How does one become certificated to teach in the public schools (K-12) in
To be qualified to teach in the public (K-12) schools in Washington, you need
to earn three things:
1. A Bachelor's Degree. If you want to teach in Washington,
you must earn a bachelor's degree, either before beginning or concurrently
teacher certification program. *The concurrent option
is only available if the college or university where you're pursuing your
degree has an undergraduate
teaching option; UW does not.
2. 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. The University of Washington-Seattle's Teacher
a master's in teaching (MIT) degree. There is no undergraduate or "fifth
year" certification option available at UW's Seattle campus. Other
schools in Washington do offer undergraduate
and post baccalaureate (i.e. "fifth year") options for teacher
here for a list of all approved programs in Washington, compiled by the
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
For more detailed information about becoming an English teacher, please
visit this UW Department
web page: Information for UW Undergraduates Planning
for Careers in K-12 Teaching.
3. One or more teaching endorsements. Endorsements are conferred
in conjunction with your teacher certification and specify what subject(s)
to teach. Elementary school teachers (K-8), as generalists, need an endorsement
in Elementary Education, and may also opt for additional endorsements, e.g.,
Special Education or ELL. Secondary school teachers (6-12), as specialists,
choose one or more endorsements from a list of subject areas, e.g., English-Language
Arts, French, Social Studies, Biology, and so on. Often
much or all of the required endorsement course work must
be completed before you enter the approved teacher certification
that is, it should be completed while you're still
an undergraduate working toward your bachelor's degree. For more
information about endorsements in general, visit the UW's
College of Education Teacher Education Program site
or read about endorsements at the Washington
OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction) site.
more information about undergraduate course work preparation for secondary
endorsement in English/Language Arts, visit this UW Department
of English web page: Information for UW Undergraduates
Planning for Careers in K-12 Teaching.
information about Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification in Washington,
click here. This information is provided by the Professional Educators Standards
Board in conjunction with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Should I do anything to prepare while I'm still a UW undergraduate?
teacher certification programs will have some prerequisites that must be
before entering the certification program. These will vary from school to
school, and will also be dependent upon the level (elementary or secondary)
at which you intend to teach, and the subject area(s) you intend to teach.
You should investigate the teacher education program prerequisites for each
plan to apply.
here for a list of all approved programs in Washington, compiled by the Office
of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
If you plan to apply to UW's
Teacher Education Program through the College of Education, please do these
Attend an information session with UW's College of Education TEP advisers.
See the TEP website for
details and to sign up for an orientation session.
Review all information at the TEP
web site, and be aware of prerequisites for
applying to the program of your choice (elementary or secondary education).
If you're planning to teach English/Language Arts at the secondary
education level, click here to review
the undergraduate content work required to earn a Secondary Education
Teaching Endorsement in English/Language Arts. You should plan to see
a UW undergraduate
adviser early to discuss your plans and your options.
What's the process for a UW undergraduate who wants to become a certificated
Pursue your bachelor's degree.
While you are completing your bachelor's degree, you should
- complete required endorsement courses in English language arts (for secondary) or in elementary education;
- complete all application prerequisites for the master in teaching (MIT) program admission.
Apply to an approved teacher certification program.
Prepare your application materials early. Most schools require standardized tests, letters of recommendation, a personal/goal statement, verification that you have completed required classroom observation hours, your transcripts, and completion of all necessary coursework for your endorsement(s), and sometimes additional items.
Check program deadlines; each school is different. For the UW Seattle, deadlines are in early October for programs starting the following spring or summer.
Earn your teacher certification.
Upon completion of the program, your certification and your endorsement(s) are recommended to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. You will then receive your Residency Teaching Certificate for elementary or secondary education.
Is it possible to teach without earning teacher certification?
Yes, depending upon a number of factors such as where you want to teach (what
state), what level you want to teach (pre-K, K-12, college), whether you want
to teach in the public schools or private schools, what kind of teaching position
you want to secure (including considerations like salary, benefits, and long-term
employability), etc. Each state sets its own requirements and standards.
Remember that teaching is a skill and that the best-prepared teachers
are the ones who have gone through an approved certification program. Certificated
teachers will be the first to be hired, to obtain permanent employment, to
be eligible for benefits, to be eligible for promotions, and so forth. If
want to teach in a K-12 school, you are strongly advised to pursue certification.
That being said, there are a few web sites where you can explore teaching
options for non certificated teachers:
Teacher Residency Program is a collaboration between the UW
College of Education, Seattle Public Schools, and other partners, which allows
teacher-residents to begin teaching in paid intern positions while they complete
requirements for teacher certification. STR prepares residents to become
teachers in the context of, and for classrooms in Seattle Public Schools
and requires a five-year commitment.
For America is a
non profit, Americorps agency whose mission is to place teachers in the public
schools in underresourced areas in the USA. Those selected
by Teach for America commit to a two-year program designed to help the nation's
most disadvantaged students. A short (summer) training session is provided,
and "emergency credentials" are supplied. The program provides support
for members of its Corps in a number of ways. Teachers in the program are paid
the normal first-year teacher's salary for the geographic area in which they
teach, and can also be eligible for many other benefits, including Americorps
grants toward education. Geographic areas range from inner-city areas like
Los Angeles and New York to rural areas such as New Mexico's Navajo Reservation
or the Mississippi Delta. Application deadlines begin annually in October.
See the web site for details.
The MATCH Corps is
a one-year urban education fellowship in either Boston or Chicago with charter
public schools. The Corps is a group of top recent college graduates
who work one-on-one with six to eight MATCH High School, Middle
School, or Elementary School students each day for an entire academic
year. Corps members live together in apartments nearby the Middle
School and Elementary School, and in a dorm on the top floor of the
High School. This full-time service year program is designed
to fully close the academic Achievement Gap between minority students
and their non-minority peers, one student at a time.
The New York City Public Teaching
Fellows program recruits
and prepares high-quality, dedicated individuals
to become teachers who raise student
achievement in the New York City classrooms
that need them most.
information about Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification in Washington,
click here. This information is provided
by the Professional Educators Standards Board in conjunction with the
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
What are the requirements for teacher certification in other states?
Each state establishes its own requirements for teacher certification. For
information, see the 50
States' Certification Requirements compiled by the
University of Kentucky's College of Education. Teachers who have been certificated
in one state and who later relocate to another state can apply to obtain certification
with the new state's superintendent of public instruction. Check with each
state regarding its policies and procedures for transferring or obtaining teacher
Where can I go for more information about K-12 certification?
UW-Seattle's College of Education's Teacher Education Program
Teacher Certification Program
Tacoma's Teacher Certification Program
UW Department of English: Information for UW Undergraduates Planning for
Careers in K-12 Teaching
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Approved Four-Year Schools in Washington
Teach for America
Washington Center for Teaching Careers (WATeach)
Northwest Educational Service District 189
Puget Sound Educational Service District