The College of Arts and Architecture

The 40 Hour Work Experience Requirement




Future music teachers should become familiar with the educational settings in which teachers instruct preK-12 children from various cultural and social backgrounds. Therefore, all Penn State music education majors must interact with learners similar to those they will eventually teach (through volunteer or paid experiences in education settings such as public or private school classrooms, day care centers, summer camps, and other youth activities). This promotes an understanding of the learning process from a teachers’ perspective, contributes to sound decision-making about academic and career goals, and helps prepare educators for their work with diverse learners. Documentation of these activities also contributes to a professional portfolio that will be valued by future employers.


  1. You must provide evidence to demonstrate that you observed and/or interacted with children in group learning environments for at least 40 hours of total contact time to fulfill the requirement. An individual experience must include a minimum of three (3) hours of contact time in a particular setting to be eligible for review. The requirement must be fulfilled through a minimum of two different settings.

  2. Children in the observed settings must be preK to 12th grade (up to age 18). It is recommended that experiences should include interaction with children of a variety of ages within this range.

  3. Experiences completed after high school graduation will be eligible for review.

  4. Experiences may not take place in the school/school district that you attended.

  5. A minimum of 20 hours of experiences must be in a music education setting.

  6. A minimum of 20 hours of experiences must be in settings in which the majority of children have special needs (as identified by the school or institution).

  7. You must submit a completed application for each setting in which you observed/interacted with children. A music education faculty member will evaluate the validity of each documented experience. You will be notified via email regarding your progress toward the fulfillment of the work experience requirement. The 40-Hour Field Experience Documentation Form may be downloaded here or can be obtained from the Undergrad Music Education Forms rack on the wall outside the Music Education Office (233A Music Building I).  If there are no paper forms available on the rack, see the staff assistant in the Music Education Office.

  8. If you desire an experience to count for working with students with special needs, indicate this on the application and provide a detailed explanation about the students and the setting in which you observed them.

  9. A supervisor or cooperating teacher (someone who can verify your participation) must complete the relevant section of each application. It is recommended that you ask the supervisor to do do so near the end of (but still during) the experience, as this can be more difficult after an experience has concluded.

  10. It is recommended that you provide detailed explanation about the experiences on the applications (use the space provided) so as to avoid the need for further communication, delayed approval, or denial of the application due to incomplete or inaccurate information.

If you have questions, contact the Music Education staff assistant at 814-863-0418.