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Types of Certificates in Pennsylvania

Candidates for certification in Pennsylvania must identify the certificate type and subject area for which they plan to apply before entering the online application system, the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS).  The various certificate types and subject areas currently offered by Pennsylvania are listed below. Also refer to the Certification Subject Area Code list for the areas you will see listed in TIMS.

For educators holding a Pennsylvania certificate and applying for certification in another state or for other state departments of education, the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Stages of Licensure for each certificate type is listed at the bottom of this page.  To understand the NASDTEC Stages of Licensure, refer to NASDTEC Information.

Instructional Certificates

The Instructional Certificate is issued to a person whose primary responsibility shall be direct contact with learners in teaching-learning situations.  

Grade Level Subject
K-12 Agriculture
K-12 Art Education
K-12 Business, Computer and Information Technology
7-12 Citizenship Education
7-12 Communication
7-12 Cooperative Education
7-12 English
K-12 Environmental Education
K-12  Family and Consumer Science
K-12 Foreign/World Language (See Certification Subject Area code list above for all languges offered)

Grades Pre-Kindergarten (PK) - 4

Grades 4 - 8 



Health Education

Health and Physical Education

K-12 Library Science
K-12 Marketing (Distributive) Education
7-12 Mathematics
K-12 Marketing (Distributive) Education
7-12 Mathematics
K-12 Music Education
K-12 Reading Specialist
7-12 Safety/Driver Education
7-12 Science - Biology
7-12 Science - Chemistry 
7-12 Science - Earth and Space 
7-12 Science - General Science
7-12 Science - Physics
7-12 Social Sciences
7-12 Social Studies
PK-8 Special Education PK-8 (content area certificate required for issuance)
7-12 Special Education 7-12 (content area certificate required for issuance)
N-12 Special Education - Hearing Impaired
N-12   Special Education - Speech/Language Impaired 
N-12 Special Education - Visually Impaired
K-12 Technology Education

Educational Specialist Certificates
The Educational Specialist Certificate is issued to a person whose primary responsibility shall be to render professional service other than classroom teaching.

Grade Level Area/Field
K-12 Specialist-Dental Hygienist
PK-12 Specialist-Elementary & Secondary School Counselor
K-12 Specialist-Home and School Visitor
K-12 Specialist-Instructional Technology
K-12 Specialist-School Nurse
K-12 Specialist-School Psychologist

Program Specialist Certificates 
The Program Specialist certificate is required for an assignment for which no instructional, educational specialist, supervisory or administrative certificate exists.

Grade Level  Area/Field
K-12 Program Specialist-English as a Second Language

Supervisory Certificates
The Supervisory Certificate is issued to a person whose primary responsibility shall be to supervise educational programs and direct the activities of professional and nonprofessional employees in such programs.


Grade Level  Area/Field
K-12 Supervisor-Curriculum and Instruction
K-12 Supervisor-Pupil and Personnel Services
K-12 Supervisor-Single Area
K-12 Supervisor-Special Education
7-12 Supervisor-Vocational Education

Administrative Certificate
The Administrative Certificate is issued to a person whose primary responsibility shall be to direct, operate, supervise and administer the organizational and general education activities of a school.  

Grade Level  Area/Field
K-12 School Admin-School Principal
7-12 School Admin-Vocational Education Director

Letter of Eligibility
The District Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility is issued to a person whose formal preparation and experience qualify the person for appointment and commissioning as: 

Grade Level  Area/Field
K-12 Superintendent

The Intermediate Unit Executive Director's Letter of Eligibility is issued to a person whose formal preparation and experience qualify the person for appointment and commissioning as:

Grade Level  Area/Field
K-12 IU Executive Director

Vocational or Vocational Intern Certificate
The Vocational Instruction or Vocational Intern Certificate is issued to a person whose primary responsibility is vocational instruction within occupational/technical curricula. See link for list of Vocational Areas and Codes (pdf)

An Endorsement is a credential attained through an approved program.  It is a minimum of 12 credits and is available in new and emerging areas where formal certification does not exist.  The Program Endorsement is intended to improve a teacher's skills in dealing with complex classroom settings.  These endorsements are added to existing Level I or Level II Certificates but are not required to perform service in the endorsed areas.

Grade Level  Area/Field
K-12 Autism Spectrum Disorders
K-12  Instructional Coach 
K-12 Mathematics Coach

Other Certificates:

Administrative Provisional
Intern Certificate
Residency Certificate

Private Academic Certificates

In addition to public school certification, there is also private academic school certification.  Either certification is appropriate for nonpublic and private academic schools in the appropriate areas.  Teachers who teach in a private academic school licensed by the Department of Education are required to be Pennsylvania certified through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, School Code Chapter 22, Section 51.34.  Teachers who teach in a nonpublic school (religious school) registered by the Department of Education are not required to be Pennsylvania certified; however, the school can choose to request certification for their teachers.  Additional information can be found under Private Academic Certificates.

Pennsylvania certification identified by the NASDTEC Stages of Licensure

Teacher - person whose primary responsibility is to instruct students or as otherwise defined by the Member Jurisdiction.  

Support Personnel - person, other than a teacher or administrator, who is required to hold an educator license based upon at least a bachelor's degree (i.e., Educational Specialists in Pa. such as School Counselor, School Nurse, etc.).

Stages of Teacher or Support Professional Licensure:


Stage 1 License

Stage 2 License

Stage 3 License

Stage 4 License

Teacher or Support Personnel

Certification or License





Temporary Teaching Permit (TTP)



Instructional I

Educational Specialist I

Program Specialist



Instructional II (master's not required, post-bacc credits accepted)


Specialist II


Administrator - an educator whose primary duties may include the supervision of programs or curriculum; or supervision or management of a local educational agency, a school building, a school program, or a school system.  This includes principal and vocational directors, for example.

Stages of Administrator Licensure:



Stage 1 Administrator License

Stage 2 Administrator License

Stage 3 Administrator License

Administrator Certification or License


Administrative Provisional I


Administrative I

Administrative II

Letter of Eligibility (Superintendent)