Adding a Second Certificate
Currently, the PA Department of Education allows certified teachers to add
certification in a second content area(s) by passing the appropriate
Praxis exam (without completing the college/university curriculum for this
major). This process is referred to as "Instructional Add-ons." We
strongly encourage all students to explore Instructional Add-ons as an
option for increasing your teaching versatility and employment
To assess the difficulty and content of these Praxis II exams, check out
at a Glance and Study Guides on the Praxis Website
Consider the following:
the Add-on Certificate Eligibility: Currently (3/10/15) Reading
Specialist, Cooperative Education, all Special Education areas, and Health
& Physical Education certificates are not obtainable without
completing an approved college program. However, all teachers certified in
these areas, may add on certificates from the remaining eligible
language areas other than French, Spanish, German or Latin MUST take the
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) test for the
language and achieve a minimum of Intermediate High on both the oral and
written ACTFL assessments.
Education: Do you have a second area of interest that you would enjoy
teaching? Consider taking the appropriate Praxis II exam to obtain
certification in another secondary level content area.
Application Sequence: In
order to apply for certification in a second certification area,
you must obtain your primary (or initial) Instructional I teaching
certificate, first. Applications must be submitted to the Bureau of School
Leadership and Teacher Quality through Teacher
Information Management Systems (TIMS).
In TIMS, select "Instructional I" even if you posess an Instructional II
certificate. For more information, visit the PDE
Taking the “Add-on” Praxis: Although
you must obtain the first certificate prior to applying for the Add-on
Certificate, you may take the Praxis exam for the Add-on
Certificate anytime! In fact, you may take the Praxis exams in any
sequence. Only the application process is sequential.
Employers Outside of PA:
Although many states will honor Instructional Add-ons, there are no
guarantees that this will transfer. Just as states can add other
eligibility requirements to "standard" PA Instructional certificates,
state requirements for Instructional Add-on certificates may vary. Each
year more states will NOT accept instructional Add-ons.
Within Pennsylvania, English as a Second Language (ESL) professionals are
K-12 Program Specialists. To qualify for an ESL Program Specialist
certificate, applicants must hold a PA Instructional I or II certificate
and complete a state-approved ESL training component.
For more information on PA qualifications, visit the PDE website,
Certification and Staffing Policies, Instructional Certification, CSPG
68, Program Specialist.
NOTE: The local Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV offers online certification
in ESL. Here is a helpful
list of Frequently
Asked Questions, prepared by
the intermediate unit.
Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and Teaching English as a
Foreign Language are certification areas that are becoming more and more
popular. Certification in these areas is offered through independent
programs. Since the TESOL/TEFL organizations cannot officially recommend
specific certificate programs, they have compiled a list of tips for
evaluating independent certificate programs.
Tips for Evaluating Independent Certificate Programs