How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in Washington State

Jan 02, 2019

Kindergarten teachers have the opportunity to shape young minds as some of the very first educators new students entering the public school system meet. This guide provides steps to becoming a kindergarten teacher in the state of Washington.

The state of Washington has the 4th-highest employment level of kindergarten teachers in the country. With its competitive salaries, Washington might be an ideal choice for aspiring kindergarten teachers. Here, we'll explore the education and licensure requirements.

Washington Kindergarten Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Kindergarten Teachers in Washington (2017)* $60,140
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Early childhood or elementary education
Testing Requirements WEST-B, NES: Early Childhood Education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete an Approved Teacher Prep Program

To teach kindergarten in the state of Washington, completion of an accredited teacher prep program in a specific subject concentration is required. To teach kindergarten, this concentration would be in early childhood education or elementary education. There are many programs offered by institutions in the state of Washington and the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website maintains an extensive database of accredited programs.

Acceptance to a teacher prep program is contingent upon passing the WEST-B skills test. The WEST-B test is a basic skills test that consists of sub-tests in reading, writing, and mathematics. Each sub-test requires a minimum passing score of 240. Taken separately, each sub-test costs $75; taken together, the cost is $177. Sufficient scores on the SAT or ACT can be submitted to fulfill the WEST-B requirement.

Teacher preparation programs will include courses in areas such as educational psychology, reading and math instruction, assessments, and growth and development. Programs will also include a student teaching component through which students get hands-on experience in the classroom. Prior to completing the student teaching portion of a prep program, an individual will be required to pass the edTPA, a state-approved performance review that critiques an individual's activity in the classroom. Future educators must complete a portfolio that showcases their skills and preparation to teach in a classroom. They must also submit unedited video footage of themselves working in an actual classroom. The edTPA assessment fee is $300. To teach kindergarten in Washington, a passing score of 40 out of 75 points in required.

Step 2: Pass the Required Test

Following completion of a teacher prep program, kindergarten teachers in Washington state must pass the NES: Early Childhood Education exam. A score of 220 or higher is considered a passing score for the Early Childhood Education test. The fee to take this test is $95.

The NES: Early Childhood Education exam is a computer-based test that consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. Test-takers are given three hours to answer questions in the following four domains:

  • Child Development and Learning
  • Language and Literacy Development
  • Learning Across the Curriculum
  • Professional Relationships and Responsibilities

Step 3: Get Certified

New teachers require two forms of certification in Washington in order to begin teaching:

  • Pre-Residency Certificate
    • Required to complete an accredited program
    • Applicants must submit fingerprints to OSPI
    • Most prep programs include pre-residency certification as part of the curriculum
  • Teacher College Recommendation Certificate
    • Requires prior Pre-Residency or Residency Teacher Certification
    • Applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree and approved teacher prep program
    • WEST-B and NES tests must be passed

For applicants who have completed their teacher prep courses from an out-of-state institution, the Pre-Residency Certificate is not required, but is instead replaced by the Residency Teacher Certificate. Completion of a bachelor's degree, submission of all college/university transcripts, submission of fingerprints and background check, and passing of WEST-B/NES tests or approved equivalents are required to be certified.

Test Prep Certification Resources

Provided below are additional test prep resources to make the transition to teaching kindergarten in Washington a smooth process:

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