Become a Spanish Teacher in Washington State

Jan 02, 2019

While there is no set number of languages that can be taught in Washington, there are a few common ones: Chinese, French, Arabic, Latin, German, and Italian. The most common second world language taught is Spanish, so check this article out if you'd like to learn how to be a certified Spanish teacher in Washington state.

Requirements for Spanish Teachers in Washington

Average Salary for Teachers in Washington (2017)* $32,120 (Preschool)
$62,580 (Elementary School)
$63,090 (Middle School)
$64,760 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Spanish
Testing Requirements *WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
*WEST-E Designated World Languages (100)
*ACTFL Spanish Oral and Written

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Be Fingerprinted

This step can be a bit tricky, because you may want to complete it prior to entering your degree program or after. You must be fingerprinted prior to entering your TEP, so doing the fingerprinting prior to entering your degree program will get you one step closer to your pre-residency. To be fingerprinted by one of the Washington Educational Service Districts (ESD), expect to pay a fee of $43. You'll complete a LiveScan of your fingerprints (a digital readout), and then it will be submitted for a background check.

It is also $43 to have your fingerprints taken by a private agency or a law enforcement office. In order to have your fingerprints taken at one of these offices, you'll need to request a fingerprint card from your ESD. You'll take it to the office, and then have your fingerprints added manually. You'll then need to send this back to the OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction).

Should you choose to go to the OSPI office in person, it will cost a bit more - $61 and a processing fee. However, these fingerprints are guaranteed not to be rejected due to poor quality or smudging.

Step 2: Complete Your Education

A teacher education program (TEP) is essential for teachers in Washington. To successfully teach Spanish in the state, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree in Spanish and undertake a teacher certification program. Typically, after you've completed all of the prerequisites set by the school, you can apply to fulfill that teacher certification program (which counts as your TEP). Keep in mind, some colleges offer Spanish degrees without the teacher certification, so you want to be sure the school you select has it or that you are aware of any additional steps you may need to complete to join a certification program. You'll find that, along with the TEP standards of a teaching practicum and education courses, you'll study the Spanish language in depth in addition to taking advanced grammar and conversational classes, as well as learning about the culture and history of Latino countries.

Step 3: Complete Required Exams

The first exam you'll take is the WEST-B: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics test. Covering the three mentioned subjects, this exam can be taken together or individually. Each subtest looks at one of the subjects and encompasses the fundamentals of that topic to guarantee you are knowledgeable enough to go into a TEP. Both the reading and math subtests include 60 multiple-choice questions, while the writing subtest includes 50 questions and two essays. Each test is scored separately, so you must earn 240 or higher on each subtest.

In Washington, the other test you'll complete is part of the WEST-E series. This exam is the Designated World Languages exam. You'll be given 75 minutes to answer all 55 multiple-choice questions. These questions cover the two major categories of this exam: language and language development, and principles of world language instruction. You must earn no less than 240 on the exam in order for it to count toward certification.

Finally, you'll need to go through Language Testing International to take one of the ACTFL exams, specifically the one on Spanish. This will prove your fluency in the language and your ability to teach it. You'll need to complete both the oral and the writing proficiency tests. The oral exam costs $159, and you'll gave 30 minutes to complete it. The writing exam costs $105, and you'll have 80 minutes for this one.

Certification Resources for Washington Spanish Teachers

Becoming a world languages teacher is one of the most complex teacher paths because you basically need to prepare for two careers in one: teacher and interpreter. If you'd like some help studying for the WEST exams, check out these links.

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