Certification and Tenure Information
Q. What is Level II certification and why do I need it?
A. Pennsylvania currently has two levels of certification. The initial certificate, Level I, is valid for a specific number of service years, during which time you must complete established requirements. Upon completion of those requirements, the Level I may be converted to a Level II certificate. If not converted, the Level I lapses. You cannot be employed in a Pennsylvania public school with a lapsed certificate. For additional information, please visit PDE’s website at http://www.education.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx#tab-1
Q. How many years is the Level I certificate valid?
A. The Level I certificate is valid for six (6) years of teaching. You must be working at least 50% in your certification area for the time to count against your certificate. Time worked in a private school does not count.
Q. What is the process to apply for Level II certification?
A. After completing at least three years of teaching, earning 24 credits past your bachelor’s degree and completing a state approved Induction program, individuals must submit an online application through TIMS on the PDE website: TIMS. The following link will take you to the User Guides for applicants: http://www.education.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/TIMS/20476/p age/1039597
- The User Guides include instructions and screen shots. Start with User Guide 1.1 Logging in to TIMS to set up your user name and password.
- After you complete your application print the cover sheet and submit it to PDE with your official transcripts for the 24 credits.
As part of the online process, you will be able to pay the $125 fee using a credit card, or select that you will send in a money order payable to the Commonwealth of PA.
NOTE: It is your responsibility to send a copy of your Level II certificate to Human Resources.
Q. Are all credits acceptable to Level II certification?
A. No. The following credits do not apply toward permanent certification: community college credits, continuing education units (CEU’s), professional school credits (law school, seminary, theology, dental or medical school) unless relevant to your area of certification.
Q. Are Act 48 credits acceptable for Level II certification?
A. If the credits you earn are from a four year accredited college or a state approved intermediate unit, they may be acceptable for Level II certification and for Act 48 credit. For Act 48 credit, you may also use 180 continuing education hours. These hours are not acceptable for Level II certification.
Q. What is required for Act 48?
A. All educators must maintain their certificates as active by earning every five (5) calendar years: six (6) collegiate credits or six (6) PDE-approved inservice credits or 180 continuing education hours or any combination of the above.
- A temporary professional employee, whose work has been certified as satisfactory during the last four months of the third year of service, shall be recognized as having tenure.
- Three full calendar years of service are required to attain tenure.
- The three years of service must be within the same PA school district.
- Leave time and long-term substitute time do not count towards tenure.
- Level II certification is not required to acquire tenure.
- Please see “Certification” for more information on Level II certification.