Steps to Teacher Certification – Washington

How to Become a Teacher in Washington State

Once you decide that you want to be a teacher, the next step depends on where you are now on the path toward reaching your goal.

Please Choose From The Following Guide:

Look over the information below and discover steps you can take to become a teacher in Washington.

I Have Graduated From High School

Having a high school diploma opens doors to institutions of higher learning that can lead you to a teaching career.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

I Have Had Some College

Attending a two-year institution, like a community college, and earning an Associate degree, can be a valuable step toward becoming a Washington teacher. A Bachelor’s degree is required prior to applying for all regular teaching certificates.

  1. If you have earned an Associate in Arts degree or Associate in Arts and Sciences degree from a community college that participates in Washington’s Direct Transfer Agreement Associate Degree, you may qualify to enter certain four-year colleges as a Junior and pursue a Bachelor’s degree that leads to teacher certification
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. If you attended a Washington community college or another two-year college and completed a certificate or degree program, e.g. an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education or a Child Development Associate Credential, you may be qualified for a career working with young children, such as teaching for Head Start, childcare organizations and private preschools.

I Have a Bachelor’s Degree

If you want to teach in Washington and already have a Bachelor’s degree, your next steps toward teacher certification will often depend on your undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education that included an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements, including student teaching. Successful completion of a Bachelor’s degree in Education will qualify you to apply for teacher certification.
  2. All prospective teachers are required to take the Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic. Students who completed a Bachelor’s degree in Education, typically take this exam during their undergraduate studies, before they begin their Teacher Preparation Program module.
  3. If you majored in Liberal Arts and received a Bachelor’s degree, you have accomplished a major step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Many certification programs recommend a Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in many different subject areas.
  4. If you received your Bachelor’s degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied the academic requirements recommended by many certification programs. Majoring in a specific subject that can be taught at the secondary school level (high school and middle school) prepares you to become endorsed or qualified to teach classes in that content area.
  5. All prospective teachers are required to take the Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic. Students who have a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts or in a specific content area must take the Washington Educator Skills Test prior to beginning their Teacher Preparation Program.
  6. All Washington State teachers who have not earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education and finished their Teacher Preparation requirement, must successfully complete a Teacher Preparation Program at a regionally accredited institution. Some of these are Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation programs and some are Master’s in Education programs. Gather information and decide which route works best for your.
  7. Once you have successfully completed all academic and experiential requirements, you are ready to begin the application process that will lead to your certification as a Washington State educator.