Interested in Becoming a Certificated Teacher?

  • Do you enjoy working with children? Have you considered going into teaching? Or perhaps you have but don't know the process of getting your teaching certificate, this page will help guide you in the right direction. Our Washington educators share a love of student empowerment, creating aha moments for their students, engaging with their community, exploring their surrounding world, and most importantly, a passion for contributing to student achievement and academic success (PSEB) and we would love for you to be part of this impactful work as well.

    The Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is a great resource for information about approved teacher preparation programs, alternative routes to teaching and testing requirements for certification. We are excited to see you are interested in becoming a certified educator! Below you will find information about several pathways to becoming an educator.

     There are 3 main pathways that lead to certification: traditional program, alternative route, and CTE certification.


    Alternative Routes (Chapter 181-80 WAC)

    Washington State has four approved alternative routes for certification:

    • Route 1: For classified instructional employees (e.g., paraeducators) with Associate’s degrees
    • Route 2: For classified staff with Bachelor’s degrees
    • Route 3: For “career changers” with Bachelor’s degrees
    • Route 4: For district staff with Bachelor’s degrees employed on conditional or emergency substitute certificates

            click here to compare all the routes and the entry requirements 

    Find an Alternative Route Program

    There are currently multiple alternative routes programs offered by institutions across Washington State. Program details vary, so please contact institutions directly for more information. Many programs are offered online, in-person and or hybrid with a combination of both in-person and online instruction. Alternative routes focus on high-needs areas, which include: Special Education, English Language Learners, Elementary Education, Middle level Science, Math, etc.


    Career and Technical Education Certification (Chapter 181-77 WAC)

    Plan 1 Full Teacher Program

    Plan 2 is for Specialty Programs within Agriculture, Business and Marketing, Health and Human Services, and Skills & Technology Sciences.

    Will need to complete a Business & Industry Route program. A total of 6,000 hours of experience is needed. 2,000 hours must be occupational industry experience (nonteaching). You may use up to 4,000 hours of teaching experience in the related Career and Technical Education specialty program area(s). If any of the 2,000 hours is more than six years old, 300 hours of industry experience is needed in the past two years. Must take the WEST-B exam (reading, writing and math) no minimum score is needed.

    If you have specific questions about CTE certification, please contact OPSI 360-725-6000


    Statewide Scholarships

    Pipeline for Paraeducators Conditional Scholarship - Accepting Applications Now

    Is designed to support paraeducators and Recruiting Washington Teachers alumni who wish to become teachers by providing financial aid for the completion of an Associate of Arts degree. Participants are eligible to receive a Pipeline for Paraeducators Conditional Scholarship for up to four academic years. Scholarship award amounts may vary depending upon financial need and funds available. The Pipeline for Paraeducators award amount is up to $4,000 per academic year. Participants are expected to continue to earn their certification and fulfill a teaching service obligation in exchange for receiving the scholarship. Participants must currently be enrolled to receive an award. Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis (there is no deadline.) 

    Teacher Shortage Conditional Scholarship (Opens Spring 2024)

     Is designed to provide financial aid to encourage persons to become teachers and to retain these teachers in shortage areas. The program provides funding of up to $8,000 per year for up to four years, toward earning a Washington Residency Teacher Certificate. Award amounts may vary depending upon financial need and funds available.

    Student Teaching Grant (Opens Spring 2024)

    The intent of the grant is to provide additional funds to student teachers at Title I public common schools in Washington. This is a grant that does not require a service obligation or promissory note.

  • Is there any online resources that can help me prepare?

    Posted by:

    Yes! Checkout this OneNote page filled with online resources that contain information on different  teacher preparation programs, WEST-B/E and NES test practice and help, as well as information about financial assistance programs. Our Diversifying Pathways Program Coordinator is always happy to meet with you one on one via phone, email, zoom/in-person meeting. 

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  • How much will it cost to earn my teacher certification?

    Posted by:

    It really depends on the program. Each program has a set tuition amount and it varies year to year. Tuition is set by the university/college. For classified staff in the district with a Bachelor's degree,they can earn their certification through an Alternative Routes program provider (find program)  for a cost starting at about $10,000+.  

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  • How long will it take to earn my teacher certification?

    Posted by:

    It really depends on the program. If you have a Bachelor's degree, it can be anywhere from a year to a year and a half if you go through an alternative routes program. If you have an Associate's degree it will be two years. 

    If you decide to get a Master's in teaching again it depends on the program, some might offer an accelerated program that is a little over a year, others to span about two years.

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  • Can I still work in the district while going to school?

    Posted by:

    There is a possibility that you might be able to work. As you go further and further into your program, your responsibility increases as well. There might be some flexibility, depending on your current position. If you are unsure, please connect with us in Human Resources and your school principal on what this may look like for you.

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  • Contact Us

    Dulce Ruiz

    Diversifying Pathways Program Coordinator

    Human Resources