School of Education

Teacher Certification Information

Thinking about getting certification in another state with your PA certification? Read about Teacher Certification Interstate Agreements

Pennsylvania has signed the Interstate Agreement (NASDTEC) with most other states/jurisdictions based upon mutually agreed-upon conditions. The contract provides for acceptance of state-approved educator preparation programs between certain states to facilitate educator mobility. All jurisdictions that participate in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement may choose to have additional requirements for educators who are coming from another jurisdiction.  

IMPORTANT NOTE TO PROSPECTIVE TEACHER CANDIDATES:  Each state is responsible for its own certification/licensure requirements, which may change without notice to NASDTEC or your university's certification officers or your state's office of certification.  You must contact the office of certification in any state to which you may be relocating to get the most accurate information on certification requirements.  

The NASDTEC Interstate Agreement facilitates the mobility of educators among the states and other jurisdictions that are members of NASDTEC and have signed the Agreement. Although there may be conditions applicable to individual jurisdictions, the Agreement makes it possible for an educator who completed an approved program and/or who holds a certificate or license in one jurisdiction to earn a certificate or license in another state or jurisdiction.  For a full explanation of the agreement, participating states, and a review of specific state-by-state requirements visit the webpage for the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)


Exit Requirements for Teacher Certification Candidates

  1. Hold a bachelor's degree or higher with a minimum program grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.
  2. Completion of an approved program of study leading to certification in the area of certificate requested.
  3. Satisfactory completion of student teaching, fieldwork or internship (required grade of “B” or better) in the area of certification.
  4. Completion of a professional portfolio (Administrative certificates).
  5. Recommendation of University Certification Officer on the TIMS application.

Getting YOUR Certification Processed

At the conclusion of your teacher preparation program, make application through TIMS for your teaching credential.  TIMS (Teacher Information Management System) is the Pennsylvania Department of Education's electronic application system for teacher certification.

Create a TIMS account if you do not already have one. You must register with PDE and create an account. Remember to use a personal email and not your school email address when creating your log in credentials.  Make note of your PPID # you will need this in the future. 

You will use the TIMS portal for all future interactions with PDE. With TIMS you can:

  • add additional areas of certification
  • pay online with a credit card*
  • change your address
  • track continuing education credits
  • communicate with PDE

For assistance in submitting an application use the TIMS help/user guides 

What Tests are Required? Test Requirements PA Teacher Certification

Pennsylvania requires assessment of all candidates in basic skills*, general knowledge, professional knowledge and subject area knowledge before a certificate may be issued.

For complete information for testing requirements, test announcements, links to test registration and study guides, log onto PA Department of Education Certification Testing. GPA Qualifying Scores included in the chart may not be used for: add-on testing or basic skills assessments.

For assistance in accessing the PDE Basic skills certification calculator, log onto PA Department of Education Certification Testing and select Composite Calculator.

*Graduate Students (includes completion of entire post-bacc programs , and students earning an advanced degree with certification) are exempt from Basic Skills. More information on Basic skills assessment exemptions. 

How do the Special Education Certification Changes impact you? Read about Act 82 and expanding your certificate through an approved Pathway


Special Education Certification Changes

Students seeking Pennsylvania Department of Education teacher certification in Special Education PK-8 or Special Education 7-12 are advised of changes to the structure of Special Education certification.  Act 82 of 2018 established a Special Education Grades PK-12 standalone certificate. This legislation discontinues the Special Education PK-8 and Special Education 7-12 certificates. Arcadia University must now prepare students to teach prekindergarten through grade 12 or up to 21 years of age. The Special Education Grades PK-12 certificate does not require certification in an additional content area.  

Effective January 1, 2022, Per Act 82 of 2018, first-time applicants for special education certification will be issued Special Education PK-12 certificates as of January 1, 2022.  However, those holding a PA Special Education PK-8 or Special Education 7-12 certificate will be able to expand the scope of their special education certificate as permitted by law.

Approved Special Education Bridge Pathways

For Arcadia students who are in programs or have completed programs that include only Special Education PreK-8 or Special Education 7-12, Arcadia has received approval for Special Education expansion programming as the Special Education Bridge Pathways. The Special Education Bridge Pathways must be completed along with a TIMS application submitted to PA Department of Education prior to December 31, 2021. 

Our current Special Education Program at the undergraduate level contains all the state identified competencies. In order to facilitate the expansion of current and graduated alumni Special Education students in our undergraduate programs who hold or who are in programming to receive the Pre-K-8th certification, we offer these specific pathways for Undergraduates Special Education expansion.

Our current Special Education Programs at the post bacc/graduate level contain all the state identified competencies. In order to facilitate the expansion of current and graduated alumni of  Special Education students in our post bacc/graduate programs who hold or who are in programming to receive either the Pre-K-8th certification or the 7th -12th certification, we offer these specific pathways for Post Bacc/Graduate Special Education expansion.

Deadline for Special Education PK-8 and 7-12 Certifications - December 2021

All students seeking Special Education PK-8 OR Special Education 7-12 must complete all requirements for these certifications, apply, and have their certificaiton issued by PDE before the end of December 2021.  Any student applying for certification after December 2021 must complete the revised requirements specified for Special Education PK-12 certification which includes additional coursework and required testing.  Additional information from PDE is available online at: Certification Preparation Program Guidelines for Special Education Grades PK-12 [pdf]

Whether you choose to expand your special education certification by coursework or testing, you will need to apply and submit a new credential application through TIMS by the deadline.