Application Procedures for Teacher Certification
As you near the end of your program, you will want to know how to apply for your Pennsylvania Instructional I Teaching Certificate, the credential you will need to teach in any of the Commonwealth’s public schools. We have prepared step-by-step instructions to help you navigate the application process successfully. Before you work through the process, please take special note of the following:
1.) Who is responsible for your certification application?
You are! Although you have completed an approved teacher certification program, you will not automatically receive a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate. You will apply through TIMS (Teacher Information Management System) to be certified.
2.) When should you apply for your Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate?
You can apply for certification through TIMS as early as the first day of the month you graduate/complete your program. If you apply and have outstanding requirements (passing Praxis II or PECT scores, course(s) needed for graduation, GPA below 3.0), you may have to reapply later and pay an additional cost. Even if you think you will never teach in Pennsylvania, we urge you to apply for your Pennsylvania certificate now. Because you have just completed an approved certification program, you now meet all of the state’s requirements. However, if you delay applying for certification, requirements may change and you may need to do additional work (e.g., taking new courses or passing new examinations) to be eligible again. Once you have your Pennsylvania certificate, you will find that it is relatively easy to obtain the comparable certificate in other states.
3.) How do you obtain teacher certification in another state?
Messiah College is approved only to endorse your application for a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate. If you wish to pursue certification in a state other than Pennsylvania, you can find testing and other requirements in the drop-down box on the Praxis website or by contacting the Department of Education in the state where you plan to be certified.
4.) What if you need evidence that you are enrolled in (or have completed) a teacher certification program before you receive your Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate?
If you begin searching for a teaching position before you receive your Pennsylvania Certificate, you may find that a potential employer requires verification that you are enrolled in a teacher preparation program or have completed a program. There are two approaches we can take to help you:
- Before graduation: At your request to the Teacher Certification Office, a letter will be prepared and sent to you via campus mail stating that you are currently enrolled in a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved teacher preparation program at Messiah College. The letter states that all of Messiah’s teacher preparation programs qualify persons to apply for the Pennsylvania Instructional I Certificate following graduation and completion of all Pennsylvania certification requirements. The letter, signed by the Teacher Certification Officer, will also contain your Social Security Number, Certification Area and Expected Graduation Date.
- After graduation: At your request to the Teacher Certification Office, a letter will be prepared and sent to the address you specify stating that you have satisfactorily completed a teacher preparation program at Messiah College. In addition to the information in the “before graduation” letter described above, it will specify completion of Messiah College graduation requirements, Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Program requirements (including student teaching), Pennsylvania PRAXIS requirements (I and II) and the date that application materials for your Instructional I Certificate were submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. This letter is also signed by the Teacher Certification Officer.