Educator Preparation Programs

College of Education and Social Work

The primary mission of the undergraduate educator preparation programs at West Chester University is the preparation of professionals (hereafter "educator preparation") for the classrooms of Pennsylvania. The University's conceptual framework, Learning and Teaching in Context, guides the preparation of educators who can ensure strong academic achievement for PK-12 students in schools and other educational environments in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The University is committed to excellence in educator preparation by preparing candidates to exhibit knowledge, skill, and professional dispositional outcomes. Further, the University is committed to the preparation of exemplary professionals to assume roles and responsibilities as educators in a multicultural, global society; to pursue lifelong personal and professional development opportunities; to support the continuing improvement of schools; and to embrace opportunities for leadership in the education community.

West Chester University offers the following undergraduate degree and certification programs for those who wish to prepare themselves to be certified teachers.

Formal Admission to Teacher Education (FATE)

All candidates seeking either a degree or certification in teaching must apply for Formal Admission to Teacher Education (FATE), a process required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education that is different from being admitted to the University. This provision applies to those who have already received University admission to pursue majors in educator preparation. Achieving FATE enables educator preparation candidates to enroll in the advanced coursework required to complete degree and certification programs. According to the PDE guidelines for achieving FATE, effective August 1, 2015, candidates who complete 60 or more credits of college-level coursework may register for additional professional education courses as long as those courses are not designated as advanced-level professional education coursework (please contact your program chair or advisor for guidance).

The minimum standards for formal admission to a WCU educator preparation program include the following:

  1. Major in an educator preparation program or enrolled in an elective certification program
  2. 48 semester-hour credits of college-level study
  3. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 on all college-level work
  4. Passing scores, as established by the PDE on one of the following:  (1) Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessments (PAPA) in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; (2) Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics; (3) Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT); American College Test (ACT); or a combination of qualifying scores from the four test vendors. Please review up-to-date testing information, including acceptable scores, or visit the PDE website.
  5. Six semester-hour credits of college-level (100 level or above) mathematics, three semester-hour credits of college-level (100 level or above) English composition, and three semester-hour credits in literature taught in English
  6. Recommendation by the department of the candidate's major. (Department recommendation may be contingent upon completion of additional and/or more rigorous requirements than the minimum described above.) Secondary education majors obtain a recommendation from their content advisor as well as their professional education advisor.

WCU educator preparation candidates who achieve FATE must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8 to retain FATE status. In most cases, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 must be earned to qualify for Pennsylvania certification. Each program has designated, for its own majors, its advanced professional courses. Only those candidates who have been formally admitted to teacher education are eligible to take these courses. The Office of Candidate Services processes all applications for FATE.

Candidates who earn FATE and later fall below the required cumulative GPA are permitted to repeat advanced professional education course work to improve their GPA to the required level (2.8). Such candidates will not, however, be permitted to register for additional advanced professional education course work in their programs until they again achieve the minimum cumulative GPA required for formal admission (2.8).

Early Field Experiences

Designated courses require early field experience to observe and work with PK-12 students in schools and other settings. Candidates must have a current TB test result, Pennsylvania State Criminal History Record, Federal Criminal History Report, and Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse Report before they can enter an early field experience setting. Under no circumstances may candidates complete field experiences without the proper clearances. Please review the WCU policies on clearances as well as the courses that require clearances. Please note that new University policy gives the dean of the College of Education and Social Work the authority to revoke enrollment in early field experience courses of any candidate who fails to provide criminal clearances prior to the start of the fourth day of the semester according to publicized procedures.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is the culminating experience of the educator preparation program. Candidates must complete student teacher applications via Tk20 one year before the semester in which they intend to teach.

To be eligible to complete a student teaching experience, candidates (undergraduates and post-baccalaureates) must have:

  • Completed the prerequisite course requirements,
  • Met the state-mandated grade point average (2.80) or higher,
  • Satisfied the requirements for FATE

All candidates for certification must take all required licensure tests prior to student teaching. Please review all testing information for specific details regarding the testing requirements for your area of certification.

See program listings and advising sheets for specifics and any additional program requirements. Candidates should contact their departments for specific requirements. A candidate must earn an academic grade of C or better in both student teaching assignments and graduate with the state-mandated minimum grade point average (3.0) or higher to qualify for a Pennsylvania teaching certification.

Candidates are assigned a student teaching placement in schools with which the University has a formal agreement.

To graduate from an educator preparation program with a baccalaureate degree, that is, to be a program completer, candidates must have:

  • Completed the required course work
  • Earned at least minimum grades in courses specified by their program
  • Achieved and maintained FATE
  • Earned an overall GPA of at least 3.0
  • Achieved grades of at least C in both student teaching courses

Applying for Pennsylvania Certification

Candidates apply for certification through the PDE in conjunction with the University's Certification Office. The application is submitted online through the PDE's Teacher Information Management System (TIMS). For more information about Pennsylvania certification, review the Certification Information and the PDE website.

Applicants for the certificate must be citizens of the United States. A non-citizen must declare the intent to become a citizen of the United States and possess a permanent resident visa to qualify for a teaching certificate.

Candidates pursuing initial Pennsylvania Instructional Level I Certification must meet the passing score on the examinations required by the PDE at the time of certification application. Current examinations can be found in PA Tests.

Higher Education Opportunity Act - Title II Praxis Test Results for Completers of the Traditional Teacher Preparation Program

For Higher Education Opportunity Act - Title II test results, please review our Assessment and Accreditation.

Questions related to these tests should be directed to West Chester University's Professional Testing Center (PTC). The PTC administers these tests throughout the calendar year according to the dates established by Educational Testing Service (ETS).

Instructional I Certificate

A candidate who completes one of the University's educator preparation programs and passes all licensure tests required by the state qualifies for an Instructional I Certification, which is issued by the PDE. This certification is valid for six years of teaching in Pennsylvania. Recommendation for the certification is made by the Dean of the College of Education and Social Work, who serves as the certifying officer of the University.

Instructional II Certificate

This certification requires three years of successful teaching in Pennsylvania under the Instructional I Certification, successful completion of an Induction Plan approved by the PDE, and the satisfactory completion of 24 credits of additional coursework completed at a baccalaureate-granting institution, after issuance of the baccalaureate degree. This certification is a valid license to teach in Pennsylvania.

All or part of the educational requirements for this credential may be obtained through approved, in-service programs. Effective July 1, 2000 (Act 48) the state requires all certified teachers and administrators to engage in continuing professional development activities. WCU coursework is an acceptable option for the six hours of college credit (or its equivalent) required for teachers and administrators every five years.

Certification in additional subject areas may be obtained by completing requirements for that area, or in certain areas, by completing a Praxis specialty examination. Candidates should consult the department in which they seek certification for information and an evaluation of their credits.

Candidate Professional Dispositions Expectations & Evaluation

The educator preparation programs at West Chester University in the College of Education and Social Work have developed professional dispositions and requirements essential for the profession. These dispositions are based on the 2011 Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teaching Standards. Candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate dispositions in courses (assignments, interactions with others) and out in the field with mentor teachers and students in PK-12 settings. Please review information regarding professional dispositions and the evaluation process for further details.

Fees and Other Expenses

All candidates pursuing certification in Pennsylvania can expect to spend $300 on required licensure tests, $40 per year on criminal clearances, an average of $30 for TB testing, $200 on the Pennsylvania certification application, and $103 on a Tk20 by Watermark account. If licensure testing or clearances must be repeated for any reason during the candidate’s enrollment at WCU, the student will incur additional expenses. TB testing must be updated annually for all early grades preparation PK-4 majors entering early childhood centers. Note: Fees and other expenses are subject to change within the time span of one's University career due to changing requirements at national, state and local levels.

Tk20 by Watermark

The College of Education and Social Work (CESW) uses Tk20 by Watermark as a comprehensive online data management system for assessments of student learning outcomes and field placements. Tk20 by Watermark establishes electronic documentation for continuous improvement of our programs and accreditation. Students will use this system to complete key unit and program course assignments, field applications, field experience binders, surveys, and portfolios.

All students that are enrolled in College of Education and Social Work programs that are accredited by a professional agency (CAEP, CSWE, and CACREP) are required to have a Tk20 by Watermark subscription. This includes graduate and undergraduate programs that lead to licensure/certification, endorsement, and certificate. Effective August 1, 2018, students that do not have an active account are required to subscribe to Tk20. Students can purchase an account for $103 ($100 plus a $3 processing fee) via credit card, money order, or cashier's check from the Tk20 login page. Accounts are accessible for seven (7) years after the date of purchase. Please consult your instructor prior to purchasing a Tk20 account if you are not pursuing certification, licensure, and/or endorsement. Note: Fees and other expenses are subject to change within the time span of one's University career due to changing requirements at national, state, and local levels.