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As in most states, the path to becoming a teacher in Washington largely depends on the subject and educational level chosen. Teaching elementary school, middle school and high school typically requires a bachelor's degree, although private schools may sometimes differ; a graduate degree may lead to more advanced positions.

To start though, individuals typically need to pass the West-B (Basic Skills Test) and West-E (content assessment) tests. Qualifying to teach college usually requires a graduate degree in a specific subject — the subject you'd want to focus on.

Areas of Specialization for Teachers in Washington

Before becoming a teacher in Washington, you should have an idea of what kind of teacher you want to be. For those who wish to teach middle school, high school or college, you will typically need to specialize in one or more subjects. Examples of these may include:

  • English
  • Math
  • Biology
  • Computer Science

Some people may teach a couple of related subjects, such as English and journalism, and earning a minor in a related subject while in college may help you reach your goal, as well. In order to teach public school, you may need to also take some education courses, whereas teaching private school and college may only require subject-specific courses.

Washington Teaching Licensing Requirements

There are a few requirements to earn a license to teach in Washington. The first of these involves earning a bachelor's degree from an accredited college. Next, potential educators should complete a teacher preparation program. The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has a list on its website of approved schools and programs to help in your search. You can typically expect to also earn passing scores on the West-B (Basic Skills Test) and West-E (content assessment) tests.

Out-of-State Educators in Washington

For those who have earned their degree and teaching credential from another state, Washington has detailed steps that must be followed in order to qualify to earn a Residency Certificate to teach. You must first have earned a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university. You must also have passed a teacher preparation program, or have at least three years of K-12 teaching experience, and hold a teaching certificate from another state. Then, you can expect to need a passing score on the West-B and West-E basic skills assessments within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit.

For more information about this process, please visit the certification page of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Alternate Paths to Teaching in Washington

There are different routes to becoming a teacher in Washington, most of which also require a bachelor's degree and passing either the West-E or West-B exams. An example is for someone with subject-matter expertise who doesn't work in the school system. In that case, you must pass the West-E and West-B exams, have at least a bachelor's degree, meet the age, good character and moral fitness requirements, have demonstrated experience with students or children, and have positive letters of reference. The full list of the alternate routes can be found on the PESB website.


Sources:

  1. Pathways to Becoming a Teacher in Washington, Checklist, PESB, http://pathway.pesb.wa.gov/
  2. Alternative Routes to Certification, PESB, http://pathway.pesb.wa.gov/future-educators/alternative-routes
  3. Teacher Preparation Programs, PESB, http://pathway.pesb.wa.gov/future-educators/becoming-a-teacher-in-washington/prospective-teachers/preparation-program
  4. Certification, State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, http://www.k12.wa.us/certification/Teacher/NotCertified.aspx

Teaching Schools in Washington

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Washington
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B.S. in Educational Studies (Does Not Lead to Teacher Licensure)
  • Want to be a Teacher or Educational Administrator? Learn why GCU could be the best place to start! Here's why:
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate education programs, including TESOL, early childhood ed, elementary ed, secondary ed & more.
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MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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EdS - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation

An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. Right now, more than 36,000 students are expanding their opportunities with Capella programs.

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Doctor of Education: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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E-Learning - EdS
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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