How to Become a PE Teacher in Washington State

Aug 17, 2021

In Washington, physical education teachers are also health teachers. If you'd like to learn how you can become a licensed physical education teacher in Washington state, this article can help you learn the steps.

Requirements for PE Teachers in Washington

Average Salary for Teachers in Washington (2019)* $34,410 (Preschool)
$69,390 (Elementary School)
$70,970 (Middle School)
$71,690 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Physical Education and Health
Testing Requirements *WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
*WEST-E Health/Fitness (029)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Be Fingerprinted

In Washington, all teachers must be fingerprinted and have a background check. This needs to be done prior to entering a teacher education program (TEP). Since this is often incorporated within a degree program, you may want to get this step out of the way first. You can follow many alternative paths to be fingerprinted, but the easiest way is to find an Educational Service District (ESD) location and pay the $43 fee to have a digital fingerprint taken. This will allow for a speedy return of the criminal background check. Once you have been cleared, you can then become a pre-residency teacher, or student teacher.

Step 2: Complete Your Education

In Washington, all teachers must have a bachelor's degree in order be licensed. A physical education and health P-12 program will prepare you for teaching certification. This type of program will also include a teacher educator program (TEP), which is required for certification. As a PE teacher, you'll be in charge of health classes as well. This means your program should include both wellness and exercise coursework. These classes will look at the psychology of sport, nutrition, human physiology, motor control, PE teaching methods and the dynamics of teaching. You will complete a teaching practicum in one or more classrooms, learning how to implement the skills you've learned throughout your educational experience. You'll do this under a certified mentor teacher who will help guide you along.

Step 3: Complete Required Exams

In Washington, all teachers must complete the WEST-B: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics test. This exam has three subparts, one on each of the subjects. Each exam costs $40, but if taken together, you can save on registration fees. This exam will prove your basic high school level education on these subjects. The reading and math subtests each contain 60 multiple-choice questions, while the writing subtest has 50 and two constructed-response questions. In order to pass, you must score 240 on each of the subtests.

The other test you'll need to pass for licensure as a physical education teacher is the WEST-E Health/Fitness exam. This exam must be completed within 150 minutes. The cost is $155, and it includes the $120 test fee and the registration fee. It is a computer-based exam consisting of 110 multiple-choice questions. In order to pass, you must score 240 or higher.

Certification Resources for Washington Physical Education Teachers

Would you like some help studying for your important certification exams? If so, we've compiled a list of resources to help you study.

  • Prepare for the National Evaluation Series (NES) Exams
  • WEST-B Reading, Writing & Mathematics: Practice & Study Guide
  • WEST Health/Fitness (029): Practice & Study Guide
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