How to Become a Teacher in Washington

There are more than 1 million students in public schools in Washington state, and this means that there is a need for thousands of certified teachers to adequately serve these students. Becoming a teacher in Washington requires years of education from an accredited institution as well as passing a few basic skills tests. After receiving an initial residency certificate, those who work as educators and gain experience can gain a professional certificate that provides more stability and additional opportunities. This article contains information on Washington teaching salaries, the education requirements for a Washington certified teacher, and opportunities for those with a Washington teaching license in other states.

Education Requirements

Teachers in Washington are certified by the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. To become certified, applicants must have earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have completed a teacher education program. A basic skills test and endorsement area tests are also required.

Washington Teaching Certification

The first-level regular certificate that teachers in Washington receive is the Residency Certificate. To qualify for the Residency Certificate, applicants must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from any regionally accredited college or university, complete any state’s approved teacher preparation program, and pass the required teacher assessments. The advanced-level regular certificate is the Professional Certificate, which is often earned after holding the Residency Certificate and working as a teacher in Washington.

Required Tests

Teachers in Washington must pass the Washington Educator Skills Test Basic, or WEST-B, which tests basic skills in reading, math, and writing. They must also take the relevant Washington Educator Skills Tests Endorsements, or WEST-E, to prove their content knowledge of specific endorsement subjects.

State Certification Reciprocity

Washington accepts certification from all other states if the applicant has a bachelor’s and has completed a teacher preparation program or has at least three years of experience teaching in another state. However, out-of-state applicants must pass the basic skills test and an endorsement content knowledge test within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit.

Helpful Resources

Bates Technical College

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1101 S Yakima Ave
Tacoma, WA 98405
(253) 680-7000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Bellevue College

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3000 Landerholm Cir SE
Bellevue, WA 98007-6484
(425) 564-1000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate

Central Washington University

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400 East University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7501
(509) 963-1111

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Clark College

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1933 Fort Vancouver Way
Vancouver, WA 98663-3598
(360) 992-2000

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Eastern Washington University

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526 5th Street
Cheney, WA 99004-2496
(509) 359-6200

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Gonzaga University

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E 502 Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99258-0001
(509) 328-4220

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

Green River Community College

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12401 SE 320th St
Auburn, WA 98092-3622
(253) 833-9111

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate

Heritage University

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3240 Fort Rd
Toppenish, WA 98948
(509) 865-8500

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Accrediting Agency:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Lower Columbia College

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1600 Maple Street
Longview, WA 98632-0310
(360) 442-2311

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Northwest University

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5520 108th Ave NE
Kirkland, WA 98083-0579
(425) 822-8266

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

Pacific Lutheran University

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1010 122nd St So
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
(253) 531-6900

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Certificate
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Masters

Pierce College-Fort Steilacoom

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9401 Farwest Dr SW
Lakewood, WA 98498-1999
(253) 964-6500

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

Saint Martin's University

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5000 Abbey Way SE
Lacey, WA 98503-7500
(360) 491-4700

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

Seattle Central College

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1701 Broadway Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 934-3800

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate

Seattle Pacific University

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3307 3rd Ave W
Seattle, WA 98119-1997
(206) 281-2000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

Seattle University

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900 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122-4340
(206) 296-6000

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Bachelors
  • Post-Masters

South Seattle College

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6000 16th Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98106-1499
(206) 934-5300

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Bachelors
  • Certificate

Accrediting Agency:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities

Spokane Falls Community College

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3410 W Fort George Wright Dr
Spokane, WA 99224-5288
(509) 533-3500

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 2-year

Programs Offered:

  • Associates
  • Certificate

University of Puget Sound

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1500 N. Warner Street
Tacoma, WA 98416
(253) 879-3100

Type of School:

  • Private not-for-profit
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

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1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
(206) 543-2100

Type of School:

  • Public
  • 4-year

Programs Offered:

  • Bachelors
  • Doctoral
  • Masters
  • Post-Masters
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