Secondary Education Certification

Secondary Education Certification Master of Arts Teaching (M.A.T.) - Spanish

About Spanish K-12 Teaching Certification

Help students master Spanish language skills and build cultural understanding.

Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the United States – and Spanish language teachers are in demand. As a Spanish teacher with a Master of Arts Teaching degree from PennWest California, you can introduce elementary, middle and high school students to this popular world language. 

PennWest California’s hybrid (online and in-person) master's degree program allows career changers or recent college graduates with an undergraduate background in Spanish to achieve initial teacher certification. The program combines core pedagogy classes with Spanish teaching courses that provide essential real-world experience, so you can become an effective classroom leader.

Graduates with Level I teaching certification and a master's degree in Spanish education from PennWest California are prepared for employment teaching Spanish to children in grades K-12 in Pennsylvania.

Teacher preparation has always been our mission.

  • PennWest California has been training top-quality educators since its founding in 1852.
  • PennWest California's teaching programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and have been accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) since 1954. We are continuing with the successor organization, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
  • PennWest California’s partnerships with local school districts open doors to exceptional observation and student teaching experiences.


Hybrid model: In this hybrid program, Spanish education courses are delivered online, so you can balance career, family and personal obligations. Field experiences and a short-term residency enrich the online education that precedes your student-teaching experience.

Students that need additional coursework to fulfill the Pennsylvania Department of Education Requirements may need to take on-campus courses.

Catch up on content: PennWest California expects MAT candidates to have completed required content courses in Spanish during their undergraduate education. However, this flexible program enables you to take a limited number of content courses, if needed, before your student-teaching experience begins.

Classroom experience: Program graduates stand out as Spanish teachers – and in the job market – because they complete 20 to 24 hours of fieldwork per semester in assigned Pennsylvania schools before their full-time student teaching experience. Few schools can match this blend of online coursework and applied education.


33 Million 
Number of Spanish speakers in the United States.
Number of credits required to complete the MAT: Spanish program if student enters with all prerequisites fullfiled.
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Degree Benefits

Pennsylvania and surrounding states have a shortage of educators with a master’s degree in teaching foreign languages, and Spanish teachers are in demand. Whether you have a background in education or are switching careers, PennWest California’s master’s degree in Spanish language education will lead you from concepts to application, so you’ll be ready to teach children of all ages.

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Graduate Outcomes

What does a Spanish teacher do? Graduates of the MAT program are prepared to teach Spanish language and culture to students in grades K-12 at public or private schools. They thrive as foreign language program coordinators, evaluators and curriculum specialists, too. Graduates also may build careers in alternative teaching situations or corporate training.


Curriculum, Admission Requirements and Related Programs

Founded as a teacher's college, PennWest California has a 160-year reputation of producing top-quality educators. Our rigorous, discipline-specific courses will deepen your spanish knowledge base while equipping you with the latest theories and practices in education. All students are required to have current school clearances to participate in field experience and sign up for courses.



Course Credits
Required Courses
MSE 641  Orientation to 7-12 Education 3
MSE 642  Standards-Based Instruction in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 643  Content Area Literacy 3
MSE 644  Instructional Strategies in 7-12 3
MSE 645  Technology Integration in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 646  Assessments and Interventions 3
MSE 647  Classroom Management in 7-12 Education 3
MSE 656  Methods of Foreign Language Teaching 3
MSE 661  Student Teaching 9
Total Credits 33

Undergraduate Content Course Requirements

Certification requirements for the Pennsylvania Department of Education include appropriate certification testing. A minimum of 30 credits of content area coursework is required. These courses may be taken at the undergraduate level. Students must demonstrate college coursework with a grade of C or higher in:

  • Elementary Spanish 1
  • Elementary Spanish 2
  • Intermediate Spanish 1
  • Intermediate Spanish 2
  • Conversational Spanish
  • Spanish phonetics
  • Spanish grammar and composition
  • Spanish literature
  • Spanish literature or culture
  • Two foreign language electives

Note: Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements are subject to change.

Chapter 49-2

Chapter 49-2 requirements (12 credits) mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education must be met in order to receive certification. Courses may be satisfied with previously taken undergraduate or graduate courses, subject to approval of the program coordinator. Undergraduate 49-2 courses cannot be accepted for the graduate special education add-on certification program for students who later complete that program. If not already completed, the following courses are needed in addition to the requirements above:

  • ESP 610  Special Education Foundations and Collaboration
  • ESP 701  Introduction to Behavior Analysis
  • ESP 613  Evidence-based Practices in Secondary Inclusion
  • EDU 650  Supporting the English Language Learner

Student Teaching

Applications for spring student teaching are due October 1. Applications for fall student teaching are due April 1.

Student teaching requirements include:

  • A GPA of 3.0 or higher for all courses, including undergraduate content course requirements
  • A grade of C or higher for all required courses
  • Completion of all required courses prior to student teaching
  • Required clearances
  • No incomplete (I) grades
  • Passing of required Praxis tests
  • TB tests
  • Liability insurance
  • Education requirements, such as seminars and portfolios

Program Notes

  • The summer courses require a two-day residency in July.
  • Clearances are required at all times throughout the program and must be updated every July.
  • LiveText Watermark software is required for this program. 



Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.80 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.80 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.80 will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid. 

Program Requirements

  • Depending on the area of certification chosen, the department will provide guidance if any foundation undergraduate courses need to be completed before applying for student teaching
  • Clearances:  Students are responsible for updating clearances annually through the Office of Field Experience.  In addition, clearances must be on file before applying for student teaching  - Acts 24, 34, 114, and 151

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Phone: 724-938-4187

Out of State Students:
All students who will be seeking certification outside of Pennsylvania are responsible for securing and following the certification requirements in the state in which they intend to apply for certification.

Related Programs


A professor online teaching.

Online Experts

For more than a decade, PennWest California has been recognized for the quality of its online master’s degree programs. Our faculty are experts in online teaching strategies and techniques. Several work as national reviewers for the Quality Matters organization, which assesses online courses for quality.

Students write in the library.


PennWest California’s Master of Arts Teaching degree prepares you for future success. Completing a master’s degree while earning initial certification helps new teachers meet some of the requirements for Level 2 certification as they continue in their careers.

A student in cap and gown.


PennWest California graduate Haley Bashada ’16, ’19 teaches Spanish at California Area High School. In collaboration with PennWest California, her Spanish IV students completed a specialized course in Spanish for Professionals: Medical Spanish. “All of them will probably use it at some point in their lives, professionally or personally,” she says.

Spanish Certification Faculty

Dr. Marcia Hoover
Professor; field coordinator, Department of Secondary Education and Administrative Leadership

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Dr. Connie Monroe

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Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge
Associate Professor and ESL Program Coordinator

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Dr. Michael Perrotti
Education Department Chair; University-Wide Curriculum Committee Chair; Associate Professor

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Michael Ulderich
Assistant Professor

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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.