The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) calls for all post-baccalaureate certification programs to offer a streamlined program of study for teacher candidates in order that they may enter the teaching field as expeditiously as possible. Following are the key criteria for admission and the development of such a program of study for post-baccalaureate applicants.
PDE Key Admission Criteria
- Bachelor’s degree attained (verified with submitted transcripts)
- Minimum 3.0 GPA (last 60 credits) – If GPA is below 3.0, prospective candidates can take 9 credits of content courses and earn a B or higher in each to “reset” their GPA to an equivalent of 3.0.
- Submission of clear background checks (FBI, state police, child abuse)
Undergraduate and Graduate (if applicable) Transcripts
The program coordinator reviews transcripts submitted as part of the application for admission for course background and GPA. For the 4-8 and secondary English, mathematics, and social studies programs, candidates must have taken and earned a C or better in specific content area coursework as required for each program. This review helps ensure that potential postbaccalaureate candidates won’t take more courses than necessary while ensuring to a solid foundation of content area knowledge. If it is determined that an applicant needs to take additional content area courses, they may enroll in such courses prior to or after admission into the program, at Penn State Harrisburg or another college or university, including a community
college. Prior education coursework may also satisfy specific education course requirements, pending a syllabus review.
Relevant Life and Professional Experiences
The program coordinator conducts an interview where applicants are asked to describe their life and professional experiences and to convey how those experiences align with their goal of becoming a professional educator. It is also during this interview when further context about prior coursework may be provided. The program coordinator then determines which experiences may satisfy program content area and/or education requirements/competencies and devises a personalize program of study based in part on this determination. All final determinations are documented on the interview form completed by the program coordinator.
Praxis Certification Exam
All prospective post-baccalaureate teacher candidates are required to take and pass the relevant Praxis content area certification exam prior to their second semester in the program, unless extenuating circumstances warrant an extension. Taking and passing this exam ensures that the candidate has the requisite content knowledge required for teaching in their chosen field. Should the candidate not take or pass the exam prior to their second semester, additional content area coursework may be required based on any specific deficiencies identified in their undergraduate transcripts based on Penn State Harrisburg’s undergraduate program course requirements.