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All Greater Philadelphia corps members and alumni teachers must meet state requirements to teach in Pennsylvania schools.

Becoming Certified to Teach

The majority of corps members will teach on an “intern certificate.” These certificates are awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to teachers who have passed all of their required certifications exams and are enrolled in a state-approved alternate route to certification program.

Our certification partners are currently the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and the Relay Graduate School of Education. All corps members are responsible to be on a certification path to be enrolled as a corps member at Teach For America and be working towards full licensure.

See below for answers to common questions about becoming certified to teach in Greater Philadelphia. 

I got my certification in another state. How do I transfer it to PA?

It’s easiest to transfer certification if you have earned your license and taught for two years after earning it. Pennsylvania accepts most out of state teacher certificates under the Interstate Reciprocity Agreement. If this is your scenario, you will need the following:

  • Official transcripts in college-sealed, unopened envelopes showing bachelor's degree conferral from an accredited United States college or university

  • The Pennsylvania Certification you are seeking

  • A copy of your current and valid state certificate comparable to the PA certificate you are seeking, including official state URL for verification of status

  • Any unique educator identification number or other identifier needed to verify your credential

  • Provide proof of two (2) years of classroom teaching experience (PDE 338V Form). You can find this form here. Submit one form for each non-PA public PK-12 employer.

  • Required content area test score(s) reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Education directly by the test administrator: ETS, ACTFL, or ES Pearson

  • Complete and submit the application into the online certification management system, TIMS, for a comparable Pennsylvania certificate ($100 fee; electronic payment accepted)

More info here.

Where do corps members complete certification work?

Certification can be completed through the following university partners:

  • University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

  • Relay Graduate School of Education

What is the cost of registering for PA certification exams?

Approximately $120 to $275, depending on grade and content assignment. Depending on the number of attempts it takes to pass each exam, costs may add up.

What is the cost of obtaining certification?

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

  • $11,788 over one year for Instructional Certification

  • $16,840 over two years for Special Education Certification

$59,336 over two years for Instructional Cert + Master's and Special Ed + Instructional Cert and Master's. All students who apply to the Master's program will be considered for additional merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid.

The Relay Graduate School of Education

  • $11,500 over one year. (Expected out-of-pocket cost after Segal Education Award is $5,005. Every corps member is eligible for this scholarship)

For more information on each program, please view this comparison chart.

If I receive an AmeriCorps award, can I apply it to certification costs?

Yes! Eligible corps members in good standing can receive education awards that are dispersed at the end of each year of service with Teach For America.

For more information about your eligibility and the benefits of being a part of AmeriCorps, please click here.

Are there any other tests that I need to take?

In order to become certified to teach in Pennsylvania, all teachers must take one or more tests from either the Praxis series of assessments administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS) or the Pennsylvania Educator Certification Tests (PECT) administered by Pearson Learning. This is a requirement for enrolling in certification coursework with our university partners and for teaching in all of our partner schools. In addition, passing your exams earlier increases your chance of securing a specific teaching position in the spring or early summer, as opposed to having to wait until August or later to obtain a job.

Please be aware that those who do not pass these tests might be unable to teach in Greater Philadelphia and may need to request a deferral to join the following years’ corps. For this reason, we strongly urge you to take your exams as early as possible and to begin preparing now. Over 40 percent of Greater Philadelphia our corps members failed at least one test in years past. Even for those corps members who ultimately passed, failing once meant additional out-of-pocket testing expenditures and in many cases, having to wait to secure a job. While we will recommend resources for you to use in order to prepare for your test(s) and to assist you in the registration process, it is ultimately your responsibility to take and pass all of your exams. Each of our certification partners has final deadlines for test passage.

What is the cost of obtaining my PA intern certification?

The PA Intern Certificate costs $200.

Where can I find more info?

If you are interested in joining Teach For America, please go here for instructions on how to apply.

If you have general questions, you can schedule a time to connect with us by signing up here

If you are an alumni new to Philadelphia and have questions about transitioning, please email Claiborne Taylor at

Graduate School

Where can I receive my master's degree?

Teach For America Greater Philadelphia works with two partner universities: Relay Graduate School of Education and the University of Pennsylvania.

What is the cost of obtaining a master's degree at the above partner universities?

The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

  • $53,940 over two years for general education and Special Education.

The Relay Graduate School of Education

  • $17,500 over two years. Expected out-of-pocket cost after Relay scholarship is $16,000. (Every corps member is eligible for this scholarship).

Please note that if you decide to pursue a master’s degree, certification costs are included in the above prices.

Teach For America Training

Teach For America Induction

Induction is a three-day experience designed and led by Philadelphia’s Teach For America staff, with support from current corps members, alumni, and various community partners.

During this time, you will get to know the Philly Regional Team who will be supporting you during your two-year corps commitment. You will also meet and begin building relationships with the other Philly corps members.


By the end of Induction, our goal is that you understand that in order to be Radical Educators you must: 

  1. Actively drive your own growth and professional development

  2. Consistently interrogate your own assumptions and biases regarding, race, power, and privilege

  3. Have a deeper understanding of Philly, its bright spots, its challenges, and its potential

  4. Lay a foundation for Philly Pham culture and your role in creating and sustaining it