PDE Search

NCLB’s Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements

All public school teachers with primary responsibility for direct instruction in one or more of NCLB’s core content areas are required to demonstrate that they satisfy the definition of a "Highly Qualified Teacher." This requirement includes:

  • Elementary level (grades K-6) teachers who teach all subjects to a particular grade;
  • Middle- and secondary-level (grades 7-12) core content area instructors;
  • Special education teachers who provide direct instruction in one or more core content areas; English as a second language (ESL) teachers who provide direct instruction in one or more core content areas; and
  • Alternative education teachers who provide direct instruction in one or more core content areas.

Pennsylvania’s Definition of Highly Qualified Teacher

To satisfy the definition of a Highly Qualified Teacher, teachers must:

  1. Hold at least a bachelor’s degree;
  2. Hold a valid Pennsylvania teaching certificate (i.e., Instructional I, Instructional II or Intern certificate but not an emergency permit); and
  3. Demonstrate subject matter competency for the core content area they teach.

In Pennsylvania, the NCLB core content areas include English, Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, Sciences, Foreign Languages, Music and Art, and Social Studies (history, economics, geography, and civics and government).

For additional information, please review the following documents.

Pennsylvania is committed to the goals advanced by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and continues to demonstrate its good faith implementation of NCLB's specific requirements.  Moreover, Pennsylvania recognizes that teacher quality has a major impact on student achievement and remains committed to the goal of ensuring that every child in Pennsylvania be taught by a high quality teacher who is equipped to teach in a way that enables every student to experience academic success.  With those goals in mind, in September 2006 the Department of Education (PDE) submitted to the US Department of Education (USDE) a revised HQT plan that provides specific information on the steps Pennsylvania is taking to reach the NCLB "highly qualified teacher" (HQT) goal in the 2006-2007 school year and beyond.  The plan addresses each of the USDE requirements.

Pennsylvania's September 2006 Approved Plan to Reach the No Child Left Behind Act Highly Qualified Teacher Goal in 2006-2007 and Beyond (PDF)

Highly Qualified Teacher Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions - Highly Qualified Teachers

Charter School--Highly Qualified Teacher Requirements (PDF)

HOUSSE (100 pt) HQT Designation Program (PDF)

HQT Individualized Professional Development Plan (IPDP) (PDF)


For additional information, please contact:

Jamal Wakeem | Higher Education Associate II
Pennsylvania Department of Education - School Leadership and Teacher Quality
333 Market Street, 3rd Fl | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.787.3356
jwakeem@pa.gov | www.education.state.pa.us