The Washington Teaching and Certification Resource (2023)

    Washington Alternative Teacher Certification
    Teaching Schools in WA
    Teaching Reciprocity Guide

Those looking to become educators in Washington must first obtain state teacher certification. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction within the state’s Department of Education oversees the process, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Washington

All Washington public school teachers are required to hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved Washington teacher preparation program, and pass the required content exams. There are also alternative paths to certification available to those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a traditional educator preparation program in Washington.

Washington uses a tiered system for teacher certification. Those following the traditional pathway earn the Residency Certificate, the initial teaching certificate for new teachers who completed the traditional route to licensure in Washington. A Residency Certificate is valid while the teacher successfully completes two years of teaching in Washington, and it may then be reissued for a time period of five years.

The second level of Washington teaching certification is the Professional Certificate. This license is issued to those who hold a Residency Certificate and complete a ProTeach Portfolio, obtain National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification, or have a comparable combination of education and experience. Professional Certificate teachers must complete two successful years of teaching and take coursework relating to identifying and assisting victims of abuse.

Quick Guide

  • I want to be a teacher in Washington, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
  • I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Washington’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
  • I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
  • I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity.

The Washington Teaching and Certification Resource (1)

(Video) Overview to Washington State Teacher Certification

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Washington

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in WA through 20262

One of the most important steps towards Washington teacher certification is completing a state-approved teacher preparation program from an accredited school. When evaluating potential programs, it is highly advisable to ensure that programs considered hold approval through the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board, as programs that lack approval will not qualify graduates for certification. You can compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Washington schools page.

Those considering an online or out-of-state teacher preparation program should confirm that the school is accredited by its corresponding regional agency and state board of education. The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board looks for accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. Without this accreditation, graduates of such programs are unlikely to qualify for certification in Washington.

(Video) How to Get a Teaching Certificate / License Online (TEACH-NOW Overview)

In addition to regional accreditation, schools may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Although CAEP accreditation is not mandatory, it is considered a marker of high quality in terms of curriculum and process in the teacher education sector.

Washington Teacher Education Requirements

Teachers in Washington are required to earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. In addition, a Washington teacher preparation program that has been approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board must be completed. There are currently 30 schools in Washington that have state-approved traditional programs for teacher education.

Washington Teacher Testing Requirements

The Washington Teaching and Certification Resource (3)In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree and completing a teacher preparation program, those who wish to become a teacher in Washington must pass a basic skills test and a content area test. The basic skills test is called the Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (WEST-B), which assesses skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. Candidates with high scores on the SAT or ACT may have the WEST-B testing requirement waived. The content area test that is required in Washington is called the WEST-E. Teacher candidates must pass this test, or an acceptable equivalent, in their chosen subject area(s) in order to earn subject endorsements on their certificates.

Additional Washington Teacher Certification Requirements

Similar to most US states, Washington State requires every teacher applicant to submit to a state and federal background check. Applicants may complete the fingerprint background check process at an Educational Service District (ESD), law enforcement agency, or private fingerprinting service. For specific instructions on completing this requirement, consult the Office of Professional Practices.

Washington Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all of the prerequisites are completed, candidates must apply for a license through the state’s teacher licensure department. Application documents should include the following:

  • Proof of clearance of background check.
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
  • Proof of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
  • Passing scores on the required examinations.
  • Completed application for teacher certification in Washington.
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.

Most initial certificates can be processed through the state’s E-Certification portal. Visit the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board for further details on Washington teacher certification.

(Video) Fox 4 News Now

Washington Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

During the 2016-2017 school year, there were 2,436 K-12 public schools in Washington, with an estimated student enrollment of just over 1.1 million.3 With approximately 58,815 teachers, this gave Washington a student-to-teacher ratio of 19:1.3

According to projections, there should be 2,920 average annual job opportunities for elementary school teachers, 1,000 average annual job opportunities for middle school teachers, and 1,510 average annual job opportunities for secondary school teachers in Washington through 2026.2 The average annual salary for Washington elementary school teachers is $65,180, while middle school teachers earn an annual average of $65,630 and secondary school teachers earn an annual average of $67,550.4 The Washington Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, is a good resource for new and experienced teachers interested in working in Washington State.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers11,050$32,960
Preschool Teachers, Special Education660$63,400
Kindergarten Teachers7,870$62,330
Elementary School Teachers26,900$65,180
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School4,570$65,400
Middle School Teachers9,070$65,630
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,210$64,220
Secondary School Teachers14,560$67,550
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,120$66,400
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education2,840$68,170

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Washington

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Washington broadly has the following shortages5:

  • Art and Music Education (Art, Music), Pre-K-12
  • Career and Technical Education (Agro-Science and Natural Resources, Business, Marketing and Information Technology (BMIT), Family and Consumer Science, Vocational Technology), Pre-K-12
  • Computer Science (Computer Science), Pre-K-12
  • Core Subjects (Elementary Education), Pre-K-12
  • English as a Second Language (Bilingual Education), Pre-K-12
  • Health and Physical Fitness (General), Pre-K-12
  • Language Arts (General, Reading), Pre-K-12
  • Mathematics (General), Pre-K-12
  • Science (General), Pre-K-12
  • Social Studies (General), Pre-K-12
  • Special Education (All Exceptionalities), Pre-K-12
  • Support Staff (Counseling, Nurse, Psychologist, Speech Language Pathologist/Audiologist), Pre-K-12
  • World Languages (Spanish), Pre-K-12

Washington Teacher Interview

  • Kindergarten Teacher, Rebecca Ross

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do you become a substitute teacher in Washington?

Answer: Differing from many states, Washington requires its substitute teachers to meet the same licensing standards as regular classroom teachers and apply for certification. Therefore, the minimum requirements are completing a bachelor’s degree and a state-approved teacher preparation program along with earning passing scores on the state-mandated exams. Candidates who hold a regular certificate in another state with at least three years of K-12 teaching experience may also qualify. Washington also offers an emergency substitute license which must be requested by the school.

(Video) Selecting the Right Instructional Resource

Question: How much do teachers in Washington State make?

Answer: Washington teachers from elementary to high school (excluding special and career/technical education) earn average annual salaries of over $66,000.4 Teacher salaries may be impacted by factors like school district, teacher qualifications, and grade level taught.

Question: Is there a teacher shortage in Washington State?

Answer: According to a teacher shortage report by the US Department of Education, Washington reports teacher shortages in areas like English as a second language (ESL), language arts, science, social studies, special education, art and music education, health/physical fitness, Spanish, career/technical education, and mathematics.5 Teachers specializing in one of these areas may find more job opportunities in the state.

The Washington Teaching and Certification Resource (6)

1. Washington State Department of Education:
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections:
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017:
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Washington:
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas:


Is the edTPA going away in Washington state? ›

ANNOUNCEMENT: In April 2021, the Washington Legislature approved state law, 2SHB 1028, eliminating the edTPA as a state requirement for teacher certification.

How do I become a certified teacher in Washington state? ›

Washington requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a state-approved teacher preparation program. Since you already have a bachelor's degree, you could enroll in a 'cert only' or master's program. Information on programs located in Washington(link is external).

Can you teach without certification in Washington state? ›

All educators must receive a residency teacher certificate to teach in Washington State.

How hard is it to become a teacher in Washington state? ›

Therefore, the minimum requirements are completing a bachelor's degree and a state-approved teacher preparation program along with earning passing scores on the state-mandated exams. Candidates who hold a regular certificate in another state with at least three years of K-12 teaching experience may also qualify.

Can I graduate without passing edTPA? ›

California requires a passing score of 41 for single subject candidates, and a 49 for multiple subject candidates (multiple subject candidates have an extra section for their edTPA). The edTPA is comprised of 15 rubrics on a 5 point scale (18 rubrics on a 5 point scale for Multiple Subject candidates).

Will the CalTPA be waived? ›

This means that California Educator Exam and Performance Assessment fees are now waived for eligible candidates as of July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023, or until funds are used.

How much do teachers get paid in Washington state? ›

How much does a Public School Teacher make in Washington? The average Public School Teacher salary in Washington is $59,215 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $49,455 and $72,200.

What disqualifies you from becoming a teacher in Washington state? ›

Anyone wishing to teach children must be clear of any sexually related offenses. This includes child molestation, sexual battery, or lewd and lascivious conduct against a minor or an adult. A sexual offender or predator need not even apply to teach children.

How many years does it take to become a teacher in Washington state? ›

Teacher Certification. This can be accomplished through any approved four-year college or university in Washington, and can be accomplished through an undergraduate program, or through a "fifth year" (post baccalaureate) program, or through a graduate (master's) program.

What states accept Washington teaching certificate? ›

Washington Teacher Reciprocity Agreements
AlabamaIndianaRhode Island
7 more rows

How long does it take to get a teaching certificate? ›

How many years do you have to study to be a teacher? The minimum number of years to become a qualified school teacher is four years.

Can I train to be a teacher while working? ›

Students who opt for a School Direct (salaried) training programme are employed as an unqualified teacher while they learn on the job. In some cases, this may be a school the student is already working at, or has an existing relationship with.

Do teachers get paid during summer break? ›

It's also worth noting that when teachers pay scales are set, the fact that we have good holidays will be factored in to that to some extent. However, none of that changes the fact that teachers pay is not pro-rata and then spread across the year: we are paid all year round, including receiving 13 weeks paid holidays.

Do student teachers get paid in Washington state? ›

How much does a Student Teacher make in Washington? As of Oct 15, 2022, the average annual pay for a Student Teacher in Washington is $38,192 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $18.36 an hour. This is the equivalent of $734/week or $3,182/month.

What do you need to teach in WA? ›

To teach in a Western Australian public school, including relief teaching, you must have a recognised tertiary teaching degree.
a four year Bachelor of Education in one of the following areas:
  1. early childhood education.
  2. primary education.
  3. middle years education.
  4. secondary education.
  5. other teaching specialisations.

How many people fail the edTPA? ›

Special Education has a 98% pass rate (64/65 candidates), Agriculture Education has a 97% pass rate (31/32 candidates), and Physical Education's rate is 94% (16/17 candidates).

What is the hardest part of edTPA? ›

Task 1 is often the most difficult and time-consuming component, and many teachers get overwhelmed. Allow time for it. Michelle assures us that if you take the time to complete Task 1 properly, Task 2 will be much easier and of higher quality.

What happens if I can't pass the edTPA? ›

If they do not pass, candidates should consult with a designated program faculty member to determine whether to retake the entire edTPA or retake one, two or three1 edTPA tasks to meet the state requirement.

How many times can you take the CalTPA? ›

Yes. You can write a CalTPA task up to three times. If you do not pass the CalTPA on your first attempt, your course instructor will coach you on ways you can improve your work.

What is the pass rate for CalTPA? ›

Assessment Data
TPA ModelProgram Type2018-2019
TPA ModelProgram TypeFirst time pass rate
8 more rows

Can I teach in California without a credential? ›

While it's not possible to teach in a California public school without a credential, you could still work in the following positions: Private school teacher: According to California state regulations, teacher certification is optional for private schools.

Which city in Washington pays teachers the most? ›

Top companies for Teachers in Washington State
  • Seattle Public Schools. 3.6 $50.94per hour. ...
  • Prince George's County Public Schools. 3.7 $46.18per hour. ...
  • Los Angeles Unified School District. 4.0 $45.48per hour. ...
  • Montgomery County Public Schools, MD. 4.1 $44.99per hour. ...
  • Clark County School District. ...
  • Show more companies.
6 days ago

What state is the highest paid for teachers? ›

Pennsylvania, California and New York have the highest average teacher salaries in the country, compared to all other occupations.

How much do teachers with a masters make in Washington state? ›

How much does a Master Teacher make in Washington? As of Oct 26, 2022, the average annual pay for a Master Teacher in Washington is $29,781 a year.

Can you be a teacher without a degree? ›

If you're passionate about becoming a teacher but lack a degree in education, a teaching certification program is your best option. A teaching certificate will provide the necessary coursework and student teaching experience to prepare you for state certification.

Can I teach in Washington with a California credential? ›

In Washington, educators must obtain a Washington certificate in order to serve in the public schools. Certificates or licenses from another state or jurisdiction do not cover employment in Washington.

What level degree do I need to be a teacher? ›

Bachelor of Education (BEd) Bachelor of Arts (BA) with QTS. Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS.

What are the requirements for a teaching certificate? ›

Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE)
  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science.
  • Minimum grade C Plus in KCSE and above.
  • C+ (plus) in the two subjects specialization.

What is the difference between masters in education and masters in teaching? ›

The primary distinction is that the master's in teaching focuses more directly on teaching and classroom management. In contrast, the master's in education is a broader degree, applicable to a classroom career but also to jobs in administration, curriculum development, and education policy.

What is a residency teacher in Washington state? ›

Washington issues the Residency Certificate to most first-time and out-of-state applicants for a regular teaching license. This certificate is valid until the holder is reported as employed by a Washington school district as a teacher with one and a half or more years of teaching experience.

What is the best state to be a teacher? ›

New York

Can I teach in Oregon with a Washington certificate? ›

If you have completed an accredited teacher preparation program or are a current teacher from another state, the state of Oregon will accept your current credentials and issue you a Transitional Teaching Certification.

Can I teach in Washington with a Texas teaching certificate? ›

You can apply for a teaching certificate in Washington State if you have completed an approved teacher preparation program, or hold a teaching certificate from another state and have three years of teaching experience.

What is the maximum age to become a teacher? ›

KPSC Age Limit and Age Relaxation

To apply for the teacher recruitment exam, a candidate must be between 21-42 years.

How long does the average teacher teach? ›

Years of teaching experience and grade level taughtTotalRural
Average number of years14.215.3
Years of teaching experience
34 more rows

How much do teachers get paid? ›

Let's get started! Data from the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics show that the average public school teacher salary nationwide is $63,645. In the United States, the average teacher earns $16.00 per hour.

Is 45 too old to become a teacher? ›

The short answer is: no, it's never too late to become a teacher.

Can I start teaching at 50? ›

Wherever you are in your journey to becoming a teacher, don't let your age be a factor. Students and schools need all kinds of teachers. Your experience will most likely be an asset: part of what makes your teaching and your classroom uniquely valuable to your school community. In short, it's never too late to teach!

Can I train to be a teacher at 40? ›

Whether you're a fresh graduate or have 30 years' experience in an entirely different industry, you are still capable of being a successful teacher and can make a meaningful impact on the students you teach. So, there's no need to worry about whether you're too old, or if there's a cut-off age limit.

Are teachers entitled to a lunch break? ›

It should be noted that all teachers are entitled to lunch and break times. However, the length of break and lunch times will be different from school to school.

What do teachers do in the summer for money? ›

Many teachers will work at restaurants, summer camps, or find some manual labor-type jobs that will work for the summer. With kids home from school, there are typically quite a few child-related jobs that need great employees.

Can teachers take time off during school year? ›


In accordance with the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document, a teacher must be available for work for 195 days in any school year. It has, however, been accepted that there are occasions when it is reasonable to allow teachers time off from their duties.

Do you get paid for teaching practice? ›

Longer, paid student teaching periods are the norm in alternative certification. Conversely, short unpaid student teaching experiences are standard in university settings. Either path to licensure may offer some flexibility, however. It's possible to get paid for student teaching at a teacher's college.

Why do you have to pay to student teach? ›

Student teaching is part of your college education, so not only do you not get paid, you also need to pay your college tuition. Because of this, it's important to put money aside to carry you through your student teaching.

How do I become a PE teacher in Washington state? ›

  1. Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in a Subject Related to Physical Education. ...
  2. Step 2: Complete a Washington State-Approved PE Teacher Preparation Program. ...
  3. Step 3: Apply for a Residency Certificate with a Health and Fitness Endorsement. ...
  4. Step 4: Manage Your Physical Education Residency Certificate.

What is a Level 1 teacher? ›

Post Level 1 teachers include underqualified teachers, teachers, senior teachers and master teachers. There is a distinction in the remuneration of teachers, with those underqualified with diploma qualifications for example, being paid with a 'Relative Education Qualification Value (REQV)' of 13.

How much is teacher registration WA? ›

Registration fee – new applicants

For an applicant holding a qualification from an accredited initial teacher education program or an equivalent conferred in Australia or New Zealand, the registration fee is either $136 (Provisional Registration) or $172 (Full or Non-Practising Registration).

Can I become a teacher with a diploma? ›

A diploma in teaching will often allow you to specialize in a certain field of teaching. For example a Diploma in Grade R Teaching will allow you to teach Grade R children only. This means that if you do not have the time or funds to take a full degree in teaching, a diploma might be the right path for you.

What states have dropped edTPA? ›

Effective beginning in the summer of 2020 Georgia and Wisconsin removed their edTPA requirements. Their experience provides valuable guidance for ISBE in reforming its teacher licensure system to address teacher shortage and diversity concerns among new teachers.

What is the difference between CalTPA and edTPA? ›

In California, edTPA is one of three tests candidates can take to earn a teaching credential. Another is CalTPA, which has a similar format; it was developed by Pearson and includes the videotaping component.

Does WGU require edTPA? ›

Wgu implemented EDTpa for all students 30 days prior to students beginning their student teaching. Students began this program knowing they would not be required EDTpa if it was not required in their state.

What is the edTPA? ›

edTPA is a performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by teacher preparation programs throughout the United States to emphasize, measure and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom.

Is edTPA hard to pass? ›

Completing the edTPA is about careful planning and hard work, but it's also psychological. As difficult as the edTPA can be at times, the requirements are widely considered best teaching practices.

How much does edTPA cost? ›

What does the edTPA cost? The edTPA costs $300, which includes official scoring and score reporting to the candidate and to the program designated by the candidate during registration. Additional score reports are $50.

Is New York Getting rid of edTPA? ›

Any individual who is pursuing, or plans to pursue, New York State teacher certification would no longer need to complete the edTPA as of April 27, 2022.

How many times can I fail CalTPA? ›

You can take the assessment as many times as necessary to achieve a passing score, but may need to enroll in another program to do so. A passing score on each cycle must be achieved through a single submission.

What happens if you dont pass CalTPA? ›

What happens if you don't pass the first cycle? You will retake it. You'll have to pay the $150 fee to retake a cycle, so do your best to submit quality work the first time out.

What is the pass rate for CalTPA? ›

Assessment Data
TPA ModelProgram Type2018-2019
TPA ModelProgram TypeFirst time pass rate
8 more rows

How fast can you finish a teaching degree at WGU? ›

WGU students finish online degrees in 2.5 years on average, compared to the over 5 years that is the national average for graduation time.

Is a teaching degree from WGU respected? ›

It is regionally accredited by a recognized accrediting body. The school also appears in various legit college ranking sites and receives donations from well-known foundations. Look no further if you are looking to earn an online degree from WGU.

How many people pass the edTPA? ›

Special Education has a 98% pass rate (64/65 candidates), Agriculture Education has a 97% pass rate (31/32 candidates), and Physical Education's rate is 94% (16/17 candidates).

What is the minimum passing for edTPA? ›

Based on the PPS recommendation of 42 and an adjustment of minus a full standard error of measurement, 37–42 score points may be used as the professional performance standard range.

What happens if you fail edTPA? ›

What happens if teacher candidates do not pass, yet have successfully completed student teaching? These teachers are on their own. They can retake their edTPA as a volunteer in a classroom, get a job as a teaching assistant, or take a teaching position in a school that does not require teachers to be certified.

What is the highest score you can get on edTPA? ›

There are three scored tasks within the edTPA — planning, instruction and commentary. The highest score possible is 75. A score of 38 is passing, and a score of 45 is considered mastery level.


1. Recruiting Washington Teachers Program
(Washington Professional Educator Standards Board)
2. Good Shepherd's Virtual 5th Annual Community Meeting
(Good Shepherd Health Care System)
(Toni Shelton)
4. TEACHING CERTIFICATION IN CANADA | Step by Step Guide for Foreign-Trained Teachers
5. Washington Teachers Say Yes to National Board Certification
(Washington Education Association)
6. SOC analyst Full Roadmap 2022 | Security Operation Center | Salary, Certifications, Resources
(Nicole Enesse - Cybersecurity)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Annamae Dooley

Last Updated: 10/19/2022

Views: 5948

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (65 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Annamae Dooley

Birthday: 2001-07-26

Address: 9687 Tambra Meadow, Bradleyhaven, TN 53219

Phone: +9316045904039

Job: Future Coordinator

Hobby: Archery, Couponing, Poi, Kite flying, Knitting, Rappelling, Baseball

Introduction: My name is Annamae Dooley, I am a witty, quaint, lovely, clever, rich, sparkling, powerful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.