A person educated in a foreign country may be eligible for public school teacher certification in Pennsylvania provided the applicant meets all of the following conditions:
- holds a degree in higher education that is the equivalent of a baccalaureate degree earned in the United States;
- has completed a teacher preparation program that meets Pennsylvania standards;
- has obtained satisfactory scores on the Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Testing Program, if applying for the first PENNSYLVANIA Certificate. (The tests include PAPA Reading, PAPA Writing, PAPA Mathematics, Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge (all K-6 and K-12 areas), and specific subject knowledge);
- has demonstrated proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in the English language by obtaining satisfactory scores on the English Proficiency test. (Applicants whose native language is not English must take this test. See English Proficiency test information below);
- is a citizen of the United States or holds an resident alien (green card) visa;
- has filed a declaration of intent to become a citizen, unless the applicant is seeking certification to teach a foreign language; and
- meets all other requirements provided by law.
Complete the Application for Pennsylvania Professional Certificate online via the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). In addition, you must submit the following supporting documents and credentials:
- Foreign Evaluation Report -original or notarized photocopy. Must be completed by a private agency listed on the NACES website. This evaluation must show U.S. equivalent of all foreign degrees plus a course-by-course evaluation showing semester hour college credit and cumulative GPA;
- Foreign Credentials -notarized copy of the original foreign credentials (copy both front and back)
- Translation -notarized English translation of foreign credentials;
- Praxis/ACTFL Scores -official, appropriate scores which must be received in this office directly from ETS or ACTFL. All tests must be successfully completed within ten years of the date of application for Pennsylvania certification unless the candidate's application is evaluated under the 3 out of 7 rule. Test scores evaluated under the 3 out of 7 rule must have been successfully completed within five years of the date of application. See PA Testing Requirements for further information on the tests required.
- Affidavit -completed Affidavit of "Declaration of Intent to Become a Citizen of the United States" or U.S. citizenship if required for the credential sought.
- Supply/Provide-a photocopy of the front and back side of your Permanent Resident Visa (green card) or other visa if not a U.S. citizen if this is required for the credential sought; and
- English Proficiency Test -Foreign applicants must demonstrate their proficiency in understanding and speaking the English language. The English Proficiency is the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test called the "English Language, Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). The score that will be required for successful completion is Advanced Mid. All applicants needing to register for this test should go to http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=7652&mode=2&externalurl=http://www.languagetesting.com .
- Responsibility for proving the authenticity of documents rests with the applicant. The applicant is limited to one subject per application. Each additional subject area will require a separate application and fee.
If you do not have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree in the United States, the evaluation will not proceed beyond that determination.
The application cover sheet and supporting documents should be mailed together in one packet to:
Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality
333 Market Street, 12rd Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333 Telephone: 717-787-3356