Washington Teaching Certification

washington

Learn how to become a teacher in Washington (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:

Washington Educ. Statistics

Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary $57,760
Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary $59,470
Teacher Retention (?) 94%
Average Admin. Salary $97,960
Vacation Wks/Yr 15

Getting Involved...

Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country's overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how Washington measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).

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Learn about your Governor's views and voting record with regard to education. (see Washington Governor's website).
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Hold your public servants accountable. It is our duty as residents of Washington.
Help Make Education A Priority 

 

Initial Washington Teaching Certification

With over 295 school districts in the state, Washington is in need of effective, supportive teachers who will lead their schools to educational prosperity. Washington's teachers seek to train students to think analytically, comprehend complex tasks, and understand how performance and effort drive future career aspirations.

Today, more than ever, students need teachers who understand the complexities of the changing classroom and cutting edge teaching methods that will help lead students on the right path. If you're interested in committing to this noble effort, where should you start?

education

Education Requirements

Expedite this process -- Click Here to learn more about USC's online Masters and PhD programs.

First-time teacher certification applicants in Washington must apply for their Residency Teacher Certificate.

The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) requires teachers to earn at least bachelor's degrees in addition to completing approved teacher preparation programs from accredited colleges or universities. Teacher preparation programs help potential teachers learn the ins and outs of teaching, while providing quality education about instructional methods and teaching techniques.

Explore a list of all teacher preparation programs in Washington here.

During their teacher education programs, candidates choose between a variety of subject endorsement areas to focus on. Some of these subject areas and grade levels include:

All Grade Levels
  • Bilingual
  • Designated Arts:
    • Dance
    • Music: Choral
    • Music: General
    • Music: Instrumental
    • Theatre Arts
    • Visual Arts
  • Designated World Languages
  • English Language Learner
  • Health/Fitness
  • Library Media
  • Reading
  • Special Education

Preschool-Third Grade
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
Elementary Middle Level
  • Elementary Education
  • Middle Level Humanities
  • Middle Level Mathematics
  • Middle Level Science
Secondary
  • Designated Vocational/Career and Technical Areas
    • Agriculture Education
    • Business and Marketing Education
    • Family and Consumer Sciences Education
    • Technology Education
  • Designated Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Earth and Space Science
    • Physics
  • English Language Arts
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

If applicants have completed out-of-state teacher preparation programs and received certification out-of-state, they may verify three years of K-12 experience and receive their residency certification in Washington. See certification reciprocity in Washington.

Types of Certification

The OSPI offers two levels of teacher certification:

Residency Teacher Certification: This is the initial level of teacher certification. This license is valid for two years of successful teaching, after which teachers must either apply for the next level of certification or renew their Residency Certification.

Professional Teacher Certification: The advanced level of certification offered to teachers who have completed two years of teaching with the same employer.

For more information on types of certification, see License Renewal and Reinstatement.

exam

Examinations

Teacher candidates must complete two examinations proving their knowledge and mastery of content and teaching methods.

The WEST-B Skills Test asks teachers to complete testing sections on reading, writing, and mathematics. Teachers show their understanding of basic problem-solving and critical thinking in subjects that are critical to the teaching profession.

Test scores are calculated on a scale of 100 to 300. To pass the WEST-B Skills Test, candidates must earn test scores of at least 240 on each subsection.

Out-of-state applicants have the option of completing the CBEST (California and Oregon only) or the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills Test in place of the WEST-B.

Teachers seeking certain endorsement areas in Washington are also required to take specific endorsement area tests. Teachers taking the WEST-E endorsement test must show their knowledge of specific subjects, including:

  • Agriculture Education
  • Bilingual Education
  • Biology
  • Business and Marketing Education
  • Chemistry
  • Dance
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learner
  • Family Consumer Special Education
  • Health/Fitness
  • History
  • Latin Language
  • Library Media
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Level Humanities
  • Middle Level Math
  • Middle Level Science
  • Music: Choral
  • Music: General (Neither Choral nor Instrumental)
  • Music: Instrumental
  • Physics
  • Reading
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education
  • Technology Education
  • Theatre Arts
  • Traffic Safety Education
  • Visual Arts
  • World Languages
  • World Languages – Latin
experience

Experience Requirements

Students of teacher preparation programs are given opportunities to gain real-world experience as student teachers. Student teaching gives students much-needed experience in the field of education, helping them to adjust to life in the classroom.

In order to be eligible for teacher endorsements, candidates must complete student teaching in their endorsement area. Student teachers are paired with supervisors who help give them advice and guide them through the teaching process.

document application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

Teacher candidates must fulfill all requirements before applying for teacher certification in Washington. Most first-time applicants must meet the standards set in the Residency Certificate, including:

  • Evidence of good moral character and personal fitness
  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited university
  • Completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program, including student teaching
  • Completion of one teacher endorsement area
  • Completion of the WEST-B and WEST-E skills tests

Candidates must completely fill out the Washington Teacher Certification Application, marking which certification they are seeking. First-time applicants should request the Residency Certificate.

Candidates must submit applicable forms and information listed in the Application Checklist to local certification offices found here.

history

Criminal History Background Check

Washington teacher applicants are required to submit to fingerprinting and a background check for safety concerns. Both the Washington State Police and FBI conduct the checks which are then sent to the OSPI office and entered into the Educational Data System.

Fingerprint cards may be requested from the OSPI, and then taken to a local law enforcement agency for fingerprinting. Then applicants should send the completed cards with a $46.25 application fee to:

OSPI
Attn: Fiscal Office
PO Box 47200
Olympia, WA 98504-7200

For more information on background checking and fingerprinting, see the OSPI website.

contact

Contact Information

The OSPI office may be contacted at (360) 725-6400 or by e-mail at cert@k12.wa.us.
Additionally, candidates may visit the office in person at:

Old Capital Building, PO BOX 47200
600 Washington St. S.E.,
Olympia, WA 98504-7200

**Teacher Retention Sources - U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”), and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.

State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.