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Music Teacher License in Pennsylvania

Are you making plans to become a music teacher in Pennsylvania? Find out what it takes to earn your certification, including degree and student teaching requirements, as well as the Praxis exams you'll need to pass before you start teaching.

Overview of Music Teacher Certification in Pennsylvania

Music teachers lead students in classes that focus on the appreciation of music and teach basic musical skills. Teachers can instruct ages from kindergarten through high school after going through a college degree program that includes student teaching and passing the required Praxis exams.

Education/Experience RequiredBachelor's degree, teacher education program
Exams RequiredBasic skills assessment: Praxis Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) or Praxis Core Academic Skills; Praxis Music: Content Knowledge exam
Certificate ValiditySix years for a Level I certificate
Certificate ExtensionN/A; certificates must be converted into Level II or the certificate will lapse
Average Pennsylvania Salary* (2018)$66,860 for elementary school, $67,950 for middle school, and $64,830 for high school
National Job Growth* (2016-2026)7% for kindergarten and elementary school, and 8% for middle and high school teachers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

A music teacher exposes students to different eras and cultures of music. You'll teach them about various movements throughout the history of music and can lead your students in singing and performing. Depending on which grade level you teach, you may conduct an orchestra, a marching band, or a choral arrangement. You'll supervise your class and give grades just like other educators in the same school building. As with other teachers, you'll make lesson plans and give assignments when necessary, and you'll refer students who are disorderly to the proper administrative member.

Education and Training Requirements

To become a music teacher, you'll need to first earn an undergraduate degree. You'll find this in the form of a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, which gives you the skills to teach other students the art of music. You'll learn about the proper instructional techniques used in music courses and how to incorporate these techniques in classrooms filled with students who have different styles of learning. You'll also get to learn about administrative practices you'll need to cover through your time as a teacher, including budget preparation and concert scheduling. Before you finish your degree, you'll get to teach a classroom with supervision, gaining a perspective on what it's like to have your own students before getting your certification.

Exam Requirements

Music teachers can take a basic skills assessment to begin the process of certification before earning their credentials. You'll need to pass either the three-part Praxis Core Academic Skills exam (one section each of reading, writing, and math) or the Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment. Either exam is accepted as a demonstration of basic skills. All teachers for preschool through twelfth grade must take the Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge exam, and music teachers in Pennsylvania for any of these grades should take the Music: Content Knowledge exam. All of the tests are primarily in multiple-choice format with different scores necessary to pass.

Certification Requirements

After you have earned successful passing scores on each of your exams, you're eligible for a Level I certificate in Pennsylvania. This is valid for up to six years, but those six years are only used when you are actively teaching. You'll have to register for a full background check that clears you of any child abuse history or criminal activity. Once you earn your Level I certification, you need to teach for at least three years and earn 24 continuing education credits to upgrade your level to II. If you allow six years of teaching to pass without upgrading, your credentials will lapse.