Become a Teacher in Washington


Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA

(360) 725-6000

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    Become a teacher in Washington

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            Earn Your Washington Teaching Credential

            Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015

            New teachers in Washington State start out with a Residency Certificate and move to a Professional Certificate by completing a Professional Certification Program at a Washington college or University, or submitting a ProTeach Portfolio of professional development activities. In order to earn your Washington state teaching credential, you must complete required coursework, fieldwork and standardized testing requirements. If you already have a teaching credential from another state, you may qualify for interstate credential reciprocity. Click here for more on earning your Washington teaching credential. Learn more about getting your teaching credential. Return to the top

            Prerequisite Coursework in Washington

            Washington requires that certified teachers have, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree. Although some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas,   Washington does not list specific course or credit hour requirements. However, every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Department of Education for more information. Return to the top

            Required Tests in Washington State

            To become a certified teacher in Washington, you must satisfactorily complete the Basic Skill Test and any Subject Area Competence assessments needed for your desired area of instruction. Learn more about Washington’s exam requirements here. Basic Skills Test Subject Area Competence You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep. Read more about teacher certification tests. Return to the top

            Washington Teacher Certification Programs

            In the State of Washington, prospective teachers must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university, or they must complete a state-approved alternative certification program. A list of state-approve teacher preparation programs can be found here. Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of courses on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), research, design and implementation of learning experiences in their field of study, along with hands-on fieldwork. The fieldwork component can include observations, student teaching and an internship. Return to the top

            Alternative Certification in Washington

            Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose Bachelor’s degree was not in education and who have not yet received a teaching certificate can still obtain an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Washington State offers four alternative certification routes, two of which are for people already employed as paraprofessionals in the school system. Learn more here about these options and which one might be the best fit for you. Washington also participates in the Mountain Pacific Region Troops to Teachers program. There are also a number of different Limited Certificates that a school district may be able to request if they need you to teach in shortage areas or areas where you have expertise. Return to the top

            Certification Reciprocity in Washington

            Washington will accept some teaching credentials from out-of-state, provided the accrediting program is of equal or greater quality as compared to the state’s own requirements. Washington’s rules allow it to recognize any state-approved educator preparation program and degree from an accredited institution to meet basic requirements. Contact the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to inquire about your specific situation. Return to the top

            Benefits of Earning a Master of Education in Washington

            Teachers with a Master of Education will enjoy a higher salary in a state which is already above the national average in terms of teaching salaries. Teachers starting out with a Master’s degree in 2011-2012 can expect to earn over $6,500 more than those starting out with a Bachelor’s degree, and a similar differential applies to teachers with some years of experience. Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education. Return to the top

            Master’s in Education Financial Aid

            Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree. Return to the top

            Washington Teacher Salary and Incentives

            Washington ranked 21st in the nation for teacher pay, in 2007, with an average teacher salary of $47,880. This is above the national average, making teaching in Washington particularly rewarding. Salaries and benefits for Washington teaching jobs hinge both on experience and on qualifications. Learn more about teacher salaries. Return to the top

            Washington Teacher Benefits & Retirement

            Retirement benefits for education jobs in Washington are handled by the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). TRS provides benefits to teachers depending on when they were born. There are three different plans; one for employees who have established TRS members before October 1st, 1977, and two for employees who have established memberships after that date. The Washington TRS website includes a series of helpful resources, including a benefits calculator, important forms, and additional information. Learn more about benefits for teachers. Return to the top

            Professional Development for Teachers in Washington

            The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction provides a number of professional development opportunities, as do universities and other organizations around the state. Teachers must complete a ProTeach Portfolio of professional development activities to advance to the Professional Certificate. Return to the top

            Washington Teaching Jobs

            The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website has a page of links to help teaching hopefuls find jobs in the state. The site includes information on state credentials, as well as resources that can help employers and prospective teachers find each other. The Washington School Personnel Association (WSPA) also posts its own job listings and resources for school administrative employees. Learn more about finding a teaching job. Return to the top

            Washington Teacher Certification Information & Links