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Teacher Education & Certification


TEP Admission Requirements and Procedures


When admitted to the College, all students who intend to pursue a teacher preparation program are identified by major and the certification area in which they are interested.  However, they are not yet admitted to the Teacher Education Program. All students with at least sophomore status who plan to pursue teacher certification should apply to the Teacher Education Program when they have met the requirements for admission.


Sophomore teacher certification students should receive an email directing them to the Application for Admission to the Teacher Education Program in January of the sophomore year. Students who have not received the application instructions can request an application be sent at any time by sending an email to the Teacher Education Program.


Admission requirements are established by the Teacher Education Committee in compliance with regulations from the Commonwealth of PA and the Messiah College Teacher Education Program.


Four major criteria are reviewed when a student applies for admission to the Teacher Education Program:

  1. Character Clearances
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires that students who are preparing to become teachers must be "persons of good moral character." By Pennsylvania law, Act 114, students preparing to become teachers must provide the following clearances:

    • PA Act 34 (PA Criminal Record Check)
    • PA Act 33/151 (PA Child Abuse Check)
    • FBI Background Check processed through the Cogent system as per Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements

    All of these clearances have processing fees which are the responsibility of the teacher certification student.  Results of all three clearances must be submitted as part of the student's application for admission to the Teacher Education Program and must be dated within a year of making application. Click on the Clearance Info link at the left side of the page for specific information about filing clearances. Applicants are also screened by the College's Student Affairs and Registrar's Offices to ascertain that individuals are considered to be in good standing with each office and are in compliance with campus guidelines for personal behavior and academic integrity.

  2. PAPA Examination Scores
    At the time of application, students must submit evidence of passing scores from the PAPA exam. For admission, scores must meet the standard established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.  Click on the Testing link at the top of the page for specific information about the exams. 
    • As of Sept. 1, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has determined that students who have met the following criteria on the SAT/ACT exams prior to college matriculation are exempt from taking the PAPA
      • Total Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) score of no less than 1550 that will include no individual section score of less than 500. 
      • Composite score of 23 on the American College Test Plus Writing (ACT) accompanied by a combined English/Writing score of 22 and a Math score of 21.
    • Students who believe they may have SAT/ACT scores that qualify for the exemption should notify the Teacher Education Program by email.
  3. Course Completion

    Students must earn at least a "C-" in:

    • First year seminar (or equivalent course)
    • COMM 105 Fundamentals of Oral Communication (or equivalent course)
    • Two college level math courses
    • English literature course. 
    • All courses required for the major or teacher certification program

Any course listed above in which students earn a grade lower than "C-" must be repeated.

  1. GPA/Academic Performance
    Minimum GPA of 3.0 overall after 48 completed credits is required for admission. Students can check GPA on their own degree audit on MCSquare.


Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and Messiah College Teacher Education Program (TEP) policies currently allow students to be fully admitted to the Teacher Education Program with a GPA of at least 2.8 AND higher qualifying scores on all Praxis II tests required for your certification. The qualifying scores are higher than scores needed to pass the Praxis II, and the actual scores necessary to use this provision vary by test.  The actual scores required can be found on the PDE website.  This option is available for students who have scored well on the Praxis II, but have not met the GPA requirement by the time they are ready to student teach. In order to use the Praxis II score in lieu of the 3.0 GPA, you must earn the higher score by the June testing date prior to the year in which you plan to student teach. While this option may help a small number of students to earn teaching certification, we strongly encourage students to meet with their advisors to plan strategies to earn a 3.0 GPA, since the Praxis II option will come late in your time at Messiah College, and not all students will be able to earn the higher Praxis II scores.


Provisional Admission


Provisional admission can be offered to students who are eligible to use the 2.8 GPA exception or the concurrent course exception.


  • 2.8 Exception: If your overall GPA is between a 2.8 and a 2.99 and it is mathematically possible for you to raise your GPA to a 3.0 prior to student teaching, you may petition the Teacher Education Committee to allow you to enroll in courses that require TEP admittance for one semester while you work to raise your GPA. If you are eligible to use the 2.8 policy when you apply to the TEP, you will be sent the contract to complete with your advisor.


  • Concurrent course exception: The concurrent course policy allows you to enroll in courses that require TEP admittance while concurrently being enrolled in a course for which you received a grade lower than C- or a course that is required for admission that you have not yet completed. If you are eligible to use the concurrent course policy when you apply, you will be sent the contract to complete with your advisor.


Your advisor can help you determine if it is in your best interest to use the policy in a given semester or to delay the courses for which you are currently ineligible. You will be considered eligible to use the policy when the petition has been completed, returned and approved.



A student may appeal decisions regarding his/her status for Program admission or Professional Semester admission as determined by the Teacher Education Program.  Any appeal should be articulated in writing to the Chair of the Teacher Education Committee, clearly stating the nature for the appeal and supporting rationale for consideration of the requested change.  Appeals will be processed through the Teacher Education Committee by the committee chair.  Decisions regarding the appeal will be relayed to the student verbally and in writing. If the student is not satisfied with the decision of the Teacher Education Committee, a subsequent appeal may be made to the Dean of the School of Business, Education and Social Science.


Current Students

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Cooperating Teachers