Dickinson College offers programs leading to eligibility for certification in secondary education in the state of Pennsylvania.  Completion of the requirements for initial certification in Pennsylvania will meet the minimum requirements for gaining initial certification in most other states.  Certification can be obtained in the following areas: biology, chemistry, earth and space science, English, French, German, Latin (classical studies), Spanish, Mathematics, Physics and social tudies (major in History, Political Science, Economics, or American Studies).  Students who are interested in enrolling should refer to the sequence of courses required for a minor in education with eligibility for teacher certification on the department’s web site.


Students who are certain about becoming certified as teachers or who wish to explore education as a career should select EDUC 121, Foundations of Education, during their first year at Dickinson, preferably in the fall semester.

Students who wish to become biology teachers should select BIOL 120, 123, 124, or 129 in the fall semester and BIOL 122, 125, 126, or 127 in the spring semester.  CHEM 131 and 132  should be taken as early in a student’s preparation as possible.

Students who wish to become foreign language teachers should begin language studies during the first year.  Students wishing to become certified in more than one language, must first seek certification in Spanish, German, French, or Latin as a primary certification area through Dickinson’s program and then add the second language through PRAXIS testing.

How to Complete the Program

Option I.
For students seeking public school teacher certification. Students seeking public school certification in the areas for which Dickinson College is accredited by the Pennsylvania Department of Education will complete the nine credits of coursework in the Education Department Sequence.

Option II.  
For students seeking private school certification without completing the minor in Education. Students seeking private school certification only will complete EDUC 121 and EDUC 221 earning a total of two credits in education. While this option provides limited preparation for the job market, it enables students to earn Private Academic Certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students must major in any of the disciplines in which the Pennsylvania Department of Education offers certification. If students major in one of the disciplines in which Dickinson offers certification, it is recommended that they also complete EDUC 350 and EDUC 352 or 353 or 354 or 355 or 356 and 458.

Students should take EDUC 121 Social Foundation of Education in their first year and EDUC 221: Educational Psychology in either the second semester of their first year or in the first semester of their second year. Most students are able to complete the program if they begin in their first or second year at Dickinson.  Some students stay an extra semester to complete the program.

Students are able to study abroad in any area of certification.  Advance planning is essential.

Additional Remarks

Kappa Delta Pi:  Students completing the minor in Education are eligible for membership in Kappa Delta Pi during the second semester of their sophomore year.  The organization provides professional, leadership, and service opportunities. First-Year students are invited to participate in all events sponsored by KDP.  Kappa Delta Pi members can qualify for scholarship assistance for a ninth semester of study or a stipend during student teaching.

Careers:  Most students receiving certification pursue secondary school teaching as a career.  Dickinson graduates enjoy a very good record of locating teaching positions in Pennsylvania and many other states. 

Further information:  For additional information about the program students should contact the Chair, Professor Pamela S. Nesselrodt at or 717-245-1037.  Early planning is essential.