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Steps to Certification

 When should I apply for PA certification?

You can apply for certification on the first day of the month that you will graduate or complete your program. Be aware that if you apply and do not fulfill all requirements (i.e. passing required exams, finishing courses required for graduation, etc.) within a year, you will have to reapply later with an additional $200 application fee.

Even if you think you will never teach in Pennsylvania, we encourage you to apply for your Pennsylvania certificate now. When you complete an approved certification program, you have met all of the state program requirements. If you delay applying for certification, requirements may change, and you may need to do additional work 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.

How do I apply for certification?

Although you have completed an approved teacher certification program, you will not automatically receive a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate. You will apply through the Pennsylvania Department of Education's TIMS (Teacher Information Management System) to be certified.

  • Cost: To submit a new credential application, the fee is $200.  This can be charged online to a credit card.

What tests are required?

You will need to successfully complete the required content knowledge tests for your certification area. Follow the suggested guidelines for your certification to determine when to take the required test(s).

To avoid extra charges, you must list PA Dept. of Education (PDE) as a score recipient if you are taking the test out-of state. If you have had a recent name change, use your original name for all testing. You can change your name at no charge later in TIMS, but if your testing name does not match your application name, you will have additional charges and delays. When you have met graduation/testing requirements, apply immediately for certification to avoid additional charges.

Do I need to process criminal clearances?

Pennsylvania Department of Education does not require you to submit criminal history and child abuse clearance forms for your certification application. However, if you plan to seek a public school teaching position in Pennsylvania, current clearances (within one year) will be required.

How do I obtain teacher certification in another state?

Messiah University 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 information by contacting the Department of Education in the state where you live. See the link in the left navigation for certification in other states to connect to appropriate websites.  Students who plan to be certified in another state are encouraged to schedule a meeting with us as soon as possible to get more information. Note that some states use an evaluation system that requires documentation during field experiences and student teaching. With sufficient time and planning, we can help you register and complete assignments during your field experiences at Messiah.

NOTE: Any of the preceding information is subject to change at any time, either by the Pennsylvania Department of Education or Messiah University. This website will be updated as we have any modifications. If you have questions, please contact the Certification Office.