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It is now easier than ever to transition to a career teaching social studies in Pennsylvania! The Pennsylvania Department of Education has approved American Board to begin certifying social studies teachers for grades 7-12. In Pennsylvania, American Board operates in partnership with Point Park University, so the approval from PDE applies to both organizations

What sparked this change? Like most states, Pennsylvania is experiencing a teacher shortage. In fact, a recent study found teachers on emergency permits filled more positions than newly certified teachers, for the first time in state history. Additionally, “the study found staffing challenges in Pennsylvania appear, in large part, due to a sharp decline in people graduating with a teaching degree.” The drop in college students pursuing a teaching degree makes alternative routes to teacher certification more necessary than ever.

What is Alternative Certification

Alternative teacher certification is the practice of earning certification outside of the traditional university path. Most of our nation’s teachers have earned their certification by attending a university and completing an education degree program. Alternative certification allows people who hold a degree in a subject other than education to pursue a teaching job without obtaining a second degree.

Alternative certification is a faster and more affordable route to certification when compared to pursuing certification through an additional degree. For example, American Board’s online alternative certification program costs less than $2,000 and can be completed in a matter of weeks.

Is alternative certification right for you? Click here to find out.

Learn about American Board’s program in Pennsylvania by clicking here.

How to teach social studies in Pennsylvania

Now that Pennsylvania has streamlined the steps to social studies certification, American Board is able to offer its complete catalog of certification options in the state. Because American Board provides the fastest and most affordable route to certification, we’ve highlighted our program steps below.

To earn your Pennsylvania teacher certification online, simply complete the following steps:

  1. Enroll in American Board’s online program and pass the required exams. 
  2. Enroll with Point Park University and register for two online graduate classes.
  3. Then, complete a 60-day teaching placement in your certification area.
  4. Receive your teaching permit and obtain a full-time teaching position in a Pennsylvania school.
  5. Finally, complete your two graduate classes and convert your teaching permit into a Pennsylvania Teaching License.

In 2020, Pennsylvania allowed American Board and Point Park University to begin offering Elementary Education certification in the state, and Special Education was added in 2021. You can read about those changes here and here.

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