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Washington Alternative Teacher Certification

Often, people may work with a school district to only realize they want to be full-time educators. Washington, like many states, offers alternative licensure routes. Here, we'll look at each of these as they are broken down.

Washington state has four routes for alternative teacher certification, all which have been approved by the State of Washington Professional Educators Standards Board. In this article, we'll take a look at each of the routes and the requirements for each.

Requirements for Alternative Route Teachers in Washington

Average Salary for Teachers in Washington (2017)* $32,120 (Preschool)
$62,580(Elementary School)
$63,090 (Middle School)
$64,760 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Associate's or Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Any
Testing Requirements WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
OR *WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097) & *WEST-E Content Exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Route 1: Paraeducators

This route is for those who are already employed as paraeducators, or teacher's aides, and want to work with special education or bilingual students. Since you'll already be in a position in which you'll be gaining teaching experience, you'll be able to complete any program much more quickly. You must have an associate's degree to enter, and once entered, you will earn your bachelor's degree in only two years. You'll need to take the WEST-B: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics exams with minimum scores of 240 on each. Afterwards, if you have not already been fingerprinted as part of your paraeducator position, you'll need to submit to a background check.

Required Degree Associate's Degree
Testing Requirements WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
Experience Requirements One-year student interaction

Route 2: Classified Staff

Route two is typically used by those who want to teach in a critical-need area. You'll enroll in a program with a local college or an educational service district (ESD). This will allow for flexible training and classes to ensure you have the educational background you need to successfully teach. Along with your bachelor's degree, you'll need to sit for the WEST-B exam (again, scores of no less than 240 are accepted), and also a WEST-E (endorsement) content-knowledge exam in the area in which you wish to teach.

Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Testing Requirements *WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
*WEST-E Content Exam
Experience Requirements One-year student interaction

Route 3: Career Changers

Route 3 may be considered the most common alternative route. This is for anyone who already has a degree and a career but wants a change. You have not been employed by any school district, so your teaching knowledge is quite limited. For this route, your bachelor's-degree major doesn't matter. You will join a cohort of other career changers who want to become teachers. You'll take part in an intensive summer teaching program and follow it up with a full-year of residency in the classroom. If needed, a second summer program can be included. You will also need to pass the WEST-B exam (minimum scores of 240) and a WEST-E endorsement exam in the area in which you want to teach.

Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Testing Requirements *WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
*WEST-E Content Exam
Experience Requirements None

Route 4: Emergency Substitutes

Sometimes, certain high-need areas and subjects require teachers. If someone fills the position as an emergency substitute only to want to continue on as a teacher, they can look at alternative route 4. This path is very similar to the route 3 career changers. You must have a bachelor's degree, and you will take part in a summer-teaching academy cohort, followed by a year of residency under a mentor. If one already holds a conditional certificate, the residency may take place in this classroom with mentor guidance. Again, all routes require completion of the WEST-B exam with passing scores of 240 or higher. For route 4, similar to routes 2 and 3, you'll need to pass the content endorsement WEST-E exam.

Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Testing Requirements *WEST-B: Reading, Writing, Mathematics (095/096/097)
*WEST-E Content Exam
Experience Requirements None

Certification Resources for Washington Alternative Route Teachers

You'll find that even taking an alternative route towards teacher certification includes examinations. We've compiled a small list of some of the more popular study guides for Washington exams.


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