How to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania

If you’re researching how to become a teacher in Pennsylvania, you’ll want to consider the big picture beyond the education and licensing requirements.

Reasons to Teach in Pennsylvania

There are many advantages of teaching, especially in Pennsylvania. First, let’s look at the state of Pennsylvania and all it has to offer. The latest census reports:

  • Pennsylvania has a population of 12.7 million people.
  • 26.7 percent of the population has a bachelor degree or higher.
  • 87.9 percent have graduated from high school.
  • The state had 3,269 schools, 129,911 teachers and 1.8 million students as of 2011 for a student-to-teacher ratio of 13.8-to-1, lower than the national average of 15.97-to-1.

Pennsylvania values education and compensates its teachers accordingly. The average elementary teacher salary is $53,960 and the average secondary teacher salary is $56,740. That’s not including a master degree, which provides better pay and incentives. In 2009-10, teachers in Pennsylvania made 5 percent more than the national average.

Teachers also receive medical coverage, including retirement health benefits, dental and optical, life insurance, tax-sheltered annuity plans and pretax commuter vouchers for public transportation.

What You Must Do to Become a Teacher in Pennsylvania

At the minimum, to become a teacher you need a bachelor degree. The state has more than 90 Pennsylvania-based teacher preparation programs, and online degree programs outside of Pennsylvania also are an option. If you already hold a bachelor degree but it is not in education, Pennsylvania has a program for obtaining ABCTE certification.

Those are just a few ways on how to become a teacher in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania also recognizes teacher reciprocity. If you already hold a teaching certificate in one of the states participating in this program, your transition could be very smooth.

One of the best incentives Pennsylvania offers to teachers is loan-forgiveness support if you teach in a high-need area or a subject that has a shortage. Not only will you receive loan forgiveness, you will also receive differential pay.

Tests You Must Pass

Everyone wishing to become a teacher in Pennsylvania must pass three basic exams:

  • The PPST, or Pre-Professional Skills Test.
  • The Praxis II subject area exam.
  • The Praxis II content knowledge exam.

These are the most important parts of the teacher certification testing requirements. The Department of Education has detailed information on all teacher requirements and the advantages of becoming a teacher in Pennsylvania. It can be a rewarding career move for the right person.

Facts on Pennsylvania

Unemployment in Pennsylvania is steady in relation to the national average. Geographic diversity and proximity to so many others states makes Pennsylvania a desirable place for teachers to work. Traveling and sightseeing could be fun as Pennsylvania borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York State to the north and New Jersey to the east. You’ll be able to hop a train and have quick getaways on those teacher days off.