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Qualifying for Membership


Public school employers must report all of their employees to PSERS.  Whether you are a full-time or part-time employee, a record (account) is created for you at PSERS. Not everyone with an account however, will qualify for membership.

Full-Time Employees

If you are hired as a full-time employee, membership with PSERS is mandatory.  Members who work full-time contribute a percentage of their salary towards a retirement benefit from the first day of employment.

Part-Time Employees

Part-time employees, unless you waive membership in PSERS, must meet certain qualifications to become a PSERS member. The initial qualification requirements must be met within one fiscal year, not across multiple fiscal years.  If you were hired as:

  • Part-Time Salaried, you are eligible for membership from your first day of employment.
  • Part-Time Hourly, you must work at least 500 hours to become eligible for membership.
  • Part-Time Per Diem, you must work at least 80 days to become eligible for membership.  

Your employer may deduct your contributions from your first day of employment or begin deductions after you qualify for membership.  Once you qualify for membership, deductions become mandatory and you retain that membership until a break in membership.

Employer Participation with PSERS  

You are potentially eligible for membership in PSERS if you are an employee who works for:

  • A Pennsylvania public school district
  • An intermediate unit
  • An area vocational-technical or career technology school
  • A participating charter school
  • A community college
  • A state-owned college or university
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • The State Board of Education
  • The Thaddeus Stevens State School of Technology
  • The Pennsylvania State Oral School for the Deaf  

Charter Schools - Charter schools are considered public schools but not all participate in PSERS.  If you are a member of PSERS and decide to begin employment with a charter school, you should verify that the charter school participates in PSERS.  

Colleges - Employees working for a community college, Penn State University, or other state-owned University may generally select a retirement plan from among a few plans, including PSERS.  Your employer should be able to discuss with you all retirement plans available to you.  

Qualifying for Membership When Working for Multiple Employers  

PSERS realizes it is difficult for employers to determine when you work for more than one employer and you qualify for membership in PSERS on a combined employer basis.  We automatically determine this and notify your employer(s) when to begin retirement deductions.    

If you qualify for membership and the employer did not withhold contributions from the first day of employment, PSERS will automatically send a Statement of Amount Due to both you and the employer.  This statement represents the employee contributions that should have been withheld from your pay and sent to PSERS.   

The Statement of Amount Due does provide information on different payment plans for your convenience.  

Potential Non-Qualifying Job Positions  

You may not qualify for membership in PSERS if you work in one of the following classifications:  

  • Tax Collector
  • Solicitor
  • Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Consultant
  • Psychologist

Non-Qualifying Job Positions  

School crossing guards are prohibited by law from membership in PSERS.  Only a borough, a first- or second-class township, or a third class city may employ persons in such positions even though a school district may assume the hiring and oversight of these employees.   

Any employment in a private school, including colleges and parochial schools, does not qualify for membership in PSERS.  PSERS is a retirement plan expressly for public school employment and employers directly connected to public school employment.

History of Qualification

Click here for Membership Qualification Rules as it relates to the Purchasing of School Service (PDF)