Primary Plus: PreK-4 Teacher Certification

The Primary Plus: PreK-4 Teacher Certification Program prepares students to teach young children ages 4-9 in Pre-kindergarten and K-4 classrooms and to work collaboratively with parents and other professionals. Students will develop skills for employment in public and private schools and early childhood centers.

Quick Facts

  • Program Duration: Two academic terms (Fall and Spring) 
  • Time Commitment: Full time 
  • Term of Enrollment: Fall
  • Course Requirements: 36 credits 
  • Application Deadline: 
    • ​​Priority admission - January 15
    • Application deadline - March 1
    • Late applicants are encouraged to apply and will be considered based on available space in the program.
  • Admissions Requirements: GRE exam not required

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Program Details

The Primary Plus: PreK-4 Teacher Certification Program is intended for individuals from a wide range of undergraduate degree and work backgrounds. Through coursework and field experiences with pre-kindergarteners and children in grades K-4, students will acquire an integrated understanding of academic content and child development in diverse inclusive settings.

Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to apply for a Pennsylvania Instructional I certificate for PreK-4. The requirements are listed in the Certifications section below. 

Additionally, students who complete Primary Plus can put 18 completed credits toward our Master of Education in Early Childhood Education program or our online Master of Education in Elementary Education program.  

Degree Requirements

Field Experiences: During their time in the program, candidates are placed in two different educational settings. In the Fall, the candidates spend three days a week in a PreK or K classroom, working closely with a mentor teacher and a university supervisor. Over the course of the semester the candidates support the mentor teacher, moving toward a full takeover of teaching responsibilities toward the end of the semester. In the Fall the candidates also spend one day a week in a K-4 elementary classroom, moving from observation to general classroom support. The candidates then continue in the same elementary classroom in the Spring for a semester of full-time student teaching. 



The Primary Plus program satisfies requirements for the Pennsylvania Instructional I PreK-4 Certification, pending:  

  • Earning a passing score on all three modules of the PECT Exam in PreK-4 (Pennsylvania Education Certification Test)
  • Completing the PA Statewide Evaluation Form for Student Professional Knowledge and Practice (PDE 430); and 
  • Demonstrating satisfactory performance in all courses and the student teaching experiences 

For more information, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Education educator certification website


General Education Courses 

  • College-level Math (or equivalent): 3 credits 
  • Science Lab or Field Course: 3 credits 
  • U.S. History: 3 credits 
  • Child Development: 3 credits 

Education Courses 

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education: 3 credits 
  • Math for Elementary Teachers: 3 credits 
  • Foundations of Special Education: 3 credits 
  • Young English Language Learners: 3 credits 
  • Teaching Health & Wellness: 3 credits 
  • Language and Literature for the Young Child: 3 credits 
  • In addition to the prerequisite courses, candidates must also: 
  • Have a 3.0 GPA in undergraduate 
  • Have passing scores for the PAPA Exam (Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment), or SAT/ACT scores that exempt them from taking the PAPA. 

All applicants are encouraged to use the program’s online transcript review to track your progress online.

Career Pathways

Most of our graduates become either Preschool or Elementary teachers in schools across Pennsylvania, and across the United States.

Many go on to get additional degrees and certifications, including the Reading Specialist certification, the master’s degree in Elementary Education, or the Special Education certification.