDE FORM.
For Assistant Principals, Principals and Supervisors

Assistant principals, principals and supervisors who have worked for five (5) years in a public school, including acting time, after the issuance of an Administrative I certificate must convert their certificate to Level II status.

*Important instructions:

Upon receipt you must submit a copy of your new certificate either in person, by mail or fax so that we can update your personnel file.
Time served on an emergency permit leading towards certification does not count towards Level II.

Educators are encouraged to retain a personal complete set of official transcripts on hand.  The compliance department does not maintain an ongoing file of coursework for each employee.

Master’s Equivalency Salary Upgrade

Master’s Equivalency requires 36 graduate credits from an accredited college/university with a grade of “C” or better.  A minimum of 18 credits in any certified content area and a maximum of 18 PA approved in-service credits.  In-service is considered “professional development” before year 2000.

Applicants should obtain a Letter of Equivalency from the state, he/she must complete a Salary Upgrade Request Form and attach a copy of the Letter of Equivalency.

Master’s Degree Salary Upgrade

Things to remember:

  • Applicant must complete a Salary Upgrade Request Form and submit official Master’s transcript, sealed in official college envelope, which shows conferred Master’s Degree with date awarded.
  • Credits must be from an accredited degree granting (BA or higher) college or university; credits from junior college and/or community college are not accepted.
  • Any degree from a graduate degree granting institution, awarded or conferred on or after January 1, 2012 will be accepted for salary upgrade.
  • Degrees from other countries must be evaluated by a National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services member; WES is one that is frequently used but any member can be used by the applicant.  A list of members can be found at http://www.naces.org/.
  • We do not accept courses in real estate, law, medicine or religion because they cannot be used in the classroom.  We will, however, accept medical courses for nurses and “school” law courses.
  • Vocational Education Teachers with a Vocational I certificate or a Bachelor’s degree with 6 years of trade experience or a Master’s Degree should be paid at a Masters Level.

Master’s Plus 30 Salary Upgrade

Things to remember:

  • Applicant must complete a Salary Upgrade Request Form and submit official Master’s transcript, sealed in official college envelope, which shows conferred Master’s Degree with date awarded, along with the other official, sealed transcripts which make up the additional credits.
  • Master’s Plus 30 requires 60 credits beyond the Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Credits must be from a 4-year accredited college or university; credits from junior college and/or community college are not accepted.
  • Any degree from a graduate degree granting institution, awarded or conferred on or after January 1, 2012 will be accepted for salary upgrade.
  • Degrees from other countries must be evaluated by a National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services member; WES is one that is frequently used but any member can be used by the applicant. A list of members can be found at http://www.naces.org/.
  • We do not accept courses in real estate, law, medicine or religion because they cannot be used in the classroom.  We will, however, accept medical courses for nurses and “school” law courses.
  • Some colleges/universities use quarter hours.  The School District of Philadelphia considers quarter hour credits to be 2/3 of a semester hour and will use the following calculation to convert those credits to semester hours:  total number of quarter hours divided 2 x 3 = number of semester hours.  A few of the universities that use a quarter hour system are Antioch, California State – East Bay, and Drexel.

Doctorate’s Salary Upgrade 

Things to remember:

  • Applicant must complete a Salary Upgrade Request Form and submit official Doctorate’s transcript, sealed in official college envelope, which shows conferred Doctorate’s Degree with date awarded.
  • Credits must be from a 4-year accredited college or university; credits from junior college and/or community college are not accepted.
  • Any degree from a graduate degree granting institution, awarded or conferred on or after January 1, 2012 will be accepted for salary upgrade.
  • Degrees from other countries must be evaluated by a National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services member; WES is one that is frequently used but any member can be used by the applicant.  A list of members can be found at http://www.naces.org/.
  • We do not accept courses in real estate, law, medicine or religion because they cannot be used in the classroom.  We will, however, accept medical courses for nurses and “school” law courses.

Senior Career Teacher (SCT) Salary Upgrade 

Things to remember:

  • Applicant must complete an SCT Salary Upgrade Form and submit official Master’s transcript, sealed in official college envelope, which shows conferred Master’s Degree with date awarded, along with the other official, sealed transcripts which make up the additional credits.
  • SCT requires 90 credits beyond the Bachelor’s Degree or a PhD.
  • SCT requires 2 professional certifications or 1 K-12 certification area; applicant should submit a copy of professional certifications.
  • SCT requires that applicant completed 10 years of teaching experience as a teacher in SDP.  We do count long-term sub work.
  • Credits must be from a 4-year accredited college or university; credits from junior college and/or community college are not accepted.
  • Any degree from a graduate granting institution, awarded or conferred on or after January 1, 2012 will be accepted for a salary upgrade.
  • Degrees from other countries must be evaluated by a National Association of Credentials Evaluation Services member; WES is one that is frequently used but any member can be used by the applicant. A list of members can be found at http://www.naces.org/.
  • We do not accept courses in real estate, law, medicine or religion because they cannot be used in the classroom.  We will, however, accept medical courses for nurses and “school” law courses.
  • School nurses cannot attain Senior Career Teacher salary status.
  • Some colleges/universities use quarter hours.  The School District of Philadelphia considers quarter hour credits to be 2/3 of a semester hour and will use the following calculation to convert those credits to semester hours:  total number of quarter hours divided 2 x 3 = number of semester hours.  A few of the universities that use a quarter hour system are Antioch, California State – East Bay, and Drexel.  Contact the institution’s Registrar’s Office to inquire.

Vocational Education Teacher Salary Upgrade (Credits earned at a community college ARE acceptable for Vocational Education Teachers)

Master’s Equivalency

Applicant for Master’s’ Equivalency certificate in the Vocational Trade area must submit a complete set of sealed, official transcripts showing a total of 90 semester credit hours.

Up to (12) In-Service credits may be used.  A completion rating of satisfactory is required.

Master’s Plus 30

Applicants for Master’s’ Plus 30 in the Vocational Trade area must submit a copy of their Vocational II Certificate and a sealed, officialtranscript showing a total of 120 semester credit hours or any degree from a graduate degree granting institution, awarded or conferred on or after January 1, 2012 will be accepted for salary upgrade.

Senior Career Teacher

Applicants for Senior Career Teacher in the Vocational Trade area must have completed TEN (10) years satisfactory teaching service with the School District for Philadelphia, this may include time served as provisional or long-term substitute, this service must be in school year increments.

Applicants must submit a copy of a valid Pennsylvania Vocational II certificate in two (2) different subject areas and a sealed, officialtranscript showing an earned Master’s’ Degree or any degree from a graduate degree granting institution, awarded or conferred on or after January 1, 2012 will be accepted for salary upgrade.

Transcripts and supporting documents for all of the above should be sent or hand-delivered to:

The School District of Philadelphia
Educational Center
Certification Office
440 North Broad Street, Suite 221
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Salary adjustments for all of the above will be effective* on the first day of the pay period in which the last credential is received by the Certification Office.

*The School District is accepting salary upgrade applications. We are not able to approve them at this time due to the salary freeze for current employees.

What is Certification? 

Certification is a process to verify the qualifications and proper training of each professional educator to execute his/her professional responsibilities.  The requirements for certification are:  completion of an approved education preparation program at the bachelor’s or graduate level and meet all testing (Praxis exam) requirements established by the PA Department of Education.  Learn more about Education Programs available with the PA Teacher Intern Certification.

What are the certification application processing fees?

View this link for the cost of certification application fees.

What are the testing requirements? What are the Praxis exams?

Individuals applying for an initial certificate (Instructional I or Education Specialist I) are required to take the Praxis I Pre-Professional skills tests in reading, writing and mathematics.  Candidates for all instructional areas must take the Praxis II in addition to the designated subject test(s).  All individuals seeking dual certification will be required to be examined in both areas of specialization.  In Pennsylvania, Praxis test scores are valid for 5 calendar years from the original test date.  For more information regarding test dates, locations and registration procedures, please contact Education Testing Services (ETS) at (800) 772-9476. View this link for Pennsylvania testing requirements.

Am I required to complete an Induction Program?

Yes, if your initial Instructional I certificate was issued on or after June 1, 1987; you must present evidence of having successfully completed a Pennsylvania Department Education approved induction program in order to qualify for an Instructional II or Vocational Instructional II certificate.  The School District of Philadelphia offers a flexible and comprehensive Induction Program.  For more information please contact The Office of Leadership and Professional Development at (215) 400-4613.

How can I receive a copy of my Teacher Induction?

Please complete the Official Induction Request form and fax it to (215) 400-4613, or email it as an attachment to compliance@philasd.org

How can I check an institution’s accreditation?

You can click the link to view the Postsecondary Education Institutions and Programs accredited by Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

How can I check my Act 48 credits online?

You can view your credits through the on-line Act 48 Professional Education Management System on The Pennsylvania Department of Education website at www.pde.state.pa.us.  Additionally, for more information regarding Act 48 and the steps for on-line registration, you may refer to www.philasd.org/offices/act48.

How do I keep my certification active?

Beginning July 1, 2000, Act 48 of 1999 requires educators holding a PA professional certification to  complete continuing education requirements every five years in order to maintain their certifications as active. For more information please visit the Act 48 FAQ’s from the PDE website.

I have questions about my Act 48 credits, who can I contact within the School District of Philadelphia and/or PA Department of Education about them?

Please contact the Office of Compliance at (215) 400-4670 or the PA Department of Education at (717) 783-6646.

Who do I contact regarding my Level II application verification?

Verification of Employment and Years of Service: Please call Personnel Records at (215) 400-4780

Verification of Time Taught on Level I:  Verification is done electronically via the TIMS system. Once you submit and pay for your application, it will come to us for verification. Please be sure to affiliate with “Philadelphia City SD” on your application.

Last modified: July 27, 2017