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Music Education Certification in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, teachers need to be certified to work in public and private schools. In this article, we'll look at some of the certification requirements for music teachers.

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You can become certified to teach all grades, Pre-K through 12, once you have been certified as a music teacher in Pennsylvania. Below, we'll look at the steps that the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) requires for teachers.

Requirements for Music Teachers in Pennsylvania

Average Salary for Teachers in Pennsylvania (2017)* $28,650 (Preschool)
$65,370 (Elementary School)
$65,270 (Middle School)
$66,020 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Required Field Music Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Music: Content Knowledge (5113)
PECT Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education

During your schooling, you'll need to study music education and earn a bachelor's degree to meet Pennsylvania's requirements for becoming a music teacher. You'll need to find a PDE-approved program if you want to be sure your educator preparation program is included in your music education program. These elements will address specific skills, theories, and knowledge that are required of Pennsylvania teachers. You'll also complete a student teaching internship in the classroom under a mentor so that you can get experience with real students. Depending on the college you select, your courses will vary. However, you can expect some similar courses, such as:

  • Woodwind techniques
  • Music history
  • Music learning/development
  • Music theory
  • Conducting
  • Instructional practices
  • Care of singing voices
  • Voice
  • Ensemble

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Step 2: Complete Required Exams

In Pennsylvania, the first exam that teachers must pass is the PECT Pre-service Academic Performance Assessment (PAPA). With three subtests on math, reading, and writing, you'll be tested on the basic knowledge that you've attained through high school and college. The subtests can be taken together as one or individually. Taking them all at once will save you a bit of money on testing fees. All three exams contain 36 multiple-choice questions, but the writing exam also includes an essay response and two sentences that you'll need to adjust grammatically. Each subtest is scored individually, and Pennsylvania requires you to score at least 220 on each of the writing and reading sections, while a score of 193 on the math test is required.

The second exam you'll take is for certification in your area. In this case, you'll take the Praxis Music: Content Knowledge exam. There are four content categories that are tested in this exam: music history and literature; theory and composition; performance; and pedagogy, professional issues and technology. You'll have two hours to take this exam, which will be broken down into two parts. One has a listening component with 30 questions about the music. The other 85 minutes will be given to complete the 90 multiple-choice questions that remain. Pennsylvania requires you to receive a score of 158 or higher to pass this exam.

Step 3: Pass Background Checks

Many states, including Pennsylvania, require teachers to be fingerprinted and submit to a background check. For $22.60, you can have your fingerprints taken at one of the state's MorphoTrust locations. Since locations are constantly in flux, you'll need to preregister online and make an appointment. Walk-ins are okay, but not encouraged. You'll have all ten fingers digitally scanned. This allows the fingerprints to run faster and your background checks to be completed more quickly. There are three background checks that will be conducted, one by the FBI, one by the Department of Human Services (child abuse report), and a criminal one by the state police.

Pennsylvania Music Teacher Certification Resources

Music teachers still need to take the same certification exams that other teachers do. Below are a few testing resources that can help you study for any of your exams.

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