Vocational Instructional I Certificate Requirements

  • A minimum of 4 years wage-earning experience or 8,000hrs in addition to the learning period required to establish competency in the occupation to be taught;
  • Successfully completed the Occupational Competency Assessment or evaluation of credentials for occupations where examinations do not exist;
  • Completed 18 credit hours in an approved program of vocational teacher education;
  • Met all requirements provided by law (School Code 1209 and Title 22, Pa. Code, Section 49.12).
  • Presented evidence of having passed the CORE Praxis tests in reading and writing.
  • Received the recommendation of the preparing Pennsylvania university.

IMPORTANT: Regulations published by the State Board of Education on September 25, 1999, provide that Vocational Instructional I certificates issued with an effective date of October 1999 or thereafter will be valid for eight (8) years of service during which time the applicant must complete the approved preparation program leading to the Vocational Instructional II Certificate. Vocational Instructional I certificates issued prior to October 1999 remain valid for seven (7) teaching years.


Vocational Instructional II Certification Requirements

  • Completed 3 years of satisfactory teaching on a Vocational Instructional I Certification attested to by the chief school administrator of the approved public or nonpublic school entity in which the most recent service of the applicant was performed.
  • Completed 42 credit hours in an approved program in the appropriate field of vocational education.
  • Presented evidence of satisfactory achievement in assessments prescribed by the Department under Section 49.18(a) (relating to assessment). In addition, presented evidence of having passed the Praxis I test in Mathematics (0730 or 5730) (effective September 1, 2008).
  • Completed a Pennsylvania Department of Education-approved induction program.
  • Received the recommendation of the preparing Pennsylvania university.

NOTE: The Vocational General Knowledge test (0890) was the required exam prior to September 1, 2008. If the Vocational General Knowledge Test was taken prior to September 1, 2008 with a minimum score of 560, it can be accepted in place of the Praxis I Mathematics exam. Vocational General Knowledge Test (0890) scores will remain valid for 10 years from the date the test was taken.

Getting and Staying Certified to Teach

Pennsylvania law requires that you demonstrate your competence in the area you plan to teach. You must have at least 8,000 hours of paid work experience in the subject you will teach and take the Occupational Competency Assessment (OCA). Once you have completed the OCA you should apply for an Intern Certificate at the TIMS website

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, through the Bureau of Vocational-Technical Education, has authorized The Pennsylvania State University to administer the Occupational Competency Assessment (OCA) examination for persons who desire to teach shop/laboratory subjects on a vocational basis. Satisfactory completion of the OCA is one of the legal requirements for issuing a vocational teaching certificate in Pennsylvania.

Testing Dates

Spring 2021 April 26th  (Deadline no later than March 26th)

Summer 2021 July 19th (Deadline no later than June 18th)

Fall 2021 November 15th  (Deadline no later than October 15th)

To apply please contact Wilda Hackman at (814)863-0805 or by email: [email protected]

IMPORTANT: These deadlines will not be extended. These dates also include the CoOp NOCTI Testing

What are the Eligibility Requirements?

To be eligible for the program the candidate must submit the following documentation to be reviewed by the testing center.

  1. Education: Must be a graduate of a secondary school or possess equivalent education credentials.
  2. Work Experience: Documentation that verifies "a minimum of four years (8,000hrs) wage earning experience in addition to the learning period in the occupation to be taught. ***** NOTE: Work experience MUST be verified within our office.*****
  3. Credentials: Must submit a complete personnel file of required credentials by the announced deadline.

What are the Employment Experience Guidelines and Requirements?

Employment experience guidelines and requirements are:

  1. A minimum of four years wage earning work experience beyond the learning period in an occupation directly related to the occupation to be taught.
  2. Comprehensive experience to include a major coverage of the skills of the occupation, not a narrow sampling of a few skills.
  3. Military employment or service beyond the training period directly related to the specific occupation.
  4. State professional licensure or selected national certification in the occupation.

What is the Learning Period?

You must have completed a learning period in the occupation you intend to teach. Work Experience as it applies to the OCA is defined as:

  1. Worker in a wage earning experience as an apprentice and/or student.
  2. Student in a vocational school, technical institute or college.
  3. Student in a cooperative vocational education program.
  4. Student in a vocational teacher education program which includes specialized or technical courses directly related to the occupation.
  5. Student in an associate degree program, in the occupation field.
  6. Graduate of an approved four (4) year college curriculum when the major field of study is directly related to the occupational field.
  7. Military training or instruction directly related to the occupation.

Employment Experience Considerations

  1. The employment experience should have been completed within a ten-year period immediately prior to successful completion of the OCA examination.
  2. Part-time work experience will be evaluated on the basis of two thousand (2000) clock-hours as equivalent to one (1) calendar year.
  3. For occupations requiring a state professional license or selected national certification, such as license or certification when issued by an accredited state or national association, will be accepted in lieu of the competency examination, but not in lieu of the Occupational Competency Assessment Program, which includes evaluation of wage earning experience beyond the learning period, the validating of licenses, and high school graduation or equivalent.
  4. Work experience used in verifying occupational experience in one occupation may also be used to verify occupational experience in another closely related occupation.

Occupational Experience

Occupational experience is required in each of the major occupational areas combined to form a cluster vocational program.

Teaching Experience

Teaching experience or supervisory experience in the occupational area cannot be counted toward meeting the work experience requirement.

The Penn State New Teacher Workshop is a component of WF ED 100 Orientation to Teaching which is a two credit course required for Vocational Instructional 1 certification.

WF ED 100 and the New Teacher Workshop is for newly hired career and technology teachers. Topics addressed include:

  • Career Development Roles and Responsibilities
  • Assessing Needs and Identifying Competencies
  • Developing an Instructional Schedule
  • Developing and Writing Lesson Plans
  • Writing Performance Objectives
  • Teaching Successful Lessons
  • Assessment of Learning
  • Cognitive Diversity Adaptions and Accommodations
  • Effective Use of IEPs
  • Student Diversity and Educating Special Populations
  • Educating English Language Learners and Literacy Challenged Students
  • Providing a Safe Teaching and Learning Environment
  • Professional Writing

WF ED 100 the first of six courses required for the Vocational Instructional 1 Certificate. Additional courses include WF ED 105 Integrated Curriculum Integration, WF ED 495C-1 Observation and Practice Teaching: Presentation Strategies, WF ED 495C-2 Observation and Practice Teaching: Action Strategies and WF ED 495C-3 Observation and Practice Teaching: Extend Your Professional Development.