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
To assess the difficulty and content of these Praxis II exams,
check out the
Tests at a Glance and Study Guides on the Praxis Website
Consider the following:
to the Add-on Certificate Eligibility: Grades PreK- 4, Middle Level (4-8), 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 areas.
Foreign 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.
Secondary 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.
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 sumbitted 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. PDE is no longer accepting paper applications.
For more information, visit the
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.
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 Langauges 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. Sincethe TESOL/TEFL organizations cannot officially recommend
specific certificate programs, they have compiled a list of tips for
evaulating independent certificate programs.
Tips for Evaluating Independent Certificate Programs