Requirements to Renew a Teaching License in Pennsylvania
Teachers in Pennsylvania must stay ahead of the curve and keep their teaching license up to date while working in the field. Find out what you need to know about renewing your certification and how to earn credits toward continuing education requirements.
Renewal Information for Certified Teachers in Pennsylvania
Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania does not require renewal of an existing certificate for educators. You have a limited amount of time to convert your Level I certificate to Level II; if the requirements are not fulfilled, your certificate will lapse, and you will need to fulfill other obligations to reinstate your credentials.
|Certificate Validity||Six years for a Level I certificate|
|Certificate Extension||N/A; certificates must be converted into Level II or the certificate will lapse|
|Conversion Requirements||Acceptable continuing education courses from accredited college or university, acceptable creditable service during teaching as a Level I certified educator|
|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
Level I Certificate in Pennsylvania
Upon passing all your exams and finishing your degree, you can apply for an initial background check in Pennsylvania to confirm you are clear of criminal history and child abuse. After this is complete, you can obtain a Level I Certificate, which opens the door for you to take a teaching position at a school in Pennsylvania. Level I certificates don't have a set expiration date, but the time you can use them is still limited. Your time as a Level I educator is measured by the amount of service you put in as a teacher, rather than the number of years that has passed. If you happen to teach outside of Pennsylvania, these dates would not count against your time as a Level I Pennsylvania teacher.
Level II Certificate in Pennsylvania
Rather than renew your Level I certificate; Pennsylvania law requires you to upgrade your existing credentials to a Level II Certificate. You need to make this change within six active years of teaching, which is the maximum time allowed to hold a Level I Certificate. If you don't make the conversion, your certificate will lapse and you will no longer be considered a certified teacher in Pennsylvania. Once you are upgraded, your Level II certificate is permanent.
Upgrading Your Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate
You can use several components toward submitting your application to upgrade your Pennsylvania teaching certificate.
You will need a total of 24 continuing education credits to become eligible for the upgrade, including six credits directly related to your area of teaching, which can be earned at approved community colleges and regionally accredited colleges or universities.
Your time as a teacher is equally important when upgrading your certificate, and you'll need to ensure that your hours are considered creditable when listing them on your application. There are several institutions that automatically count as time served during the Level I period, including employment at public schools, inmate education at state correctional facilities, and certain private schools that are approved for special education. You can also contribute toward the service requirement by taking a job at a private school, a Head Start program, or a correctional facility for adult inmates.
Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Requirements
To earn your Level I Certificate in Pennsylvania, you will need to earn at least a bachelor's degree. You can select from several different areas of education, depending on your preference for which grades and subjects you want to teach. Elementary education majors typically include many different subjects, while secondary and middle grades focus on one or two subject areas. As you complete all the requirements for your courses, you are also required to complete a student teaching experience, helping you understand how a live classroom feels.