How to Become a High School Teacher in Washington State

Jan 02, 2019

Read about the requirements for future high school teachers in Washington state. Find out what degree to pursue, which tests are needed, and how to complete the application for the Residency Certificate.

Washington is facing teacher shortages in over 15 subject areas, including math and science. If you want to teach high school students these or any of the many other subjects offered in the state, we'll explain the requirements for earning an endorsement for grades 5-12.

Washington High School Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Washington (2017)* $64,760 (High school)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Secondary education and a content major
Testing Requirements WEST-B; WEST-E or NES subject exams

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree from a Washington School

All future secondary school teachers in the state of Washington need to choose an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. They will complete curriculum offered through their school's secondary education program while also pursuing a major in the field they wish to teach, like mathematics, science, or Spanish. During this program, students participate in teaching internships in order to learn how to put classroom management strategies and other teaching principles into practice. Every preparation program will be different depending on the focus area, but most include courses like:

  • Secondary classroom management
  • Special education
  • Content area assessment
  • Educational psychology

Step 2: Take All Required Basic Skills & NES or WEST-E Tests

Aspiring teachers will likely have met the basic skills testing requirement to get into their secondary education programs. This requirement can be met with the SAT or the ACT if teachers scored highly enough. Teachers need to have scored at least a 27.5 on SAT math, a 27 on SAT reading, and a 28 on SAT writing or a 22 on ACT math, a 22 on ACT reading, and an 8 on SAT writing in order to be able to use those scores. If a teacher chooses not to use SAT or ACT scores, they may take the Washington Educator Skills Tests B (WEST-B) exam. The WEST-B exam is made up of 3 subtests: reading (60 multiple-choice questions), writing (50 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed-response questions), and mathematics (60 multiple-choice questions). All together, these exams take 5 hours and require scores of at least 240. They cost $155 together.

Once the test of basic skills is out of the way, teachers will also need to take all applicable subject exams. The subject exams are all National Evaluation Series (NES) or WEST-E tests. There are many to choose from, including art, mathematics, and physics. Teachers should be sure to check in with an advisor before signing up to take a test in order to make sure they've chosen the right test or tests to fulfill the requirements for their intended endorsement.

Step 3: Turn in the Certification Application

Finally, teachers can begin the certification process. New teachers apply for the Undated Residency Certificate first, which costs $74. This certificate requires applicants to submit transcripts and test scores and complete a background check. The background check and fingerprinting in Washington costs teachers around $43. After teachers have earned 1.5 years of full-time experience, they will be able to apply for their Five-Year Residency Teacher Certificate.

Study Resources for Future Washington Teachers

Get started studying for the basic skills exam and all NES or WEST-E exams. There are many helpful resources available, like the study guides below.

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