Student Teaching Requirements versus the Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Educators Permit

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Office of Postsecondary and Higher Education




To:             Chief School Administrators


From:           Dr. Christina Baumer, Chief

                Division of Professional Education and Teacher Quality

                Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality


Date:           July 26, 2019


Subject:         Student Teaching Requirements versus the Substitute Teaching Permit for  Prospective Educators Permit


The Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality has been contacted with questions regarding the differences between Student Teaching and the Substitute Teaching Permits for Prospective Educators. We are providing the distinctions of each below. We hope you will find this information helpful.




Student Teaching Experience and Guidelines:

The Student Teaching Experience and Guidelines are found in both Chapters 354 and 49 of the School Code as well as on the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) website at Student Teaching Guidelines

Student teaching experiences should:

  • Ensure that candidates complete a well-planned sequence of professional educator field experiences related to each academic discipline the candidates plan to teach;
  • Be fully integrated within the preparation program; and
  • Require frequent observation and consultation with cooperating teachers and school administrators as an integrated part of the professional education curriculum.


The preparation program must be designed to provide a minimum 12 week full-time student teaching experience under the supervision of:

(1) Program faculty with knowledge and experience in the area of certification; and

(2) Cooperating teachers trained by the preparation program faculty and who have the

     following qualifications:

(i) Appropriate professional educator certification,

(ii) At least three years of satisfactory certificated teaching experience, and

(iii) At least one year of certificated teaching experience in the school

                           entity where the student teacher is placed.

A student teacher may only be used as a substitute if they obtain a locally issued Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Educators permit issued by a Local Education Agency (LEA). See requirements located below.


The Substitute Teaching Permit for Prospective Educators became effective on September 11, 2016 with the passage of Act 86 of 2016. The provision is set to expire on June 30, 2021. 

This permit allows an education student in an approved Pennsylvania teacher preparation program who meets the specific requirements in the law to be hired by an LEA in a controlled salaried permit position.


An eligible education student:

  • Must be currently enrolled in a PA college or university teacher preparation program regionally accredited and approved by PDE;
  • Must have completed 60 semester hours or the equivalent at an accredited PA college or university; and
  • Must be eligible under § 111 (criminal history) and § 1109(a) (good moral character, at least 18 years of age, U.S. citizen, etc.) as well as have appropriate child abuse clearances.



  • The permit is issued by the chief school administrator of the LEA (school district, charter school, area vocational-technical school, or intermediate unit) to the eligible education student.
  • The student must present verification of enrollment status and completed semester hours to the LEA.
  • The LEA must verify the requirements for a criminal history, child abuse clearances, and Good Moral Character.
  • The governing body of the LEA will fix the salary paid to the student.
  • Substitute time is not eligible for Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System or School Employees Retirement System retirement credit.


Service Permissions:

  • The permit is valid for one year and allows the student to substitute teach for no more than 10 days per school year for a single teacher and not more than 20 days for multiple employees per school year.
  • The permit may be renewed for one additional year if the student provides documentation of continued enrollment in the preparation program and the completion of an additional 15 credit hours or its equivalent.


Annual Report:

Act 86 of 2016 requires:

  • PDE provide an annual report on the use of the Substitute Teacher Permit for Prospective Educators to the Chair and Minority Chair of the House Education Committee.

PDE collect data for the report through an annual survey of all LEAs in the Spring of each academic year.