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Pennsylvania Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

Teaching art in today’s Pennsylvania schools can be exciting and challenging. Budgets have increasingly gotten tighter while demands on art teachers across the state to perform at a higher standard have grown with each passing year.

Despite these hurdles you will be preparing yourself to take on a career that will be rewarding as you watch the development of your students and help shape the futures of our next generation. Take these steps below to get started on a new career as an art teacher in Pennsylvania.

Participate in a Degree Program
Pass the Competency Exams
Send in For Your Certification
Renew Your Certification

 


 

Step 1. Participate in a Degree Program

When you are ready to enroll in your educational program, keep in mind the state educational requisites that will lead to your certification. In Pennsylvania you will need to meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Earn at least a Bachelor’s Degree. A bachelor’s degree is awarded to you either before you are admitted into a teacher preparation program or as part of the program.
  • Complete a supervised teaching experience that will include both observational work as well as instructional work.
  • Have a 3.0 GPA noted on your transcript for your Bachelor’s degree (or master’s degree if you choose that option).

Your art instructional program will have courses that prepare you to have a broad education, develop your skills and knowledge in art, and give you the tools you will need to become an effective teacher. During the first part of your educational plan many of your classes are spent on general education courses. Once you start your junior year, you will then enter into your core classes. By your senior year you will be working on your teacher preparation and then on to your student teaching.

Student teaching is usually broken into two phases. The first phase will allow you sit in a classroom and watch a veteran teacher as they instruct. The next phase of your internship will require you to become the teacher. You will have someone observing and evaluating your performance, making notes and helping you along the way.

Alternate Degree Opportunity

If you have already earned a degree at some point in your life and now wish to teach, you may qualify for the teacher intern program. These programs are offered in over thirty colleges and universities across the state. They will allow you to take the coursework necessary to prepare you to become an effective teacher in the classroom. Once you have successfully completed the program you should be recommended as a candidate for an Instructional I certificate.

 


 

Step 2. Pass the Competency Exams

Most candidates for a teaching certificate must pass the state exams. There are two tests you will be required to take in order to apply for your teaching license.

  • Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA)
  • Art Content Assessment Test

Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA)

The PAPA exam will be taken at a Pearson Education center. The test is meant to assess your knowledge in reading, writing, and math. All teachers in Pennsylvania must show their basic proficiency in these three subject areas. The test is broken into the three sub-areas. You can take each part by itself, or you can take them all together on the same day.

  • The reading test is an 85-minute test made of 56 questions.
  • The math test is made up of 56 selected-response style questions and numeric entry questions. The test is 85 minutes in length. You will be provided with an on-screen calculator for the math test.
  • The writing test is 100 minutes long and is divided into a 40-minute selected-response section and two half- hour essays.

Art Test

Art teachers in Pennsylvania grades K-12 must also take a core assessment test. The art test shows that you are an expert in your field.

  • The art test is two hours long and has 100 questions. The questions are Selected-response questions covering the subjects of art theory, art making, and the foundations of art.

You have the option of registering by phone, mail, or online for your exams. You will need to pay an individual fee for each test you take. If you must take the exam again, there is a retake fee. When you register, you will be issued a paper ticket that you will need to print and bring with you on the day of the exam along with your government issued ID.

 


 

Step 3. Send in For Your Certification

Once you have completed your degree program, finished your teacher’s preparation, and passed your exams, you are ready for the final step; it is time to apply for your state certification. Pennsylvania has two levels of certification. The initial certificate, Level I, is valid for a maximum of six years.

You must complete all the requirements. The level one certificate isn’t renewable. When you complete those requirements, your Level I can be changed to a Level II certificate. If you don’t go through this process your the Level I certificate lapses and you will not be allowed teach in Pennsylvania public schools.

To apply for your Instructional Level I certificate you must use the Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). There is a fee of $125 for your certification.

If you have any questions you can contact:

Pennsylvania Department of Education
Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126
Division of Certification Services (717) 728-3224.

 


 

Step 4. Renew Certification and Continue Your Education

When you are ready to recertify and receive your Level II certificate, you will need to have completed 180 hours of professional development in courses that are related to your art. You will also have to align your courses with any plan that has been designed by your employing school.

You can meet the 180-hour requirement by completing six college units, six units of continuing professional education courses, 180-hours of some type of professional development classes, or other programs, or types of activities and learning experiences that add up to 180 hours. One unit or credit is the same as 30 hours of continuing professional education. It is important to keep in mind that you need to take specific courses. Check with your school to be sure that the units will qualify for credit.

There are some activities that qualify for professional development and some that don’t. Typically the ones that don’t are those that further your own career. The activities that are acceptable are those that will benefit the student and the classroom. Here are a few examples:

Examples of Professional Development Activities:

  • Creating sustained literacy programs in content area.
  • Building your knowledge of art as well as in other areas.
  • Development of curriculum that is aligned with Pennsylvania standards
  • Data analysis training.
  • Anything that advances high-quality classroom instruction.
  • Designing and creating shared lessons.
  • Developing personalized student-learning experiences.

 




 


Pennsylvania Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Pennsylvania (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $41,901, somewhat higher than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 56,250 60,000
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 23,450 58,950
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 480 61,150

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 4,880 62,090
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,130 61,350
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School ** 69,550
 

 

Erie, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,140 56,180
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,410 55,230
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education ** 50,040
 

 

Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 2,870 57,440
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,000 59,950
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School ** 58,390
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,810 57,810
 

 

Johnstown, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 590 47,350
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 370 57,630
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 500 57,130
 

 

Lancaster, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,450 58,200
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 820 57,460
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 40 64,570
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,740 59,890
 

 

Lebanon, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 540 60,670
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 230 64,740
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 570 59,070
 

 

Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 16,490 63,320
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 6,630 60,940
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 130 62,320
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 18,570 65,710
 

 

Pittsburgh, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 10,820 58,020
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 5,020 58,440
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School 60 51,620
 

 

Reading, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,610 59,330
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,040 64,110
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,470 62,860
 

 

Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 2,390 58,780
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 800 56,600
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,710 59,400
 

 

State College, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 430 55,880
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 120 61,770
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 360 55,360
 

 

Williamsport, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 660 62,630
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 430 60,430
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 100 62,370
 

 

York-Hanover, PA
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 1,900 65,420
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 600 65,820
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,640 66,780

Salary schedules vary by school district and are developed after negotiations with the union. A database of public school salaries is available here. The salary schedule for Philadelphia public schools may be found below:

Pay Grade
Bachelor Degree
Master Degree Plus 30
Step 1
$45360
$49615
Step 2
$47278
$52197
Step 3
$51113
$57033
Step 4
$54365
$60453
Step 5
$57450
$63537
Step 6
$60203
$66369
Step 7
$62869
$69207
Step 8
$64045
$72506
Step 9
$65242
$75964
Step 10
$66462
$79586
Step 11
$67705
$83381

Information on postsecondary art, music, and drama teacher salaries in various areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
Erie PA
120
Estimate Not Released
Harrisburg-Carlisle PA
180
67800
Lancaster PA
Estimate Not Released
65190
Philadelphia PA Metropolitan Division
1690
67550
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD
2050
67250
Pittsburgh PA
660
60990
Reading PA
120
61910
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre PA
250
Estimate Not Released
Far Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
210
59470
West Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
40
Estimate Not Released
East Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
140
63330

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