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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: March 29, 2018 02:23 PM
From: Representative Stephen Bloom
To: All House members
Subject: Reform of Vocational Instructional Certificate Requirements

In the near future, as part of the bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) legislative package, I plan to introduce legislation to change the unnecessarily burdensome certification requirements for CTE teachers. Currently, Pennsylvania requires 78 credits for a Vocational Instructional II Certificate. This drastically exceeds the requirements of many other states, which makes it difficult to recruit needed teachers in Pennsylvania.

Below are some significant points:
  • CTE teachers are required to have industry experience prior to teaching. This is a good requirement because it assures our students are being trained by those who are qualified.
  • This is different than traditional teachers, who go to school first before becoming a teacher. CTE teachers go to school AFTER becoming a teacher. As they are already content experts, the college courses are meant to help them utilize proper teaching strategies.
  • The number of credits a CTE teacher must take after being hired is 78 credits over 11 years. This includes some general education credits, which are entirely unnecessary. For example, it is hard to rationalize the benefit to students of a Diesel Instructor being required to take a course in American History.
  • The mere fact that these credits are spread over 11 years points to their lack of necessity. If something was actually important for the teachers and we waited 10 years to deliver it to them, we would be negligent as school administrators yet this is how the PDE certification process is arranged.
  • Pennsylvania loses many qualified candidates for needed positions because they simply are not willing to go through an 11 year, 78 credit process.
  • The excessive number of credits required is costly to our schools because schools pay most of the cost of tuition for these credits.
My legislation to solve this issue is quite simple and would actually save school districts money. My legislation would allow the 18 credits required to obtain a Vocational I Certificate to be counted toward the total credit hours required for a Vocational Instructional I Certificate and reduce the total number of credits required from 78 to 60. Additionally, the legislation would increase the years of wage-earning experience in the occupation to be taught from 2 to 4 to further ensure that the CTE is qualified in their field.

Please join me in sponsoring this important, cost-saving legislation and promote CTE.

Introduced as HB2155