How to Become a Teacher in Philadelphia
Public schools in Philadelphia, colloquially known as the City of Brotherly Love, are overseen by the School District of Philadelphia. There are 19,000 teachers and support staff and 203,000 enrolled children in the School District of Philadelphia.1 To teach in public schools in Philadelphia, you will need teacher certification from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, which requires at least a bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component and successfully complete the state teacher competency exams. Private and charter schools in Philadelphia also generally require a bachelor’s degree as well but might not require teaching certification. Read on for more information about finding a teaching job in this diverse and lively city.
Philadelphia Teacher Certification Requirements
You must have teacher certification to work in public schools in Philadelphia; however, there are many ways of earning this certification depending on your prior education and experience. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for all teacher candidates. You can either complete the required teacher preparation as part of a bachelor’s degree or as a separate program via an alternative route if you already hold a bachelor’s degree. There are many teaching degree programs in Pennsylvania, but if you plan to complete a degree outside Pennsylvania, it is best to confirm the program is appropriately accredited prior to enrolling. Refer to our Pennsylvania certification page for more information.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree and plan to pursue the alternative route to certification by completing a teacher preparation program, a list of approved programs is available. You can learn more about these types of programs on our Pennsylvania alternative certification page.
Teacher Certification Programs in Philadelphia
The following Philadelphia-area colleges and universities offer teacher preparation programs that can qualify you for first-time teacher certification or, if you are already certified, additional endorsements. Read more about preparation programs across the state on our Pennsylvania schools page.
- Arcadia University
- Bryn Athyn College
- Bryn Mawr College
- Cabrini University
- Cairn University
- Chestnut Hill College
- Delaware Valley University
- Drexel University
- Eastern University
- Gwynedd Mercy University
- Holy Family University
- Immaculata University
- La Salle University
- Neumann University
- Rosemont College
- Saint Joseph’s University
- Swarthmore College
- Temple University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Villanova University
- Widener University
Philadelphia School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher
You will need to earn Pennsylvania teaching certification to be eligible for teaching jobs in Philadelphia public schools. Teacher certification is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree and an approved teacher preparation program. Both the traditional path of earning a bachelor’s degree that includes teacher preparation and the alternative certification path that involves completing teacher preparation after earning a bachelor’s degree are offered at many schools in the state and are equally valid ways of obtaining certification. More information on the differences between the two is provided in our certification section. Once you have your teaching certificate, you can start applying to jobs in the School District of Philadelphia. We have listed steps to finding a job as a teacher in Philadelphia below.
Step 1: Complete the online application.
The first step in the process is to complete the School Board of Philadelphia’s online application. You will need to include a cover letter, resume, references, lesson plan, and data exercise with your application form.
Step 2: Complete a phone interview.
If your application is accepted for further processing, you will be contacted for a general telephone interview. At this stage of the process, you will either be accepted into the teacher job pool, which enables you to apply to specific job postings, or you will be rejected from the process.
Step 3: Attend school interviews.
Once you are in the teacher pool, you will be able to apply to job postings online that match your skills. If you are chosen as a candidate, you will attend an in-person interview at the school. If you are accepted, the principal of the school will inform the school board central office and you will receive an official offer letter.
Step 4: Send the required documentation.
Before you can begin work, you will be required to send several documents and clearances to the school board, including a transcript, proof of Mandatory Reporter training, a criminal history check, a medical form and TB test, a sexual misconduct/abuse disclosure clearance, and a direct deposit form for payroll. Once your documents are received, you will be able to begin teaching.
The School District of Philadelphia
440 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130
How to Become a Substitute Teacher with the Philadelphia School District
Substitute teaching positions in the School Board of Philadelphia are managed by a third-party organization, ESS. If you want to work as a substitute teacher, you should apply directly to ESS using the online application form. You will need to have a bachelor’s degree, a TB test less than a year old, two reference letters, an official transcript, and any other clearances requested by the agency.
Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in Philadelphia
Working in private or charter schools in Philadelphia is another option for aspiring teachers. Unlike the public school system, private schools may hire teachers without teacher certification; however, they may prefer you have certification or relevant experience. Each school hires teachers directly and you will need to browse online to find postings or contact schools directly to learn about open positions. The hiring process commonly involves submitting a resume and cover letter and then attending an in-person interview. There are many well-known private and charter schools that offer Philadelphia teaching jobs, including schools with religious affiliations or curriculum specializations.
The Largest K-12 Schools in Philadelphia
We compiled the following table to help you compare the largest public, charter, and private schools in Philadelphia that may be hiring qualified teachers.
|School||Type||Grade Level||# Students||Student-Teacher |
|Mayfair Elementary School||Public||K-8||1,629||22:1|
|Gilbert Spruance School||Public||PK-8||1,409||18:1|
|Anne Frank School||Public||PK-5||1,302||20:1|
|CCA Baldi Middle School||Public||6-8||1,422||19:1|
|Woodrow Wilson Middle School||Public||6-8||1,319||18:1|
|Louis H. Farrell School||Public||K-8||1,116||21:1|
|Northeast High School||Public||9-12||3,308||30:1|
|Lincoln High School||Public||9-12||1,661||18:1|
|George Washington High School||Public||9-12||1,257||17:1|
|Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School||Charter||K-12||2,430||15:1|
|Olney Charter High School||Charter||9-12||1,984||16:1|
|First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School||Charter||K-12||1,807||16:1|
|Springside Chestnut Hill Academy||Private||PK-12||1,070||8:1|
|Germantown Friends School||Private||PK-12||1,064||8:1|
|William Penn Charter School||Private||PK-12||964||6:1|
See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.
Philadelphia Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook
In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that kindergarten teachers in Philadelphia earned an average salary of $59,670, compared to an average salary of $70,290 for elementary school teachers and an average salary of $67,180 for secondary school teachers.2 Middle school teachers in Philadelphia earned an even higher average, at $72,290 per year.2 These averages were comparable with national averages for the same occupations.2,3
Projections for teaching jobs in the Philadelphia metro suggest conservative growth of 6.82% for preschool teachers, 5.56% for kindergarten teachers, 5.34% for elementary school teachers, 5.66% for middle school teachers, and 5.51% for secondary school teachers through 2026.4 However, additional openings are projected due to replacements from retirements and other labor market shifts rather than new job postings.4
Philadelphia Teacher Shortage Areas
The US Department of Education bases some student loan forgiveness programs on teacher shortage areas, meaning that your chances of qualifying for loan forgiveness may be stronger if you are teaching a subject that has been formally identified as a shortage area. You may also qualify for other funding opportunities or a more competitive salary based on your endorsement(s). Note that shortage areas may change from year to year, so you should be sure to check with state education agencies, your selected education program, and your student loan providers about funding options. For the 2020-2021 school year, the following subject areas were recognized as shortage areas in Philadelphia (statewide):5
- Academically Advanced-Gifted Education (All Grades)
- Art and Music Education (All Grades)
- Career and Technical Education (7-12)
- Elementary Education (PreK-4, 4-8)
- English Language Arts (7-12)
- English as a Second Language (All Grades)
- Life Sciences (7-12)
- Mathematics (7-12)
- Physical Education (All Grades)
- Reading and Literacy (All Grades)
- Special Education-Generic (All Grades)
- Special Education-Language and Speech (All Grades)
- World Languages (All)
- Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools
- School Board of Philadelphia: Teacher Job Opportunities
- Teach Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT): Local teachers’ union representing over 11,000 Philadelphia teachers and support staff.
- Philadelphia Home and School Council (PHSC): A nonprofit organization that engages teachers, parents, and caregivers to promote quality education in the Philadelphia School District.
- Teacher Action Group: Philadelphia: Policy activist group that works to strengthen teachers’ roles and influence in the education system.
Philadelphia Teaching Jobs Boards
There are many job boards online that can help you find jobs in public and private schools in Philadelphia. You can also check our jobs board to search for teaching jobs in Philadelphia now.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the starting Phildelphia teacher salary?
Answer: For the 2019-2020 school year, new teachers with a bachelor’s degree started at an annual salary of $46,267 plus benefits and incentives.6 Teachers with a master’s degree started at a higher salary, at $47,628 per year, while doctorally-trained teachers started at a salary of $53,750 per year.6 Philadelphia teachers typically receive annual increases and are also eligible for additional pay, such as hourly pay for supervising extracurricular activities or teaching in summer school.6
Question: How do I apply to be a substitute teacher in Philadelphia?
Answer: Substitute teachers are hired and managed by a third-party service provider, ESS. You can apply to the substitute pool through the ESS website. Note that all prospective substitutes must have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Question: How much do substitute teachers in Philadelphia make?
Answer: Substitute teachers in Philadelphia public schools are paid a daily rate. Uncertified teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree are paid $126.76 per day, which rises to $160.10 per day for certified teachers.7 Long-term substitute positions pay $200 per day beginning with the 21st day of a long-term assignment.7 Teachers who are certified and retired from the School District of Philadelphia receive $224.06 per day during substitute assignments ($229.92 per day for long-term assignments).7
Table Notes and References:
1. Niche, Largest Schools in Philadelphia: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/largest-schools/t/philadelphia-philadelphia-pa/
1. The School District of Philadelphia, Our Schools: https://www.philasd.org/about/
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_37980.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
4. Pennsylvania Occupational Employment, 2016-2026 Long-Term Projections: https://www.workstats.dli.pa.gov/Pages/default.aspx
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas, Pennsylvania, 2020-2021: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
6. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers 2019 Salary Schedule: https://www.pft.org/sites/default/files/aft-salary-schedules-final-12.11.20.pdf
7. ESS, Substitute Pay Rates for the School District of Philadelphia: https://library.ess.com/hubfs/ESS%202022%20School%20District%20of%20Philadelphia%20Pay%20Chart%206.14.22.pdf