How to Become a High School English Teacher in Washington State

Jan 02, 2019

If you'd like to pass on an appreciation for the classics and proper grammar, consider becoming an English teacher. If you'd like to be a high school English teacher in Washington state, check out this article.

In the state of Washington, English teachers typically will teach at the middle and high school levels. If you'd like to learn more about the requirements necessary to become a licensed High School English teacher in Washington, read on.

Requirements for High School English Teachers in Washington

Average Salary for High School Teachers in Washington (2017)* $64,760
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field English or Literature
Testing Requirements WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics
NES English Language Arts (301)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education

The state of Washington asks that their teachers earn a bachelor's degree. For high school English teachers, the clear choice is English or literature as a major. Some colleges and universities do combine the Teacher Education Program (TEP) with these programs, so be sure to check with your college on the exact order in which you'll need to take these steps. An English teacher program would include courses in both English and education. Within these programs, you'll see courses in grammar for teachers, rhetoric, composition for teachers, YA literature, teaching approaches, and literature across the world and centuries. The TEP will also include a residency that allows for teaching in real classrooms.

Step 2: Be Fingerprinted

This step is often further along in the steps with most states. However, Washington asks that their student teachers get pre-residency clearance. This means the fingerprinting must be done prior to completing the TEP. Where you go for your fingerprinting is up to you, unlike in some other states. It is suggested that you go to a law enforcement agency or an Educational Service District (ESD) to be fingerprinted. For both of these options, you'll need to pay a $43 fee. The ESD location will do a LiveScan of your prints digitally. For a law enforcement agency, you must request a fingerprinting card from the ESD, have it completed at the agency, and then mail it back to OSPI. These fingerprints will then include a background check to look for criminal history.

Step 3: Complete Required Exams

Washington uses the NES system as well as the Washington Educator Skills Tests (WEST) for certification purposes. You may find that certain tests defy the norm, with the WEST-B: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics test typically required for entry into a TEP. This exam is made up of three subtests, with each one focusing on one of the subjects. To take all three subtests at once, you'll be given a total of five hours, and you must score a minimum of 240 on each subtest. If you were to take all three at once, you can have some of your testing fees cut, because there will only be one $35 registration fee. The rest of the fees bring the total up to $155.

English is one of the endorsements that is not offered by WEST. Instead, you'll take the NEX English Language Arts exam to earn licensure as a high school English teacher. This test is $95 and includes 150 multiple-choice questions. You'll have three hours to complete the exam. You must score at least 220 on this exam to pass.

Certification Resources for Washington High School English Teachers

With respect to the WEST and NES exams, there are plenty of things you'll want to study for. Below are some links to help you study for any exam you may come across.

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