What kind of background do I need?
The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows is designed for individuals without an education background. It is a highly selective program that is looking for mid-career professionals and recent college graduates who can demonstrate leadership and achievement and who hold a bachelor’s degree.
Applicants must have:
For further information regarding candidate requirements, please visit our Eligibility page.
Applicants must pass all portions of the required exams in the subject area they have been assigned before officially being enrolled into the program. For more information about testing, please visit our Testing Requirements page.
Although taking the Praxis may not be required to apply the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows, we highly recommend candidates register and take the exams as soon as possible.
What if I don't have a 2.8 undergraduate GPA?
Because we are looking for the most outstanding candidates to fill critical need teaching positions, we are looking for people with exemplary academic and professional experience. Additionally, to participate in this program, candidates must meet the eligibility requirements for the Pennsylvania intern teaching certificate. One of these requirements is a 2.8 undergraduate GPA.
However, we are able to make some exceptions for candidates who fall just below this minimum GPA when the applicant presents other significant or compelling evidence of achievement on their resume or application, or if the candidate has a minimum 2.8 graduate school GPA.
Am I eligible if I have no prior teaching experience or coursework in education?
Yes. Individuals without prior teaching experience or coursework in education are eligible for the program and strongly encouraged to apply. The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows is an alternate route certification program specifically designed to attract outstanding, high-achieving applicants from non-education backgrounds into the teaching profession. Although individuals with teaching experience or coursework in education can be considered if they are not currently certified to teach in any state and have not completed more than 50% of licensure coursework in a University program, we strongly encourage candidates with an interest in teaching but no formal education background to apply.
Do I need to be a resident of the city of Philadelphia to apply?
No. You do not need to be a resident of Philadelphia to apply to the program. In fact, many candidates from outside of the greater Philadelphia area and from outside of the state of Pennsylvania apply to the program.
Are certified teachers eligible for the program?
Certified teachers are not eligible to apply to the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows. This program is designed specifically for outstanding mid-career professionals and recent college graduates committed to improving the quality of education offered to students in public schools in Philadelphia. Fellows will be required to earn a teaching certificate while assuming full-time teaching responsibilities.
Certified teachers are encouraged to visit the School District of Philadelphia or call 215-400-4610 to learn about teaching positions within the School District of Philadelphia.
If I've already completed all of my education coursework and only need to complete student teaching or pass the Praxis, am I still eligible?
No. The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows is specifically designed to recruit new teachers into the field of education in Philadelphia. Individuals who are nearly certified should visit the School District of Philadelphia or call 215-400-4610 to learn about teaching positions within the School District of Philadelphia.
We are no longer accepting applications for our Summer 2013 program. If you would like to apply in the future, please check back in the fall when our Summer 2014 application period opens. Please keep an eye on www.tntp.org/teach for more information.
No. Please do not send us transcripts at the time of your initial application
to the program.
If you are invited to an
Interview Event, you will be required to submit an unofficial transcript from
every college or university that you attended in advance of the event. Four official (sealed) transcripts will be needed if you are accepted into the
program. Because it often takes several weeks to process requests for official
transcripts, we recommend that you request all four official
transcripts from each school you attended upon acceptance into the program.
already took courses for a certification program, can I still apply?
Even if you have taken some education or certification courses, you can still apply to our program as long as you are not already certified.
still apply if I am interested in teaching a subject that is not currently being
recruited for during a particular recruiting season?
Yes, you can still apply. You must keep in mind however, that if you are
assigned to a specific subject area, you must pursue certification in that
subject area. After completion of your intern certification, you can add
additional subjects to your certification. Completing certification for additional subjects may
be an option with additional test passage and coursework.
If I was
an accounting major and like math, can I be become a mathematics teacher?
In order to become a math teacher (or any specific subject area), you must meet
the requirements for the subject area. If you have taken at least 9 credits of math including Calculus I in
college and received a “B” or better, you are eligible for our Math Immersion
program. If you do not meet specific subject area requirements, you will be
assigned to teach special education, which does allow for candidates to become
dual certified in special education and a content area, like math.
received my degree from another country, can I still apply?
Yes, you can still apply. You would need to send your transcripts to
World Education Services (WES) for evaluation. Once the WES evaluation is
completed, you would send the results to the PTF office.
is the application deadline?
Refer to the Dates and
Deadlines section on the right for our important application dates
happens after I apply?
Every application is reviewed for completeness, eligibility, and potential for
success as a Fellow. You will receive notification of your application status
within two weeks of our receipt of your complete application.
Outstanding candidates will
be invited to participate in a Philadelphia Teaching Fellows phone interview.
If potential is shown in the phone interview, candidates will attend an
Interview Event where they will deliver a 5-minute teaching sample and engage
in one-on-one interview.
Participants selected for the program will pay a $300 enrollment fee. Then they will be trained during a comprehensive Pre-Service Training and will
become part of an established professional network of Fellows to help ensure
their success in the classroom.
Where and when do interviews take place?
Interview events typically take place in the School District of Philadelphia's
administration building near Center City Philadelphia at 440 N. Broad Street.
Interview events take place on weekends from 8-5:30 pm.
Candidates have the option of selecting a specific 4 hour interview slot.
No, you do not need to take the Praxis in Pennsylvania also. You would just need to have your passing scores sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Education and to PTF.
Call ETS Customer Service at 1-800-772-9476 and let them know that all tests are required for certification in PA. You will need to complete an “out-of-session” form so that you can take the tests on the same day, but at different times.
To register for out-of-session testing, you must work with the ETS directly. Here are the steps:
Educational Testing Service
Rosedale Road, Mailstop 51-L Princeton, NJ 08541 USA
Registration forms and appropriate fees *must* be received by the ETS prior to the late registration deadline. Please note: registration for out-of-session testing is not available during the emergency registration period. Please allow 10 working days for the processing of your registration forms. You will receive two admission tickets in the mail (one for each out-of-session test you are registered for). The tickets will say the tests are offered at the same time because the tickets are generated from the ETS system. However, 1 week prior to your test date you will receive an e-mail authorization letter from the ETS indicating which test is scheduled during Session 1 and which is scheduled during Session 2. You must take the tickets, authorization letter, and appropriate identification with you on test day.
For additional information regarding out-of-session testing, please contact the ETS/Praxis Customer Service directly at 1-800-772-9476.
If I miss the registration deadline to take the Praxis II, what do I do?
For an additional charge, there is a late registration deadline and an emergency registration deadline for those candidates that miss the original deadline for any reason. Candidates must keep in mind that seat availability at specific locations becomes more limited the longer they wait to register. For this reason, we strongly encourage all candidates to register for the main registration deadline for the Praxis II.
Will I receive
Candidates who participate in the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows program will be
granted a Pennsylvania intern certificate.
The Pennsylvania intern certificate was created to allow outstanding
individuals with no previous education coursework the opportunity to teach
while taking coursework to meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania teacher
certificate. Fellows are required to complete their university certification
program within a three-year period. Fellows who complete their coursework,
receive satisfactory performance reviews and pass all other required tests will
receive a Pennsylvania Instructional I teaching certificate. For more
information regarding certification, please click here.
I earn my Master's degree while earning my Teaching Certificate?
Through certain certification programs, Fellows may choose to earn a Master's
degree in addition to the Teaching Certificate. The Master's degree
generally involves additional coursework and sometimes a thesis, beyond the
requirements of the certification program. There may be additional costs
the Pre-Service Training count toward my certificate?
The Fellows Pre-Service Training provides a strong foundation in the various components of
effective teaching and hands-on practice. After a review of the Pre-Service Training's curriculum, four of the PTF partner universities have agreed to
grant credit for successful completion of the Pre-Service Training. As such,
successful completion of the training and all related requirements will
replace certain required coursework at Arcadia University, Chestnut Hill
College, Eastern University, Drexel University or Holy Family University.
will I be able to balance my certification coursework and my teaching
Overall, the experience of working toward the Pennsylvania Instructional I
Certificate while teaching is intensive but manageable. The class
schedules for PTF certification partner programs are structured to accommodate
the demands of a full-time teaching schedule.
I get my Teaching Certification in any subject I want?
No. The certification program must match the teaching assignment of the Fellow
and is designed to meet District and State certification requirements. Fellows
will receive a Pennsylvania Instructional I Teaching Certificate for their
subject area after completing the required coursework.
I choose where I take classes for the certification program?
Yes. The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows has established relationships with
a number of certification institutions that align with the requirements and
structures of the Teaching Fellows program and the needs of a full-time teacher
in Philadelphia. While it is not recommended, Fellows may elect to enroll
in a program that is not a PTF certification partner. In this case,
Fellows must do so with the understanding that they will take on all
responsibilities related to familiarizing themselves with requirements,
deadlines, and costs of the program. No matter which program they choose
to enroll in to earn their certificate, Fellows are responsible for meeting all
necessary deadlines and enrollment requirements and remaining in good standing
with the program. Before enrolling in a program, Fellows should
be certain that the institution has a relationship with the Pennsylvania
Department of Education that will allow them to obtain Intern certification and
work as full-time teachers in the district while enrolled. Please
refer to the Certification section
for more information regarding our university partners.
have to apply, or will I be automatically accepted into a program?
In addition to the Fellowship’s requirements for enrollment, you must also
comply with any and all applicable college or university requirements for
matriculation. We work very closely with our university partners to
streamline the process. You can also visit our certification partner
websites for more comprehensive information on admissions, financial aid and
all Fellows teaching a specific subject be enrolled in the same coursework?
requirements for each certificate are developed in accordance with Pennsylvania
state law and take into account teaching needs for that particular
subject. While the content of core classes in educational theory and
developmental psychology may be similar across programs, courses may vary from
program to program and from one subject area to another.
Are Fellows responsible
for the cost of tuition?
Yes. All Fellows are responsible for prompt payment of any and all
tuition and fees. Just like other graduate students, Fellows may choose to
apply for financial aid and grants if they so desire.
can I receive financial aid?
We recognize that the out-of-pocket cost can be substantial for many Fellows.
With that in mind, we strongly urge you to immediately complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for any financial aid. This form is free and
non-binding if you do not follow through on admissions. But if you do not
complete this, you will not be eligible for any financial aid. If you will be
in need of ANY financial aid, please do this as soon as possible.
In addition, since
Fellows will be serving in a low-income or subject-matter shortage area, it
might be possible for you to cancel or defer your student loans. For more
information about the variety of programs and options, pleases visit StudentAid.
First-year Teaching Fellows
eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Education Award after successfully completing
their first year of teaching. The award, which is valid for seven years after
issuance, may be used to pay for certification or future education costs,
including the repayment of eligible student loans. While Philadelphia Teaching
Fellows is currently a member of AmeriCorps, we cannot guarantee these benefits
for the Summer 2013 Fellows cohort given the nature of the AmeriCorps
competitive grant process. We anticipate receiving final confirmation on
education awards in early June 2013.
Do I need to be enrolled
in a university certification program before I can apply?
No. Fellows will enroll in a university certification program after they have
been accepted to the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows and will be provided with
more information on our university partners so they can make a well-informed
Are there any
preparatory exams I should take?
All Fellows must pass the required Praxis II content knowledge and/or Pearson exam(s) before they can begin teaching. We strongly urge candidates to take a Praxis
II on the next available test administration date. Please consult the Testing Requirements section of our website for further information on registration and to find out what specific exams are required for the
subjects we are recruiting. Participation and enrollment in the Philadelphia
Teaching Fellows is contingent upon successfully passing the exams for your designated subject area.
When should I register
for and take the exams?
Although most applicants do not have to take the tests prior to applying to the
Philadelphia Teaching Fellows, we recommend registering for the tests as soon as possible. Testing represents an important step in the process of transitioning to the teaching
profession, and it will be to your advantage to complete these exams as soon as
The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows is a highly selective program. Typically,
about one in every ten initial applicants is eventually selected for the
program. Our eligibility requirements are only the minimum qualifications
necessary to be considered for the program, and meeting them in no way
guarantees an applicant acceptance. Although ensuring candidates meet our
program's eligibility requirements is an important step in our initial review
of applications, our selection process is ultimately driven by our desire to
identify individuals with strong track records of achievement in their previous
endeavors that demonstrate a steadfast commitment towards improving the
achievement of Philadelphia's high-need students.
wasn't accepted. Can I appeal the decision?
No. All applications are thoroughly reviewed during our rigorous selection
process, and admissions decisions are final. Because we receive an exceptional
number of applications each year, we are unable to re-evaluate individual
decisions or provide personalized feedback to applicants who have not been accepted
to the program. Due to the high amount of interest in our program and the
limited number of positions available, we still encourage individuals that are
not accepted to the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows to pursue teaching through
I re-apply to the program next year if I am not accepted?
Yes, but in order to be considered, you must be able to demonstrate
improvements in your candidacy since your previous application. The process for
applicants who re-apply is no different than that for applicants applying for
the first time. Because the needs of the public schools in Philadelphia are
constantly changing, even those applicants who were admitted to the program in
a previous year and declined our offer of admission or withdrew their application
must re-apply to be re-considered.
does the program actually begin?
participants will start their training in June of each year. For more information
on the Pre-Service Training, please visit our Pre-Service Training page.
What is the Enrollment Fee?
All candidates who are invited to become Philadelphia Teaching Fellows will be required to pay a $300 enrollment fee. This fee helps cover materials and staff associated with the Pre Service Training. If you are accepted into Philadelphia Teaching Fellows you will receive more detailed information about the enrollment process.
I defer acceptance into the program?
Deferrals will be granted very rarely only in the case of exceptional personal
Once you complete our program and are hired within a school, you would be an official employee of the School District of Philadelphia or a local charter school. Even after you are hired at a school, we still consider you one of our Fellows, and will therefore continue to provide you with any assistance and support you need to ensure that you can be successful in the classroom.
Candidates interested in biology, chemistry, general science, math, physics, or spanish must have a major or the equivalent in order to be eligible to teach in these fields.
Candidates interested in Special Education are preferred to have professional or life experiences with special needs populations and/or coursework related to human development, psychology, or behavioral science.
Candidates interested in Elementary Education are preferred to have a broad liberal arts academic background and/or professional or life experiences working with young children.
Candidates interested in Math Immersion must have taken at least 9 math credits including Calculus 1 or higher in college and received a grade of a 'B' or better. Math Immersion candidates will work towards certification in Secondary Math, with additional resources to pass the Praxis II content exam.
After submitting an application, all candidates will receive a tentative subject area assignment based on eligibility and preferences. Once our program staff reviews candidate transcripts on interview days, candidates accepted to the program will receive a final subject area assignment based on qualifications, personal preferences, and school needs.
Where will I teach?
Fellows will be placed in schools all across the city. Since Fellows are filling critical need subject area vacancies, oftentimes Fellows are placed in low-income schools with high-need students who truly need dedicated teachers who care about their success. School, grade, and subject level determinations will be based on the qualifications of each Fellow and the needs of the district.
How does the process of securing a school placement work?
Fellows are hired in high-need schools located in low-income communities throughout Philadelphia. Once Fellows complete the Summer Pre-Service Training, they enter the job search pool just like any other teacher. It is important to understand that securing a teaching position is a challenging process, and one that requires patience and proactive participation by Fellows.
Can I choose where I will teach?
Fellows have the opportunity to focus their independent job search on their personal school preferences. However, available vacancies may be limited and Fellows will ultimately secure positions where they are needed the most.
When do I find out where I will be teaching?
Identifying and finalizing a specific teaching job is a challenging process, as there are many variables involved in predicting and filling job openings at the school level. Fellows will find out where they will be teaching between April and October depending on if they are hired by a charter or district school, and the independent job search efforts of the Fellow. You will receive more detailed information about this process if you are accepted into the Teaching Fellows program.
Will there be other Fellows teaching at my school?
Whenever we can, we work to ensure that Fellows are placed with other Fellows in the same school. However, since school-based vacancies can be unpredictable at times, it is not always possible for us to place Fellows in schools where other Fellows are teaching.
If I specialize in Special Education Math, for example, would I be assigned to a Special Education English class?
Fellows assigned to Special Education content areas would teach that class, however, there is a possibility that a Fellow assigned to a particular Special Education content area could teach other Special Education subjects based on the need at their school. For example, a Special Education Math Fellow could possibly teach Special Education English in addition to Special Education Math. We encourage our Special Education Fellows to remain flexible and willing to teach any Special Education content area.
What is a typical class size?
In the School District of Philadelphia, a typical class size ranges from 25 to 30 students. This class size can vary depending on the school neighborhood, and recent changes in school enrollment. Special Education classes can range from 8 to 20 students so that teachers can meet the more specialized individual needs of their students.
What does a typical day look like?
Although the start and end times of schools vary across the district, teachers can expect roughly six-and-a-half hours of instructional time per day. Almost all successful new teachers discover that additional time outside of the classroom is required to be effective and to make a significant impact on student achievement. This time outside of the regular school day can include lesson planning, grading papers, coaching a sport, or working at an after-school program. Many schools also conduct after-school faculty meetings on a regular basis. Beyond their school day commitments, Fellows can also expect to attend education courses one to two nights a week through the university partner certification program they attend.
How is the School District of Philadelphia structured? How do charter schools relate?
Since 2001, the School District of Philadelphia has been managed by the School Reform Commission as part of a state takeover that brought national attention to the need for dramatic urban school reform in Philadelphia. The School Reform Commission works along with the CEO to make large-scale decisions regarding the district's budget, funding, and priorities for improvement.
Charter Schools are independently operated public schools that are funded with federal, state and local tax dollars. These schools are established to provide families with more educational alternatives for their children. Charters are non-profit, non sectarian, organizations that are approved by the local School District or the State Appeal Board. Each charter has its own Board of Trustees and administrative staff and operates as a separate, independent local educational agency (LEA). For more information on the School District of Philadelphia or local charter schools, please visit our Teaching in Philadelphia page.
How safe are the schools?
Overall, we believe that our schools are safe. For each negative story portrayed in the media regarding Philadelphia's schools, there are several positive examples of strong achievements by our Fellows, including achieving significant academic gains with their students, assuming leadership responsibilities at their schools, and creating their own after-school clubs and programs. Although concerning incidents do occur from time to time, the District has a strong plan in place to deal with school violence and provide teachers with outlets to report safety issues at their schools. We encourage candidates to visit the areas in which they may teach during a regular school day to determine their own level of comfort with the environment.
How long is my time commitment to the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows?
We hope that Fellows enter this program as the start of a lifelong career in education. Although, we do not set a definitive time commitment for participation in our program, we are looking for candidates that are serious about making a long-term commitment as an educator in Philadelphia for at least 5 years (as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, or administrator) so that they can have an enduring positive impact on student achievement. As long as Fellows continue to teach in the district, they are always eligible to engage in professional development activities and networking opportunities facilitated by our program staff.
The Fellows program is designed to include part-time certification coursework for teaching in high-need schools while earning a full-time teaching salary. Participants are required to become fully certified within three years by completing the required coursework through one of our university partner certification programs. It is important to note that Fellows that opt to receive grant funding for their certification coursework through one of our university partner grants may be required to teach at least two years in Philadelphia. Please refer to the Certification section of our website for further details.
As a Philadelphia
Teaching Fellow, you will be required to attend an intensive Pre-Service Training for 6 weeks. The training will include: a teaching
assignment/observation opportunity with on-site guidance from a cooperating
teacher in a public school in Philadelphia; professional development seminars
with experience teachers on learning standards, foundations of teaching,
classroom management, and other skills necessary to become an effective teacher
in a high-need school; discussion and activities about the challenges and
benefits of teaching in a diverse, urban educational setting; and an
opportunity to network with Fellows who have made the same commitment to
improve the quality of education for Philadelphia's students. For more
information on the Pre-Service Training, please click here.
intensive is the Pre-Service Training?
be aware that the pre-service training schedule will be rigorous with
many long days. You can expect a 60-70 hour week between practice teaching and
curriculum framework sessions. We try to compress as much hands-on experience
and concrete skills and strategies that we can into a brief 6 week period so
that Fellows have what they need to be effective in their classrooms right away
at no cost to the Fellow.
What ongoing resources and connections are available
for Fellows once they are in the classroom?
their most basic ongoing support network at the school level. Although every
situation is different, Fellows may collaborate with colleagues at their
school, instructional specialists, assistant principals, principals or a grade
level or academic department team. The Pre-Service Training facilitates
connections among Fellows who teach in the same subject area that carry through
as a strong peer support network once they are in their own classrooms.
The Philadelphia Teaching
Fellows program office also coordinates access to professional development and
social network opportunities throughout the year and the publication of a
regular newsletter. Once in the classroom, Fellows receive on-going
observations with concrete feedback, a veteran-teacher mentor, and personalized
coaching. Teaching Fellows can draw on these resources for planning,
reflection, and shared encouragement as they strive for excellence in their
Because of the rigors of the program (12-13 hour days), candidates cannot work a full time job at the same time they are in the Pre-Service Training.
We are no longer accepting applications for our Summer 2013 program.
If you would like to apply in the future, our Summer 2014 application will be available this fall. Please keep an eye on www.tntp.org/teach for more information.
Philadelphia Teaching Fellows
440 North Broad Street, Suite 222
Philadelphia, PA 19130