The College of Education

Rosenkrans Hall East, Room 123C Interim Dean Terry Barry

The programs in the College of Education are designed to provide meaningful learning opportunities for students aspiring to enter professional careers related to education or media communication and technology. Students are active learners in a variety of professional knowledge and performance-based preparation programs.

The College of Education


  • Early Childhood Education (PreK-4)
  • Special Education PreK-8 with a Dual Certificate in Early Childhood
  • Special Education PreK-8 with a Dual Certificate in Middle Level
  • Rehabilitative Services
  • Teacher Certification in Secondary Education

The conceptual framework of the teacher education program focuses on the decision-making processes of teaching and learning. The model for ESU is Teacher Education Unit Conceptual Framework 2011: Reflective and Deliberate Decision-Makers.

The beginning teacher must demonstrate knowledge and skill outcomes in four broad domains:

  1. Content
  2. The learner and learning environment
  3. The teaching and learning process
  4. Professionalism

The model is supported through the Vision, Mission, and Philosophy as well as Beginning Educator Outcomes, a Knowledge Base and Learning Cycle, Teacher Initiatives and Assessment System.

The undergraduate curricula of the College of Education are designed primarily for students preparing for teaching careers in the early childhood and elementary schools, the middle or junior high school, or the senior high school. The College of Education encompasses the departments of Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Professional and Secondary Education, Reading, and Special Education and Rehabilitation, as well as the Office of Field Experiences and Partnerships. One major purpose of the college is to prepare teachers for positions in early childhood, elementary and secondary schools and people-oriented occupations, such as social and restoration agencies, state and federal government, and private industry. 

The college provides programs that lead to eligibility for certification in a number of degree areas (see degree program list). Graduates receive the degree of bachelor of science or bachelor of arts and are eligible for certification to teach in the schools of Pennsylvania. Students are encouraged to earn certification in several fields to enhance their employment opportunities.

Full national accreditation allows the graduate to be recommended for certification to teach in most other states without further course requirements. Information and advisement on certification is available in the office of the dean of the College of Education. Graduates are eligible to receive an Instructional I certificate (provisional) which is valid for a period of six years of teaching in Pennsylvania. The Instructional I certificate must be made permanent after six years of teaching.

Graduate work is offered leading to the Master of Education in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Education, and Reading. Students interested in graduate programs should refer to the Graduate Catalog. The programs of the College of Education are fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. All standards for program approval by the Pennsylvania Department of Education have been met.

Requirements for Teacher Certification

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has made some recent changes in teacher certification requirements. Anyone applying for teacher certification after August 31, 2013 will be subject to the new program and certification requirements. ALL teacher education students should be in frequent consultation with their academic advisers to make sure they are meeting the appropriate program and certification requirements, which will vary depending on a variety of circumstances.

Selection for the Teaching Profession

The nature and importance of teaching requires that students who seek to enter the profession must possess unimpeachable character, above average academic ability, and dispositions suitable for working with children and young adults. The teacher education faculty perceive their ultimate obligations to be to the students who will be taught by their graduates. Consequently, the student’s admission to teacher candidacy and to student teaching and final institutional recommendations for a teaching certificate are not achieved solely by meeting routine academic requirements. As the student in each of these steps progresses toward final certification, the faculty of the student’s certification area exercise their professional judgment as to the student’s competency for the teaching profession.

Admission into Teacher Education Program

All education majors seeking certification must successfully complete teacher education program admission, monitoring, and exit criteria procedures. For admission into the Teacher Education Program, students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Successfully complete faculty interviews;
  2. Satisfactorily pass the Praxis I Academic Skills Assessments or PECT Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment in reading, writing, and mathematics as determined by program;
  3. Earn a minimum overall undergraduate QPA as identified by Pennsylvania law (2.8 or as determined by the department; transfer students’ grades are included in averaging the QPA);
  4. Complete six credits of mathematics courses and six credits of English (including one composition and one literature) courses (undergraduates only);
  5. Complete 48 hours by the time candidacy admission is decided;
  6. Satisfactorily complete early field experiences;
  7. Complete Act 34, FBI clearance and ACT 151 child abuse clearance;
  8. Any other specific departmental requirements; and
  9. Be recommended by departmental faculty and approved by the Teacher Education Council.

Students are then admitted to candidacy in the teacher education program and are permitted to take majors-only courses. A 3.0 QPA is required for Pennsylvania teacher certification.

The student’s progress and mastery of competencies will be monitored while completing requirements in the program. All students are required to maintain a cumulative and major average as specified by Pennsylvania law and the respective departments, to remain in the program and to take teacher education classes. Only qualified teacher education majors are allowed to take teacher education classes.

Each department will provide each student a copy of its program requirements, course checklist, and expectations. Students must satisfy all program requirements to be recommended for the degree and teacher certification, including a 3.0 QPA.

All applicants for teacher certification must be endorsed by the faculty adviser, the department, and the dean of the College of Education, who serves as the certifying officer for the university.

Experienced non-degree teachers, graduates of other colleges or universities, or others who need special assignments in student teaching will have their individual alternative programs planned and approved by the appropriate department and by the dean of the College of Education. Transfer students’ transcripts will be individually evaluated by the department chair to determine equivalent courses to be accepted.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires that all certification applicants satisfactorily pass the appropriate sections of the ETS Praxis or Pennsylvania Educators Certification Tests. Students must also complete the teacher certification application and respond to immigration, criminal record, child abuse, and health statements. The state of Pennsylvania has new certification requirements which will impact program requirements for students completing their programs after August 31, 2013.

Pre-Student Teaching Field Experiences

The importance of providing opportunities for education students to observe and work directly with children in schools before student teaching is recognized. To make this possible, the director of the Office of Field Experiences and Partnerships works with departments to secure quality sites for students to engage in field experiences. Field experiences are required in association with most education courses. Prior to being placed in their first field experience, students must submit a negative test for tuberculosis form and clearances for Act 34, FBI and Act 151.

Requirements for Approval to Student Teach

The Office of Field Experiences and Partnerships coordinates student teaching assignments. Students are required to submit an application to student teach to the Office of Field Experiences and Partnerships via Tk20.

The student teaching semester is the capstone experience of the teacher preparation program. During this semester, beginning educators have the opportunity to practice and demonstrate theory in practice, reflective and deliberate decision making, and pedagogical skill as reflected in the Beginning Educator Outcomes as each student teacher forms a unique, professional teacher identity.

In order to ensure that we meet our commitment to our public school partners, as well as maintain our NCATE accreditation, it is essential that all students demonstrate professional dispositions.

All students who wish to apply for a student teaching placement must satisfactorily complete ALL requirements listed below as related to their specific major. Failure to meet these requirements in a timely manner will prohibit student teaching eligibility.

  1. Fall student teaching candidates must satisfy all TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM ADMISSION CRITERIA no later than May 15. Spring student teaching candidates must satisfy all TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM ADMISSION CRITERIA no later than August 15.
  2. Have met all requirements for teacher candidacy admission as required by the major department in education.
  3. Possess health, personal characteristics, and professional dispositions considered essential for successful teaching.
  4. Must meet specific departmental requirements for credit totals.
  5. Have successfully completed prerequisite courses in education and have NO incomplete grades.
  6. Must have earned a “C” or better in all major classes (as specified by the department).
  7. Have a minimum cumulative quality point average of 2.8 or the minimum QPA established by the specific department.
  8. Have the minimum QPA for the major as established by the major department.
  9. Provide evidence of a current negative test for tuberculosis (within the last three months prior to the start of student teaching).
  10. For K-12 programs, students must have passing scores for the Praxis II test (Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge #30511) submitted to the major department office no later than Nov. 30 for spring student teaching candidates, and July 31 for fall student teaching candidates. (Some departments may follow require earlier deadlines — see specifications of major department).
  11. Have current ACT 34, ACT 151, and Act 114 (FBI) clearances. (Current clearances are needed for the entire semester of student teaching.)
  12. Must enroll in the department’s required courses for student teaching during the registration period.
  13. Must have current Student PSEA Liability Insurance and insurance for any other organization as determined by the major department.

*In order to obtain Pennsylvania certification, candidates must pass the Praxis II or Pearson Specialty Area Tests that are required for the specific area of certification.

Pennsylvania law, Chapter 354 requires a 3.0 cumulative quality point average to be eligible for Pennsylvania certification.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is the culminating experience in a series of planned laboratory and field experiences. Student teachers spend a full semester off campus in a regular classroom under the guidance and direction of a fully certified, master teacher.

The university provides each student with the additional support of a university faculty member with a background in supervision and instruction. Student teaching is planned to provide an opportunity for continued professional growth in the application of theory, methods, and subject content. Students are placed in school districts with which the university has an executed affiliation agreement or articulation contract.

To date, the university has identified more than 90 school districts, within a radius of 50 miles from campus. All student teaching arrangements are made through the Office of Field Experiences and Partnerships. It is inappropriate for students to make their own student teaching arrangements.

Student teachers are expected to comply with the following list of requirements:

  1. Establishing personal transportation to and from the assigned school district.
  2. Adhere to school district policies, procedures, ethics codes, schedules, and dress codes.
  3. Purchase Student P.S.E.A. Liability Insurance.
  4. Continue to hold current required clearances. An unacceptable clearance will result in the student being removed from student teaching.
  5. Make arrangements for housing.

Teacher Education Council

The Teacher Education Council provides the governance of the teacher certification programs. The council administers existing policies related to teacher education, admits students to teacher education programs and hears appeals from students, develops and proposes new policies in teacher education, and reviews certification programs and their modifications as proposed by departments and faculties to insure compliance with the standards of state and national accrediting agencies. These policies are found in the Teacher Education Program Policy Manual and minutes of council meetings.

Student Professional Program

Designed as an alternative route to teacher certification, this program offers the senior Elementary Education or Early Childhood major (dual major students may participate after consultation with the program coordinator) a full year of guided field experience in elementary and/or middle schools which are exploring new methods of teaching. Admission to the program is limited and requires the approval of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Department chair and the program coordinator. Interested students are advised to make inquiry no later than the beginning of their sophomore year.

Areas of Teacher Certification


  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Early Childhood PreK-4
  • Earth and Space Science
  • English
  • French
  • General Science
  • Health
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Level (4-8)
  • Physics
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Speech and Language Impaired
  • Special Education PreK-8 with Dual Certificate in Early Childhood
  • Special Education PreK-8 with a Dual Certificate Middle Level

Educational Specialist

(graduate level only)

  • Instructional Technology
  • Reading Specialist

School Administration or Supervision

(graduate level only)

  • Principal K-12
  • Special Education Supervisor

Students must satisfy all teacher education program, departmental requirements, and revised PDE standards before they will be recommended for the degree and teacher certification. For public disclosure information on teacher education program completers, please see the ESU Title II website at giving passing rates and other summary data.