Bachelor of Elementary Education in Elementary Education

School of Behavioral Sciences and Education

The Elementary Education program at Penn State Harrisburg embodies the four tenets of our conceptual framework: constructivism, authenticity, reflectivity, and standards-based curriculum. Constructivism entails a student-centered approach in which teachers help learners build their own understandings. Authenticity refers to developing professional and pedagogical skills in authentic classroom settings; for example, in the junior and senior years prior to student teaching, the program offers extensive field experiences in a variety of settings enrolling students with diverse backgrounds and needs. Reflectivity relates to consciously analyzing course content and one's own learning for the purpose of deeper understanding and self-improvement. Standards-based curriculum means that our candidates are steeped in Pennsylvania Academic Standards as well as the standards of relevant professional organizations. Taken together, these tenets enable our candidates to become lifelong reflective professionals committed to the learning of all students.

Prior to the full-time student teaching experience in the senior year, candidates are expected to complete all other courses required for certification, including two field placements. On-campus courses are scheduled three or four days a week, while field experiences in nearby schools are scheduled part-time, three or four days per week.

For a B. ELED. degree in Elementary Education, a minimum of 124 credits is required.

For a B. ELED. degree in Elementary Education with Early Childhood Education Certification, a minimum of 133 credits is required.

Entry to Major Requirements

Entry to the Elementary Education major requires the completion of 57 or more credits in required courses and the state's minimum cumulative GPA criteria of 3.0. Candidates must complete, with a grade of "C" or better, six (6) credits of college-level mathematics (MATH prefix), three (3) credits of college-level English literature and three (3) credits of college-level English composition.

Candidates must provide evidence of taking the PAPA (Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment) and submit their scores for the three modules in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. Candidates thinking seriously about education should plan their freshman and sophomore years carefully. Semesters 5 through 8 are very structured.

Special Admissions Information

Applicants should have completed most of their first two years of college as well as the Entry to Major Requirements listed above with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA (4.0 scale). The evaluation of prior college work is done on an individual basis by the Office of Enrollment Services at Penn State Harrisburg.

July 15th is the deadline for an applicant to have all clearances into the admissions office. We will consider an application without these clearances incomplete. Additionally, students applying after July 15 must provide clearance form receipts showing submission of the forms prior to July 15.

These clearances include the following:

  1. FBI Clearance Fingerprint check
  2. Act 151 PA Child abuse history clearance
  3. Act 34 Request for criminal record check

For more details, please see the clearance information page.

Career Opportunities

Elementary teachers introduce children to learning through the basics of numbers, language, science, and social studies. They design classroom presentations to meet the needs and abilities of their students. They also work with children independently. They provide instruction, conduct assessments, listen to presentations, and maintain discipline. They individually meet with parents and faculty and serve on faculty and community committees. Elementary teachers also become supervisors, administrators, and mentors to new teachers.


The Penn State Harrisburg PreK-4 and 4-8 middle level teacher certification programs are designed to provide students with the experiences necessary to become certified teachers of grades PreK-4 or 4-8. Graduates can work in public, private, or parochial school systems. Students may complete the PreK-4 program to be certified elementary teachers for grades K through 4 or can complete the middle level 4-8 program to teach grades 4-8. Following graduation, students must be certified to teach by meeting any test and clearance requirements of a particular state.

Field Experience

The Elementary Education program offers extensive field experiences during the junior year prior to student teaching. An objective of the program is the development of reflective practice and independence. During the junior year, students will be expected to complete all other courses required for certification, including a twelve-week, part-time field placement in a local school district. This is followed by a ten-week, part-time field experience in the first semester of the senior year and a twelve- week, full-time student teaching experience in the final semester.

Accreditation and Licensure

This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), whose "performance-based system of accreditation fosters competent classroom teachers and other educators who work to improve the education of all P-12 students. NCATE believes every student deserves a caring, competent, and highly qualified teacher."

Penn State Harrisburg had an overall passing rate of 94% for all Praxis tests as compared to a statewide passing rate of 93%. (2011-12 Praxis Exam Pass Rates)

Clubs and Organizations

Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Alpha Chapter

The Sigma Alpha Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi was installed on May 1, 1990, as an official student organization at Penn State Harrisburg. A student who has been formally admitted into a teacher education program at Penn State Harrisburg may become a member by fulfilling the requirements, completing an application, and paying the membership fee of $35. The requirements for membership are a 3.25 grade-point average at Penn State Harrisburg, attendance at two meetings, participation in a fundraising event, and two hours of community service. Kappa Delta Pi is an internationally recognized educational honor society. In addition to the recognition members receive for being part of the honor society, they receive the following publications: The Educational Forum, The Kappa Delta Pi Record, The Scroll & Stylus, and The Classroom Practice Series.

Student Chapter of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

A student chapter of the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) was registered as an official student organization at Penn State Harrisburg on March 10, 2005. Any individuals interested in education may become a member by fulfilling the requirements and joining ASCD at a student rate of $25. The requirements for membership are a 2.8 grade-point average and attendance at two meetings per academic year OR one meeting and one ASCD or PASCD (southern region or state) conference per academic year. ASCD is an international, nonprofit, nonpartisan education association. Member benefits include discounted rates to conferences, subscription to the Educational Leadership journal, Education Update newsletter, Curriculum Update newsletter, online resources, and other ongoing professional development opportunities.

Teacher Education Forms and Handbooks

A repository of forms and handbooks related to clearances, state certification testing, and other essential program documents

This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.