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.

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