Alternative Routes to Certification
The Washington State legislature recently mandated alternative pathways to teacher certification to respond to the shortage of teachers in our state. Alternative certification is not for everyone: it was designed to help professionals with relevant experience transfer into the teaching profession more quickly than through a traditional education program. For more information, visit nbsp;the PESB website
Bachelor's degree
A four-year degree from an accredited college or university. A Bachelor's degree is required to obtain a Washington State teaching certificate.
See: Alternative Routes to Certification
Residency Certificate
National Board Certification
Professional Certificate
Many teacher certification programs are described as having a "cohort" structure. This implies that a group of students is admitted and progresses through the program together.
In terms of certification and endorsements, Elementary refers to Kindergarten-8th grade, the range covered by the Elementary Education endorsement.
An endorsement is the subject area in which a certified teacher is authorized to teach.
Master's degree
Some of the state-approved teacher certification programs in Washington offer teacher certification as part of a Master's degree program. These programs are typically labeled as Master in Teaching (MIT) or Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). The programs vary in length and structure, but all lead to a Master's degree with Washington State Residency certification.
National Board Certification
An advanced level of certification for experienced teaching professionals. National Board Certification is an optional step for teachers wishing to test their skills against the rigorous standards set up by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards at .
A paraprofessional is a non-certificated staff member working in the classroom. Paraprofessionals often take on the role of assistant teacher and share a great deal of the responsibility in the classroom. Recent legislation aims to assist paraprofessionals to obtain teacher certification through alternative routes to certification.
Some of the state-approved teacher certification programs in Washington offer teacher certification as a post-baccalaureate program. The term post-baccalaureate refers to "fifth-year" programs that fall between undergraduate and graduate study. Post-baccalaureate programs are typically one year in length, and require that the student already hold a bachelor's degree. By definition, post-baccalaureate programs do not lead to a degree, but simply to a Washington State Residency teaching certificate.
Professional Certificate
The Professional Certificate is the second level of teacher certification in the state of Washington. Teachers must enter a state-approved Professional Certificate program within five years of obtaining their Residency Certificate.
Residency Certificate
The Residency Certificate is the first level of teacher certification in the state of Washington. Twenty-two (22) teacher certification programs in the state offer programs leading to the Residency Certificate. The Residency Certificate is valid for five years, during which time the teacher must begin making progress towards the Professional Certificate.
Salary scale
Base teacher salaries are set each year by the State. Where a teacher falls on the salary scale depends on years of experience and level of education obtained. Actual salaries may vary from district to district, but teachers can reference the State Salary Schedule.
Student Teaching
Student teaching is the common term for time spent teaching in a real classroom under the general supervision of an experienced teacher as part of a teacher certification program.
WEST-B - Washington Educator Skills Test - Basic
The WEST-B is the basic skills assessment is required of all applicants to Washington-approved teacher preparation programs and persons from out of state applying for a Washington State residency teaching certificate. The basic skills areas included in the assessment are reading, mathematics, and writing. More information is available on the WEST-B website.

West- E -  Washington Educator Skills Test
The WEST–E tests measure the subject knowledge required of candidates seeking a content-based teaching assignment. Most WEST–E tests consist of 110 multiple-choice questions. The Elementary Education and Middle Level Humanities tests are each composed of two subtests; each subtest consists of 55 multiple-choice questions. The Designated World Languages test consists of 55 multiple-choice questions. The Designated World Languages: Latin test consists of approximately 70 multiple-choice questions, a translation assignment, and an oral reading assignment.