Washington DC Alternative Teacher Certification

In addition to the traditional path to teacher certification in Washington DC, there are alternative routes to teacher licensing within the district.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

The District of Columbia has implemented alternative routes to teacher licensing in order to attract qualified professionals to the classroom. These alternative routes typically require candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree with a major in a teachable subject. Those who qualify may return to school to complete an approved alternative educator preparation program, which can be completed as little as one year as a post-graduate certificate. Candidates may also elect to pursue a master’s degree as part of the required educator preparation.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Washington DC

The District of Columbia recognizes several programs as fulfilling the teacher preparation requirements for alternative educator licensing. These pathways allow flexibility based on candidates’ past experience and education.

Occupational and Experience Based License

For limited subjects such as the performing arts, military science, and career and technical education, the District of Columbia allows teacher licensure based on occupational experience. To qualify for this type of license, candidates must have documented professional work experience in the career area they wish to teach, which will be reviewed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to determine eligibility. Candidates for this type of license must also pass a criminal background check, but are not required to take the state’s Praxis exams.

TNTP Teaching Fellows

TNTP Teaching Fellows offers a DC-based training program for prospective educators in certain teacher shortage areas such as STEM subjects and elementary education. Accepted candidates are assigned to a high-needs school and teach full-time while honing their professional skills through coursework offered by the TNTP Academy. Graduates of the program are typically eligible for full licensure in the District of Columbia. Programs leading to certification-only as well as certification plus a master’s degree through Johns Hopkins University are offered. For more information, contact TNTP Teaching Fellows.

Teach for America

Teach for America offers a pathway to Washington DC teacher licensing in subjects such as early childhood and elementary education, English, Spanish, and special education as well as STEM content areas. Candidates must meet DC’s requirements for Regular I licensure, which including passing the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators and Praxis II subject-area exams. Those accepted to Teach for America’s programs may pursue teacher certification while teaching full time or elect to earn a master’s degree plus certification through one of the organization’s teaching partners. For more information, visit the Teach for America website.

Testing Requirements for Washington DC Alternative Certification

For all pathways to licensure except occupational experience-based licensure, candidates for alternative teacher certification in the District of Columbia must pass the same exams for educators as traditional-route candidates. These exams include the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test, the Praxis II content-area assessments for the subject(s) to be taught, and the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Teachers who have received certification from another state equivalent to the District of Columbia Regular II license, completed an approved education program, and have three years of full-time teaching experience may be eligible for a reciprocal teaching license based on a credentials evaluation. For more information, visit our teacher certification reciprocity resource or contact the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Additional Resources

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs in Washington DC

Because the alternative certification process is complex, we have researched and provided specific school programs below for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and want to become a teacher. We recommend you request information from one or more of these specific programs:

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1. Washington DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education: https://osse.dc.gov/