All Penn State candidates for teacher certification (PK-4, 4-8, 7-12, and P-12) are required to observe and teach in settings that include diverse populations, students with special needs, and students of different ages as an integral part of the undergraduate education major. This page provides a general overview of field experiences. Detailed information about the various field experiences can be found on the web page that is specific to that field experience.

Penn State students who are engaged with minors through field experiences for coursework must have all required clearances and will be supervised by Penn State Faculty or Staff.

General Timeline for Field Experience Courses

Early Field Experience (C I 295 and 295 A/B)

C I 295 is an early field experience, offered in multiple formats (C I 295, C I 295A, C I 295B) that is intended to introduce you to classroom observation, educational issues, and teaching as a career. Typically during semesters 3 or 4. The appropriate version of the early field experience course is required for admission to all of the teacher certification programs offered in Curriculum and Instruction. Early field experience does not require a preliminary application, unless exceptions occur due to schedule conflicts.

  • If you are seeking admission to any of the following teacher certification programs, you are required to enroll in C I 295:
    • any (7-12) secondary certification program
    • world languages
  • If you are seeking admission to the Pre-K to 4th grade certification program, you will need to enroll in C I 295A.
  • If you are seeking admission to the 4th-8th grade certification program, you will need to enroll in C I 295B.
  • There are also some special sections of C I 295 that are offered in unique locations during the summer semester. These experiences may be used as an alternative form of C I 295, or C I 295A/B.

Pre-Student Teaching Field Experience (C I 495 A/B/C)

Pre-Student Teaching field experience (C I 495 A/B/C) occurs typically during semesters 6 or 7.

  • C I 495A: Elementary & Early Childhood Education (Pre K-4 Certification)
  • C I 495B: Middle Level Education (4-8 Certification)
  • C I 495C: Secondary Education and World Languages

Student Teaching Practicum (C I 495D/F or E)

Student teaching is the culminating field experience in the teacher education curriculum. Each student teacher is engaged in full-time teaching responsibilities for a fifteen week period under the guidance of a certified, experienced mentor teacher and a full-time university supervisor. Student teaching opportunities are provided at a variety of locations depending on the specific certification program. Student teaching practicum occurs typically during semesters 7 or 8. Online applications must be submitted by the beginning of the semester one year in advance of the academic year desired for a student teaching assignment.