Frequently Asked Questions
When should I apply to the Teacher Education Program (TEP)? Return to Top of Page
You should apply when you have met all of the following requirements:
- At least Sophomore status
- Met the requirements for GPA
- Successful completion (C- or higher) of courses required for admission and any certification courses you have taken so far
- Completion of required background checks that are no more than one year old
- Pass the PAPA exam
What is the latest time that I should apply to the TEP?
In order to progress through your academic program in a timely fashion, you will want to apply before the registration period of the semester BEFORE you intend to enroll in courses that require admission to the TEP (the junior sequence and selected other 300-level courses in your major).
What GPA do I need to apply to the Teacher Education Program? Return to Top of Page
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for full admittance to the TEP.
What if I have almost a 3.0?
A special provision is made for students whose current overall GPA is between 2.80 and 2.99. Students may apply for the program and be considered for provisional admittance into the Teacher Education Program. A special one-semester contract allows students to take courses that require TEP approval.
Where can I find my GPA?
On MC Square, go to Self Service Banner. Choose Student Services - - > Student Records - - > Degree evaluation. Press the button to process a new audit, and you will find your overall GPA near the top of the document.
What records will the Teacher Education Program be checking? Return to Top of Page
The Teacher Education Program will check your current degree audit each semester that you are enrolled in a teacher certification major. Additionally, they will check each semester if you are on disciplinary probation and/ or accused of a violation of academic integrity.
What courses do I need to apply to the Teacher Education Program?
Successful completion (no grade below a C-) in First Year Seminar, COMM 105, English literature, and two college level math courses are required for full admittance to the Teacher Education Program.
What if I get a D in a required course?
Messiah College has made a provision that you can retake a course in which you received below a C-. The grade you earn when you repeat the course will replace the initial grade. Students can also replace the grade with a course taken at another institution, but the D will still show on the transcript and will affect the GPA.
The following students should take ENGL 160 - Introduction to World Literature as it will also meet their Non-Western requirement:
- Education with Teaching Certification in Pre K-4
- Education with Dual Teaching Certification in Pre K-4 and Special Education (N-8)
- Education with Teaching Certification in Middle Level English, Mathematics, Mathematics & English, Science, Science & English, or Science & Mathematics
All other teacher certification students may choose from any literature course between ENGL 122 and ENGL 176
What mathematics courses must I take?
Check with your advisor, since some programs are specific about the course(s) that will meet this requirement. Both must be college level math courses.
You need to have the Pennsylvania criminal record check, Pennsylvania child abuse clearance, and the FBI background check. Clearances must be within a year of the date that your application is reviewed.
How do I get them?
Follow the link in the question above. The FBI check must be done through Cogent and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. You are responsible for the costs of these clearances.
How does Messiah get them?
You must attach your original copies to your Application for Admission to the Teacher Education Program. An assistant can make a copy and return your originals when you deliver it, or they will be returned to you in campus mail.
When should I take the PAPA?
You are encouraged to take the PAPA by the fall of your sophomore year. The PAPA, required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, tests your general knowledge in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.
How does Messiah get my test scores?
You must designate Messiah College as a score recipient when you register for tests.
Passing score for each module is 220.
When should I take culminating exams?
Some certifications require Praxis II, while others require PECT tests. You can take the culminating exams required for your certification as early as the summer before your senior year. If you do not want to have your certification delayed, you should plan to complete tests 2 months before you complete the program.
Which tests should I take?
To save time and money, it’s very important to be sure that you are taking the correct tests. Check which tests are required for your certification area(s).
What is provisional acceptance?
Provisional acceptance allows students who are not eligible to be fully admitted to the TEP to take courses that require TEP admittance while they work on the final requirement(s). There are three conditions that will allow a student to have provisional acceptance:
- Students who have not met the 3.0 GPA requirement, but have at least a 2.8 overall GPA
- Students who have taken all but one of the required courses for admittance, as long as they are concurrently enrolled in the course they are missing
- Students who have earned lower than a C- in one required course for certification
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 I want to use the 2.8 policy, what do I do?
If you are eligible to use the 2.8 policy when you apply to the TEP, you will be sent the petition 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. Completed petitions are to be returned to the Teacher Education Program office (Boyer 414). You will be considered eligible to use the policy when the petition has been completed, returned and approved.
What is the concurrent course policy?
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 I want to use the concurrent course policy, what do I do?
If you are eligible to use the concurrent course policy when you apply, you will be sent the petition 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. Completed petitions are to be returned to the Teacher Education Program office (Boyer 414). You will be considered eligible to use the policy when the petition has been completed, returned and approved.
Are there courses I need to take concurrently? Return to Top of Page
Yes. All certification students except for PreK-4 and PreK-4 with Special Education should take the following sophomore sequence:
EDUC 203, EDSP 207, and TEP/EDUC 210
PreK-4 and PreK-4 with Special Education take EDSP 207 and TEP/EDUC 210 concurrently, but do not take EDUC 203.
During the junior year, all certification students except for PreK-4 and PreK-4 with Special Education should take the following junior level sequence:
EDSP 307, EDUC 308, and TEP 310. Secondary education, modern language K-12, and family and consumer science certification students will also take EDUC 331.
Some certification majors also require a course in the major to be taken with the sophomore or junior sequence. See your academic advisor for these courses.
PreK-4 and PreK-4 with Special Education take a prescribed set of courses in both semesters in the junior year. See your academic advisor for these courses.
What about pre-requisites?
The sophomore sequence is a pre-requisite for the junior sequence. Both of these sequences must be successfully completed before you can begin student teaching. Enrollment in the junior sequence also requires admission into the Teacher Education Program, so you need to complete the requirements and apply before the start of the registration period of the semester BEFORE you intend to enroll in those courses (late March for fall courses, late October for spring courses).
I am not a citizen of the U.S. Can I be certified in Pennsylvania after I graduate?
A Messiah College graduate who is not a US citizen can be certified in Pennsylvania when she/he has met all certification requirements AND holds a resident alien (green card) visa and has filed a Declaration of Intent to become a citizen, unless the applicant is seeking certification to teach a foreign language (adapted from Pennsylvania Department of Education website) . Students who are non-U.S. citizens should contact the Teacher Education Program to discuss their options and career plans.
I did not pass my culminating exams for certification. Can I still be certified?
Pennsylvania Department of Education currently provides an option for teacher certification students who are unable to earn the passing scores on the Praxis II/PECT exams. At this time, this option is not available for grade 4-8 certification students. If your FINAL overall GPA at the time of program completion is higher than 3.0, you can be endorsed for certification with a slightly lower Praxis II/PECT score. The PDE website lists the scores required for each level of final GPA. Please be aware that PDE may change the scores required, and their direct website should be your resource as you plan your strategy.
As you consider this option, please keep in mind the following points:
- This chart is based on your FINAL GPA, not the GPA you have now.
- If a school district asks for your Praxis II/PECT score, they will see that you do not have a “passing” score even though the state allowed you to be certified with that score. Given the competition for jobs, this could put you at a disadvantage. Not all score reports indicate passing or not passing, but the ones that do not have a simple number (220) that applies to all tests, so districts are likely to know (or quickly learn) what that passing number is.
- This policy does not apply to instructional add-ons. It only applies to candidates who have completed a prep program and have an overall GPA at the completion of the program.
PDE has a FAQ section on this policy.We strongly encourage you to continue to work toward the required score, but know that this option is available if needed to help you earn your certification. If you have questions about this policy or how it might impact you, please contact us.
The assistants in Boyer 414 will be happy to help you and direct your questions to the appropriate person.