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How to Become a History Teacher in Washington State

History teachers help students to connect different times in the past and realize that as one event was happening, there were people living in other areas with their own events. To find out the certification requirements for history teachers in Washington, this article can help.

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History educators in Washington will teach at the middle and high school grades. While elementary students learn social studies, the education requirement for elementary teachers is different. To learn more about what you'll need as a history teacher in the state of Washington, read on.

Requirements for History Teachers in Washington

Average Salary for Teachers in Washington (2017)* $63,090 (Middle School)
$64,760 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field History Education
Testing Requirements WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097) or high SAT/ACT scores
edTPA for Washington
WEST-E History (027)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Begin Your Education

Teachers in Washington must select a bachelor's degree program that will prepare them for teaching history in a classroom. The best programs for these are history education and history. The former will include all the education and student teaching requirements necessary to complete a teacher education program (TEP). The latter may require another program or further research to find out what your college offers for a TEP. In either case, you'll spend a lot of time looking at American and world history. You'll discover the best methods for teaching history or social studies (as it is commonly referred to in middle grades). You'll also learn a lot about local history, such as the Pacific Northwest's history or the history of local Native American tribes and their roles in civilization. Your bachelor's program will likely end with a student-teaching internship to gain practical experience in the classroom.

Step 2: Apply for Pre-Residency Clearance Certificate

In order to take part in any student teaching internships in a TEP, you must get pre-residency clearance, which includes receiving program approval from your school (check with your certification officer) and getting fingerprinted. Fingerprinting is to guarantee safety for all students, and you have three primary paths. The easiest path for you likely will be to find an Educational Services District (ESD) that completes a LiveScan of your fingerprints. The charge for this is $43.

The other two options are to either go directly to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for a manual fingerprinting or to go to a local law enforcement agency. To use a law enforcement office, you'll need to request a fingerprinting card from OSPI, and then take it to that office for a manual fingerprinting. These methods will take a bit longer to get a return on your background check.

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Step 3: Complete Required Exams

The WEST-B: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics test is a 3-part basic skills exam required for all teachers entering into their TEP. These tests can be taken either together or separately, though taking them together will cut back on registration costs. Each exam costs $40, and each registration is $35. These tests look at the subjects mentioned in the test name and will be graded individually. You must earn higher than 240 on each subtest to pass. High SAT or ACT scores can also replace the WEST-B test at some schools.

Washington requires students to pass a performance-based and subject-specific assessment called the edTPA for Washington by the end of their TEP. Those taking the history/social studies part of this test must earn 40 points out of 75.

The WEST-E exam is a History content exam specifically for history teachers who have completed a bachelor's program. You'll have 135 minutes to answer the 110 multiple-choice questions. These questions look at three content areas: U.S. history, world history, and social studies concepts. The cost of the exam is $155, and the minimum passing score for this exam is 240.

Step 4: Apply for Your Certificate

After completing the above steps, you are ready to apply for your certificate. You can complete most of your information online on the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website. You'll need to set up an account and then apply for your E-certification.

Certification Resources for Washington History Teachers

History can be a fun subject, especially when you learn about the background of your local area. To help you study for your WEST exams, we've included some handy resources.

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