HARRISBURG – Senator Ryan Aument (R-36) has introduced legislation that would change the burdensome and expensive certification requirements for vocational teachers.
In current practice, vocational teachers in Pennsylvania must earn 78 credits over a period of 11 years in order to comply with Career and Technical Education (CTE) license requirements. This includes a number of general education credits that may have no bearing on the subjects the teacher will cover in the classroom.
“Pennsylvania loses many qualified CTE teachers simply because our licensure requirements are much more extensive than other states. The need for skilled trades is growing rapidly, so we need to do whatever we can to increase access and encourage great teachers to stay here in Pennsylvania and educate our students,” Aument said. “Some of the required classes are completely irrelevant to the subject matter that is taught in classrooms and has no impact on a teacher’s ability to prepare students to enter the workforce. This only serves to push good, qualified teachers away.”
Aument noted that vocational teachers are required to have at least four years of industry experience prior to teaching and are already experts in their field before they set foot in the classroom. The CTE licensure requirements are designed to help vocational teachers learn proper teaching strategies to better educate students.
“It is important to find the right balance between ensuring our teachers are qualified to do the job and not overburdening them with completely unnecessary classes that only waste their time and the taxpayers’ money,” Aument said. “We need to use common sense when setting standards for certification, and that process starts with eliminating any requirement that is unlikely to actually benefit teachers and students.”
Aument’s proposal, Senate Bill 1104, would reduce the number of credits required for licensure from 78 hours to 60 hours – a level that is more competitive with other states. The plan would also require the state Department of Education to form an advisory committee to review program guidelines every five years to make sure the licensure requirements are meeting the needs of teachers and students.
Contact: Stephanie Buchanan (717) 787-4420