PCE Placement Guidelines & Restrictions

Preclinical Experiences (PCE) WGU does not intend for you to spend all of the time in your preclinical experiences (PCE) placement with just one teacher, but rather to have an experience that spans the full range of grades and/or subjects aligned with your licensure/certification program in your approved school. The PCE placement guidelines outlined below are designed to honor the intent of each program.


Observation Requirements

You are required to complete a total of 60-75 hours of in-school observations within the appropriate setting for your degree and licensure program as outlined below. The number of hours you will be required to complete will depend on when you enrolled in the university. Please consult your student mentor to verify your enrollment date and program version.


  • Enrollment in any program prior to 8/1/17 = 60 hours required
  • Enrollment in any math program on or after 8/1/17 = 75 hours required
  • Enrollment in any program on or after 9/1/17 = 75 hours required
  • All students licensing through Missouri = 75 hours required

If you are a long term substitute (4 weeks or more), a paraprofessional, or a teacher of record (TOR), you may complete up to 30 hours of your PCE observation hours in your own classroom as long as your classroom meets the guidelines below and you are not in the PBMA12, MATMA12 or BAMA12 programs. If you are a substitute that is not in the same classroom for 4 weeks or more, even if the grade level and subject align, you may not count your time spent substituting toward your PCE observation hours. You are still required to complete the full 60-75 hours total even if you complete 30 those hours in your own classroom.


You must first receive PCE approval before you begin PCE coursework.  Your PCE course(s) must be included in the term in which you complete observations and PCE cannot be completed while you are on term break. You must be an active student to complete WGU coursework.


Placement Requirements

Your placement must be at the appropriate level in a U.S. school that meets WGU and state licensure requirements. Different states and different WGU programs have specific placement requirements. Placements must be in a traditional, on ground setting (residential treatment facilities, prisons, home schools, or virtual placements do not meet this requirement). WGU does not allow field placements to be waived or shortened regardless of a teacher candidate’s previous experience. 


Note: International placements are not allowed with the exception of US Department of Defense (DOD) schools. If you are in a DOD school, be sure to contact fieldplacement@wgu.edu before seeking placement.


  • Early Childhood (ECE)
    • Students will need to complete PCE in three areas: infant/toddler, prekindergarten/kindergarten, and grades 1-3 multi-subject classroom. 20 hours of observation and participation at each level for a total of 60 hours is required for your program.
  • Elementary Education (BAISK8, PBELK8, MATELK8, MAES, BAES)
    • A standard 1-5 grade, multi-subject elementary classrooms or 6th grade non-departmentalized multi-subject elementary classroom.
  • Mathematics (BAMA9, MATMA9, PBMA9, BAMA12, MATMA12, PBMA9)
    • A standard 7-8 grade, middle/Jr. high school where the subject aligns with your program and license you plan to obtain.
  • Secondary Education (MATENG12, PBSS12, MATSS12, MATSC, MASE, PBSC, BASC)
    • A standard 9-12 grade, high school where the subject aligns with your program and license you plan to obtain. For students in the PBMA12*, MATMA12 and BAMA12 programs, the PCE placement must occur in middle school effective for all new PCE applications opened after 1/1/17.  
  • Special Education (BASP)
    • A standard 1-5 grade multi-subject elementary classroom, or 6th grade non-departmentalized multi-subject elementary classroom, with at least one IEP student and hosted by a regular elementary educator (resource or self-contained special education classrooms are not authorized).

Note: There are many districts that require WGU to arrange the PCE placement. If you see your preferred district on this list, you must contact fieldplacement@wgu.edu for assistance to arrange your PCE placement.  


If the district(s) that you have selected in your “School and District Request” task on your Field Experience page require WGU to facilitate the placement, you will need to work with your placement coordinator to secure a PCE placement 4-6 months prior to your PCE Expected Start Date. You must have your FEPRA, basic skills exam, and background clearance tasks completed before your placement coordinator can start the placement process.


District placements can take up to six months to secure and placements are not guaranteed. We encourage you to start looking for placement in a private school or district that allows students to setup their own placement 4-6 months prior to your PCE Expected Start Date and maintain close contact with your placement coordinator. You may be asked to find your own placement in a district that allows students to do so if your placement coordinator is unable to find a placement for you after 6 months, or 30 days prior to PCE.


WGU is committed to providing a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff. WGU will only approve potential preclinical or demonstration teaching sites that are expected to fully comply with all relevant ordinances and laws related to safety and health and will not knowingly place a teacher candidate at a site that is out of compliance with such ordinances or laws. If there are questions related to your approved site, please contact fieldplacement@wgu.edu