Part Time Teaching Licenses: Pennsylvania

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: Pennsylvania results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Pennsylvania's policies

Pennsylvania does not offer a license with minimal requirements that would allow content experts to teach part time.

Recommendations for Pennsylvania

Offer a license that allows content experts to serve as part-time instructors.
Pennsylvania should permit individuals with deep subject-area knowledge to teach a limited number of courses without fulfilling a complete set of certification requirements.  The state should verify content knowledge through a rigorous test and conduct background checks as appropriate, while waiving all other licensure requirements.  Such a license would increase districts' flexibility to staff certain subjects, including many STEM areas, that are frequently hard to staff or may not have high enough enrollment to necessitate a full-time position.

State response to our analysis

Pennsylvania noted that the Temporary Permit for Resource Specialist is "issued at the request of the public school entity for competent, noncertified, people to provide supplemental instruction in their profession or area of expertise. The temporary permit is valid for 3 calendar years and is not transferable to another public school entity."

Further, Pennsylvania asserted that the "the intern certificate requires college experience. But, the Residency Certificate allows career professionals to demonstrate content knowledge with the Praxis exam and earn pedagogy skills in the classroom. "

Last word

The Resource Specialist Permit does not meet the intent of this goal, which is to allow content experts to teach part time in K-12 classrooms. The Resource Specialist Permit is designed to provide supplemental instruction. According to the state website, "examples of the use of such persons would be a renowned chef who demonstrates culinary arts to students in a home economics class, a famous sculptor in an art education class, or an outstanding musician in a music education class." Although the license is part time, the candidate can only provide instruction "under the direct supervision of a certificated teacher and cannot be listed as professional staff."

Research rationale

The origin of this goal is the effort to find creative solutions to the STEM crisis. While teaching waivers are not typically used this way, teaching waivers could be used to allow competent professionals from outside of education to be hired as part-time instructors to teach courses such as Advanced Placement chemistry or calculus as long as the instructor demonstrates content knowledge on a rigorous test. See NCTQ, "Tackling the STEM Crisis" at:

For the importance of teachers' general academic ability, see R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 (1991), 465-498.

For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk and J.R. King, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review 12, no. 2 (1994), 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983)