The Washington Teaching and Certification Resource
How to Become a Teacher in Washington
There are three different types of Washington teacher certification options for individuals interested in becoming a teacher in the state of Washington. The first is a Residency Certificate, which is typically issued as the initial license for new teachers or teachers from out-of-state who relocate to 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.
- 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.
- Global Training and Development - EdS
- E-Learning - EdS
- General Education - Doctor of Education
- Curriculum and Teaching - EdS
- And more...
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. Teachers must also complete two successful years of teaching and take coursework relating to identifying and assisting victims of abuse. A Professional Certificate is also sometimes granted to teachers who have been certified in other states if the Professional Educator Standards Board determines that the certificate level is comparable. Teachers may also earn a certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in order to receive a Professional Certificate.
The third type of certification in Washington is the Limited Teaching Certificate. This license is only granted when schools cannot find enough teachers with the above certificates. When this occurs, schools may temporarily hire someone who has not completed the requirements for a regular teaching certificate.
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 teacher preparation program that has been approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board must be completed. There are twenty-one schools in Washington that have state-approved programs for teacher education. There are also alternative paths to certification available to those who have not completed a traditional educator preparation program in Washington.
In January 2012, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Washington’s unemployment rate at 9.0%, slightly above the national average of 8.5%. The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 5,883 annual job openings in library and education related fields in Washington through 2018. In 2008 and 2007 respectively, the National Center for Education Statistics listed 54,428 public school and 7,460 private school teachers employed in Washington. The National Education Association approximates the average beginning teacher salary in Washington at $35,018 and the average overall teaching salary at $52,926, the 21st highest among US states. The NEA also notes slight teacher shortages in special education, math, and science. The US Department of Education lists additional shortages in speech specialists and technology specialists. With an aging teaching population, the retirement rate is expected to increase throughout the next several years providing additional employment opportunity for newly certified teachers throughout the state. The Washington Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association, keeps current updates on education policy, budget allocation, and local employment and is a good resource for new or experienced teachers interested in working in Washington State. For more specific information on state certification or subject specialization please contact local education and teaching schools.
Washington Teacher Testing Requirements
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 two types of tests: a basic skills test and a content area test. The basic skills test is called the Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (WEST-B) and assesses the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics. Out-of-state teacher candidates may substitute scores from the Praxis I test or CBEST (in California and Oregon) for this requirement.
The content area test that is required in Washington is called the WEST-E. Teacher candidates must take this test in their chosen endorsement areas. However, those with a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certificate that is similar to the Washington endorsement area are exempt from taking this assessment.
Washington Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||25,420||$59,190|
|Middle School Teachers||10,800||$59,800|
|Secondary School Teachers||14,090||$60,260|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2011.
Washington Teacher Interview
Interview with Rebecca Ross, Kindergarten Teacher in the State of Washington
Page edited by Charles Sipe.