How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Washington State


Becoming an educator is a journey that leads to an occupation filled with a lifetime of meaningful rewards. Many school districts across the country are in desperate need of teachers. In addition to the job security, there are other benefits to becoming a teacher, such as extended summer and holiday vacations and providing a positive role model for youth. As in other states, receiving a teaching certificate in the state of Washington has specific requirements.

Things You'll Need

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Passing assessment scores
  • To become a certified teacher in Washington, you must first complete a degree in a subject area that is comparable to the subject you would like to teach. Until recently, individuals seeking to become certified teachers had to complete a teacher education program that was specific to the subject area and grade desired. For instance, a high school language arts teacher had to have a bachelor's degree in Secondary Education with a specialization in English 9-12. Today, due to the teacher shortage, people with English degrees can become certified to teach high school language arts classes.

  • Next, you may need to get specialized training. There are different types of teaching certificates available in the state of Washington. Find out what type of certification you qualify for and how that matches up with the job you want. For example, the Residency Teacher Certificate requires applicants to have earned a bachelor's degree, completed a state-approved teaching preparation or alternative pathway program, and passed the Washington Educator Skills Test (WEST-B). A professional certificate, however, requires candidates to complete a professional certification program approved by the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board or complete an approved Professional Certificate Assessment Portfolio.

  • Take the assessment test. This is the final step to becoming a certified teacher in the state of Washington. Washington has two required tests that you must pass to become certified, one general in nature, the other specific to your field of expertise. The WEST-B assessment examines prospective educators in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics. If you are seeking certification to teach a language such as Spanish, German or French, then you must also take the WEST-E Praxis II test. For other subject areas--including but not limited to core subject areas, music and visual arts--you must pass the WEST-E test.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are preparation courses and materials available for the certificate assessments.

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  • Photo Credit chldren teaching image by Julia Britvich from
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