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How to Become a Spanish Teacher in Pennsylvania

Spanish teachers educate learners at numerous grade levels and are required to complete specific education and testing steps to qualify for teacher certification in Pennsylvania.

Globalization has meant that more and more people now have the ability to travel overseas and experience different cultures firsthand. As a result, language learning has never been more important, as is the need for language teachers. In Pennsylvania, aspiring Spanish teachers must follow a number of required education, training and testing steps which upon completion qualify candidates for Spanish teacher certification.

Pennsylvania Spanish Teacher Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Pennsylvania (2017)* $65,370 (Elementary), $65,270 (Middle), $66,020 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Spanish Education
Testing Requirements Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA), Praxis Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge (5511), Praxis Spanish: World Language (5195)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Enter a Degree Program

All Spanish teachers in Pennsylvania must earn a bachelor's degree in Spanish education from an accredited university or college. These programs incorporate both a teacher preparation program with courses like pedagogy, instructional design and student development, and Spanish courses such as Hispanic culture, linguistics and Spanish language classes. The program will also include a practicum to give candidates appropriate classroom experience. Some programs require students to study abroad as well.

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Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

All teacher candidates in Pennsylvania must pass a basic skills test during their degree program, typically prior to beginning the teacher-prep classes, unless their SAT or ACT scores qualify them for an exemption.

The basic skills testing requirement is usually satisfied by candidates passing the Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA) which is structured in the following way:

  • Reading: 36 selected-response items (pass score - 220)
  • Mathematics: 36 selected-response items (pass score - 193)
  • Writing: 36 selected-response items, 2 sentence-correction assignments, and 1 extended-response assignment (pass score - 220)

Candidates may take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests as an alternative to the PAPA. These tests take the following form:

  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (code: 5712, pass score - 156)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (code: 5722, pass score - 162)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (code: 5732, pass score - 142)

Other required tests for aspiring Spanish teachers are the Praxis Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge test (code: 5511, pass score - 150), which is required for all preschool to grade 12 certifications, and the Praxis Spanish: World Language (code: 5195, pass score - 168) subject area test.

Step 3: Pass Three Background Checks

Before the student-teaching portion of their degree program, aspiring Spanish teachers will have to undergo the following three background checks:

  • A child abuse check through the Department of Human Services
  • A criminal records check through the state police
  • A federal criminal records check

Step 4: Apply for Level I Spanish Teacher Certification

When candidates have earned their bachelor's degree and passed the necessary tests, they can apply for a level I teaching certificate, which is valid for six years of service. They should submit their applications electronically using the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). Official college/university transcripts should be submitted with the application, as well as the $200 fee (in-state) for a certificate. When a candidate's application has been deemed successful, he or she can download and print out the certificate from TIMS.

Pennsylvania Spanish Teacher Certification Resources

Spanish teacher candidates may click on the links below to access study materials for Pennsylvania certification exams:


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