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Intern Certification

The Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program has been in existence since 1969.  In 1983, the program was given greater emphasis as a way of recruiting additional individuals into the teaching profession. The program previously had been restricted to graduate programs, but after 1983, it was made available at the postbaccalaureate level also.

List of Approved Teacher Intern Certification Programs (PDF).  Contact the program provider directly for further information.

What is the Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program?

The Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program is specifically designed for individuals who possess a minimum of a baccalaureate degree. Currently, the program is offered in 37 approved colleges and universities in Pennsylvania.

What are the entrance and exit criteria for the Intern Program?

  1. To enroll in a Teacher Intern Program, a candidate must possess a minimum of a baccalaureate degree related to the area of certification requested. For example, an individual with a B.S. degree in Chemistry may seek chemistry certification.

  2. Academic year 2003-2004, candidates entering must have a minumum of a 3.0 GPA in their baccalaureate degree. They must also have 6 credits of college level Mathematics and 6 credits of college level English Literature and Composition. Candidates who have taken and passed the PPST I Series--Reading, Writing, and Math, may enter with a 2.80 GPA. Candidates must exit the Intern Program with at least the same GPA required for entrance.

  3. The candidate must apply to and complete an approved institution of higher education's (IHE) preadmission screening and be accepted into the program.(An offer of a teaching position is not a requirement for admission into a Teacher Intern Program nor does it guarantee admission into a specific Teacher Intern Program.)

  4. The candidate must achieve satisfactory scores on the PAPA Reading, Writing and Mathematics tests (or Praxis I Preprofessional Skills Tests (PPST) in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics if taken prior to 9/1/2012); and the appropriate specialty area test required by the Pennsylvania Teacher Certification Testing Program (PTCTP) before applying for a Teacher Intern certificate. All K-6 and K-12 certification areas must also complete the Praxis Series Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge test.

Upon completion of an Intern Program, the candidate must achieve satisfactory assessments on their Student Teaching conducted by their college or university.

Note: To be official, test scores must be received by PDE, Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality directly from the testing service. If you take the tests in Pennsylvania, the scores of teacher certification tests are reported automatically to the Bureau.

Please refer to Testing Information for links to testing service(s) and testing dates.

  1. The candidate must be continuously enrolled in a Teacher Intern Program. (Continuously enrolled is defined by the institution where the candidate is enrolled.)

  2. When a candidate obtains a teaching position or a firm offer, the institution in which the Intern candidate is enrolled applies to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality for an Intern Certificate. After the Bureau verifies the candidate has received passing scores on the required Praxis Series tests, an Intern certificate is issued. The Intern candidate cannot teach without the Intern certificate.

  3. Upon completion of the approved Intern Program, the institution of higher education can recommend the candidate for an Instructional I certificate. Before issuing an Instructional I certificate, the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality must have a record stating that the candidate has passed the Student Teacher Assessment conducted by their college/university during Student Teaching.

What is an Intern certificate?

The Intern certificate is a valid professional certificate that entitles the holder to fill a full-time professional teaching position. An Intern certificated individual is entitled to all rights and privileges of a temporary professional employee as defined by law. The current regulation states that a Teacher Intern certificate qualifies the holder to hold a full-time teaching position in the certification endorsement area in elementary and secondary schools of Pennsylvania.

The Teacher Intern certificate is issued for a period not to exceed three calendar years and qualifies the holder to perform all the duties, functions and responsibilities of the certification area(s) for which it is endorsed. Its validity begins the month of issuance and lapses 36 months later whether or not the holder has been continuously employed on the Intern certificate by a public school. This certificate can only be issued once, and under no circumstances can this certificate be renewed. The validity of the Teacher Intern certificate, whether issued for general education areas regularly endorsed on instructional certificates or for vocational education areas, is contingent upon (a) the holder rendering satisfactory service to the employing school entity, and (b) maintaining continuous enrollment and making satisfactory progress within an approved teacher intern program leading to issuance of the Instructional I certificate.

The Intern certificate is issued only for instructional areas; it is not applicable for professionals seeking certification as educational specialists, administrators or supervisors.

Can a foreign national be issued an Intern certificate?

An Intern certificate may be awarded to a foreign national if they:

  • meet the criteria as state above,
  • have demonstrated their intent to become a United States citizen,
  • hold a current Immigrant Visa (Green Card), and
  • hold the equivalent of a Baccalaureate degree

May an Intern certificate be issued to an individual by more than one approved Teacher Intern Certification Program?

No. The Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality will issue to the candidate one Intern certificate valid for three calendar years. A candidate can be recommended for a Teacher Intern certificate by only one institution of higher education. If a candidate's Intern certificate lapses before course work is completed or if after issuance of the Intern certificate the candidate discontinues the program and enrolls in another institution's Intern Program, the candidate is not eligible for the issuance of a second Intern certificate.

May a Teacher Intern candidate be employed as a substitute teacher?

Yes. The person must hold the Intern certificate before entering the classroom to teach.

Day-to-day substitution is acceptable, but the candidate should note the following:

Day-to-day substitute work makes it difficult for the preparing institution's faculty to adequately supervise the intern candidate. Teacher Intern programs are required to provide appropriate internship experiences equivalent to or exceeding the required 12 weeks of student teaching in undergraduate programs. For this reason, many IHE Intern programs will recommend the Intern certificate only for a long-term substitute or appointed position.

In summary, the Intern certificate is valid for three calendar years and not renewable. The candidate must have the Intern certificate to enter the classroom as a day-to-day substitute. If the Intern certificate expires before all course work and experiences are completed to obtain an Instructional I certificate, the Intern certificate cannot be renewed.

May an Intern certificate be revoked?

Yes. An Intern certificate may be revoked for the following reasons:

  1. if a candidate receives an unsatisfactory rating by either the school district or institution of higher education;
  2. if a candidate is not continuously enrolled in a teacher intern certificate program; or
  3. if a candidate is dismissed for cause and/or conviction of a crime.

If there is an unsatisfactory rating or a lapse in the enrollment, the preparing higher education institution must notify the Pennsylvania Department of Education through the Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation and request that the certificate be revoked. PDE requires the institution of higher education to obtain the original Intern certificate and return it to the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.

Can an Intern certificate be issued in more than one area of certification?

Yes. If the IHE's Teacher Intern Certification Program coordinator evaluates a candidate's credentials and he/she meets the criteria for more than one area of certification, the coordinator can recommend all the certification areas when submitting an application for the Intern certificate to the Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality. If all the areas are submitted on one application there is one $100 fee. Since the Intern certificate is valid only for three calendar years from the date of the initial issuance, adding areas of certification does not extend the date when the Intern certificate lapses. Each area added after the initial issuance cost $100 and lapses on the date of the initial issuance. A Praxis specialty area test must be taken for each area on the certificate.

Must a Teacher Intern candidate complete an induction program?

Yes. The candidate must complete an induction program either on the Intern certificate or after receiving the Instructional I certificate. The induction programs are designed by all Pennsylvania School Districts to work with first year teachers. The completion of an induction program is a requirement to obtain an Instructional II certificate.

Do the credits obtained in the Intern Certification Program count toward the 24 credits needed to obtain permanent certification?

Yes. In addition to three years of successful teaching on an Instructional I certificate and the completion of an induction program, the State Board of Education regulations require a candidate to acquire 24 postbaccalaureate credits or the completion of a master's degree to receive the Instructional II certificate. Because entrance into the intern program requires a baccalaureate degree, any credits, except community college credits, earned after that baccalaureate degree count toward the 24 credits needed to obtain an Instructional II certificate.

Does teaching on the Intern certificate count toward Instructional II certification?

No. To apply for Instructional II certification, the State Board of Education regulations require three years of successful teaching on an Instructional I certificate. Satisfactory service completed on an Intern certificate is credited toward tenure but not toward the three years of successful teaching required for Instructional II certification.


For additional information, please contact:

Division of Professional Education and Teacher Quality
Pennsylvania Department of Education - School Leadership and Teacher Quality
333 Market Street | Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333
Phone: 717.728.3224

Certification, Application or Technical Questions - Please submit a Remedy Ticket.