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Certification in Pennsylvania

School District of Philadelphia Office of Compliance

The School District of Philadelphia
Education Center
Office of Talent Acquisition, Teacher Certification
440 N. Broad Street, Suite #221
Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015
Office # (215) 400-4670
Fax # (215) 400-4613
compliance@philasd.org

Certification Information for New Hires

In an effort to support a smooth first year here at the School District of Philadelphia, we have put together some information about teacher certification.  The linked document covers the certification path and resources offered by the Certification Office.

We are here to help you.  Please feel free to contact us.

Getting Certified

In order to secure an appointed teaching position with the School District of Philadelphia you need to posses a PA Certification. Please review the Certification FAQ.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is requiring all applications for credentials be completed and submitted through the new Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).The new Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) is now operational and all applications must be entered into TIMS. We will no longer request or accept complete paper applications. You must remember that some evidence must be submitted on paper. 

Once you complete the application on TIMS it will come into our queue for the work experience affirmation. 

You will need to submit the transcripts to the Pennsylvania Department of Education with the coversheet that you will get at the end of the application. The system will prompt you to pay by credit card or money order. If you choose money order, that will go with the coversheet also.

What is TIMS?

The Teacher Information Management System (TIMS) allows the exchange of data among several existing applications currently used by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to collect and manage data related to professional educators. TIMS also incorporates an online certification process that will replace the current Teacher Certification System (TCS).

  • A central site for processing and collecting data related to professional educators, including certifications, designations, disciplinary actions and highly qualified teacher qualifications;
  • A link between an educator's employment data and certification record
  • An internal database which will allow for the sharing of information between PDE's many bureaus;
  • A streamlined system for submitting, processing and approving teacher certifications
  • An online teacher certification system, providing a two-way line of communication between PDE and applicants, educators, local educational agencies (LEA), institutions of higher education (IHE) and Educator Preparation Programs;
  • The ability for users to complete payment transactions online to pay certification fees;
  • A personalized "dashboard" for applicants, educators, LEAs and IHEs to better manage certification applications and requirements workload.
  • A streamlined system for submitting, processing and approving public librarians and Certificates of Preliminary Education for Funeral Directors and Nursing Students.

Out-of-State

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.  Follow instructions and remit packet to PDE, retaining a copy for yourself.  It may take up to two months to receive a formal reply.

Have a Bachelors Degree but are not certified? 

If you do not posses a PA certification and have a bachelors degree, there are Education Programs that you may enroll into for the PA Intern certificate

Outside of the United States 

If you were educated outside of the US, please have your credentials verified through a PDE evaluation service before you enrolled into a certification program.  If you have credits above an earned masters, you should request a course by course version for salary upgrade purposes.

For more information visit the PDE website.   

Level II Certification

Level II Booklet

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.

Level II Instruction Booklet (pdf) for reference only.

TIMS Electronic Application Instructions (pdf).

 

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

Teachers, counselors, librarians, school nurses and school psychologists who have worked a minimum of three (3) to a maximum of six (6) years in a public school and have completed 24 post baccalaureate credits (including in-service), 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 three (3) years in a public school, including acting time, must covert 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.

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Salary Upgrades

*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.

Application for Masters Equivalency Certification
 
This booklet is used when applying for a Masters Equivalency certification.  This document is available in PDF format.  The Fee for MEQ application is $100.
 
Masters Equivalency Instructional Booklet
 
 
Note: Forms may be used for documentation/verification purposes only.  All applications for a Masters Equivalency must be submitted online through the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).

*When an applicant receives 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 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.
  • Vocational Education Teachers with 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.
  • SCT requires 2 professional certifications; 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.
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  • 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 make Senior Career Teachers.
  • 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 Masters’ 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 Masters’ Plus 30 in the Vocational Trade area must submit a copy of their Vocational II Certificate and a sealed, official transcript 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, official transcript showing an earned Masters’ 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.

Certification Questions

  1. What is Certification?
  2. What are the certification application processing fees?
  3. What are the testing requirements? What are the Praxis exams?
  4. Am I required to complete an Induction Program?
  5. How can I receive a copy of my Teacher Induction?
  6. How can I check an institutions accreditation?
  7. How can I check my Act 48 credits online?
  8. How do I keep my certification active?
  9. 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?
  10. Who do I contact regarding my Level II application verification?
  1. 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 bachelors or graduate level and meet all testing (Praxis exam) requirements established by the PA Department of Education.  Learn more about the Education Programs available for the PA Teacher Intern Certification  and Transition to Teaching Program.

  2. What are the certification application processing fees?
    View this link for the cost of certification application fees.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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

  6. How can I check an institutions 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.

  7. How can I check my Act 48 credits online?

    You can view your credits through the on-line Act 48 Professional Education Managment 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.

  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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