Become a Teacher in Washington

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Teaching in Washington Snapshot

$71,690Secondary School Teacher Salary
$69,390Elementary School Teacher Salary
$11,989Public School Spending Per Student

All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing

WASHINGTON OFFICE OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION

Old Capitol Building
PO Box 47200
Olympia, WA
600 Washington St. S.E.
(360) 725-6000

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Fordham University Master of Science in Teaching Learn more from Fordham University Fordham University’s online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

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Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Washington

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com 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 update: 04/30/2020)

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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 Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

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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-approved teacher preparation programs can be found on the Professional Educator Standards Board website. 

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of courses on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (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.

 

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Required Tests for Washington

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 requirement on Washington State’s Professional Educator Standards Board page. The Basic Skills Test can be fulfilled with the

The Subject Area Competence is measured by the

Test required depends on the certification area.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting Teach.com's Guide to the Praxis Exams and read more about teacher certification tests on Teach.com.

Initial Teaching Certifications

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 and 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. Visit the State of Washington's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website for more on earning your Washington teaching credential.

Learn more about getting your teaching credential on Teach.com.

Discover an 8-week Online Teaching Short Course from Harvard's Bok Center

Learn more about an 8-week short course from Harvard's Bok Center

Earn recognition of your ability to develop and deliver a memorable teaching experience when you receive a premier certificate from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX, upon successful course completion.

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Alternative Certification in Washington

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities who do not have a Bachelor’s 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.

Visit Washington State’s Professional Educator Standards Board to learn more about these options and which one might be the best fit for you. Washington also participates in the Troops to Teachers program. There are also a number of different Conditional 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.

Washington Teacher Certification Information & Links

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Transferring Your Certification

Certification Reciprocity in Washington

Washington will accept some teaching credentials from other states if the accrediting program meets or exceeds Washington’s 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.

To find out what other state teaching licenses can be used in Washington, check out our Teacher Certification Reciprocity page on Teach.com.

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Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in Washington

Washington Teaching Jobs

According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,, Washington teachers on average earn about $69,000 to $72,000 depending on grade level taught. 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 on Teach.com.

Washington Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Retirement benefits for education jobs in Washington are handled by the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). TRS provides benefits for teachers depending on when they established membership. There are three different plans, one for employees who were TRS members before October 1, 1977, and two for employees who became members after this 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 on Teach.com.

Washington Teacher Shortage Areas

The United States Department of Education defines a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) as a subject matter or grade level within a state in which there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary teachers.  The shortage may be caused by teaching positions that are unfilled or are filled by teachers who have temporary certification or teach in in academic subject other than their area of preparation.  According to a report by the USDE Department of Education, Washington has the following Teacher Shortage Areas:

  • Career and Technical Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Health and Physical Fitness
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Special Education

Financial Aid in Washington

Washington residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship, as well as the TEACH Grant, which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree on Teach.com.

Career Advancement

Professional Development for Washington Teachers

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 and meet continuing education clock hour requirements.

Benefits of a Master's Degree in Washington

Teachers with a Master of Education may enjoy a higher salary in a state which is already above the national average in terms of teaching salaries.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on Teach.com.

 

Explore Sponsored Program Options in Education

Sponsored Online programs
University Name Type of Program Program Description
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.
Fordham University Master of Science in Teaching The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.
Harvard University's Bok Center Advanced Certification in Teaching The 8-week Teaching and Learning Strategies for Higher Education online short course is delivered by Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX. Students in this course will engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective teaching methods in the higher education context, while refining their own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy.

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Last Updated May 2020