Become A Teacher In Washington

Interested in becoming a teacher in Washington, but not yet certified in the State of Washington?

RCW 28A.410.025 requires that all teachers must hold a valid Washington State teaching certificate or permit issued by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)’s Certification Office.

New To The Profession

As you are starting your research, the Professional Educator Standards Board is a great resource for information about approved teacher preparation programs, alternative routes to teaching, and testing requirements for certification.


There are 3 main routes to certification: traditional program, alternative route, and CTE certification. Washington State has four approved alternative routes to 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 read about an overview of Three Routes to Teacher Certification.

Contact OSPI’s Certification Office for questions about your individual situation to see if you are eligible or steps you need to take or to start your application.


Out of State Teachers

If you currently hold a teaching license in another state and would like to become certified in Washington, you will need to apply directly with the OSPI Certification Office. You will want to begin this process early in order to ensure you will have a valid certificate before your employment begins.

For information on how your out-of-state endorsements may translate to Washington State endorsements and required testing equivalency information, visit the Professional Educator Standards Board Out-of-State License Transfers resource page.

Current NSD ESP and Emergency Certificated Employees

The Northshore School District is committed to supporting its current classified employees in their pursuit of teacher certification.  Documents that summarize the three ways classified employees can obtain their teacher certification have been developed to help you think about how to proceed.

Northshore partners with many local university certification programs.  Two schools that support large numbers of alternate routes to certification candidates in NSD are City U and Northwest University. Western Governors University also provides NSD candidates with a program that helps them become certificated in less time than typical certification programs due to its competency-based, self-paced design. Links to these schools’ specific alternate routes to certification programs are provided below:

For specifics about Washington State certification requirements (including Career and Technical Education certification), visit OSPI's certification website.  The Public Educator Standards Board also has helpful information about alternate routes to certification and the testing requirements.

As a Northshore employee, once you know you are definitely going to pursue teacher certification, please use Northshore’s Exploring Teacher Certification form to let us know to begin planning ahead for your eventual student teaching experience.


Pipeline for Paraeducator Conditional Loan Scholarship

This PESB scholarship provides funding for paraeducators who are currently employed with a minimum of 3 years classroom experience and does not hold a degree interested in obtaining their AA and then pursuing their teaching certificate. More information on the requirements and responsibilities of candidates can be found below. Applications are being reviewed by PESB March 6, 2018 and again May 8, 2018.

Learn more about this scholarship