Contact OSPI if you are looking for individual certificate information, or if you are looking for details regarding certification requirements for educators from outside of the state or country.
Basic requirements for becoming a teacher in Washington State
Teachers in Washington schools must be fully certified. A valid Washington certificate is required. Each certificate type has education, preparation, and testing requirements. Additionally, teachers must meet basic character and fitness requirements and fingerprint background check.
Candidates eligible to receive a teacher certificate in your program’s state likely meet the program completion requirement. The level/tier of certificate you are eligible for may vary depending on your background, the timing from when you apply for your certificate, and when it is issued to you may vary as well.
Washington’s rules allow us to recognize any state approved educator preparation program and degree from an accredited institution to meet our basic requirements. This allows educators who have completed a college or university preparation program in another state, reciprocity for our state to recognize and accept that program toward our certification requirements.
Out-of-state and foreign trained applicants need to meet four requirements in order to qualify for a residency certificate, the first tier of licensure:
- Degree requirement: A bachelor’s degree or higher from any accredited college/university. Foreign trained applicants must submit documentation verifying the equivalency of their degree.
- Program requirement: Completion of any state’s approved teacher preparation program. This would be either an approved program through an accredited college or university or an approved alternative route program.
OR, out of state and foreign trained applicants may be considered if they have held a regular teacher certificate issued by another state within the U.S. and have taught at the P-12 level outside of Washington for at least 3 years.
- Testing requirement: Applicants must pass a basic skills test (WEST-B or approved alternative/equivalent test) and an endorsement content knowledge test (WEST-E/NES or approved alternative/equivalent test) within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit. Washington state accepts all other state-approved content knowledge tests.
- Fingerprint and background check requirement
The Professional Certificate is the advanced level certificate. It is normally awarded to holders of the Residency Certificate who complete the ProTeach Portfolio or National Board Certification, but may sometimes be awarded to out-of-state applicants in lieu of the Residency.
If coming from out of state to obtain the Washington state professional certificate, in addition to general certification requirements, educators must:
- Have completed a ProTeach Portfolio
- OR, hold the Wisconsin Masters Educator License, or the Ohio Professional Teaching License (five year license) AND have verification of five years teaching experience in a P-12 setting
- OR hold a certificate issued by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Out of state and foreign trained certification applicants are very strongly encouraged to call the OSPI certification office at (360) 725-6400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|181-79A-255||Certification of out-of-state trained educational personnel—Interstate educational personnel contracts.|
|181-79A-260||Establishing equivalency for course work, degrees and programs completed in countries outside the United States.|
Resources for out-of-state teachers
Limited certificates are generally held by individuals who do not fully qualify for a regular educator certificate. Districts usually need to initiate the application for a limited certificate. For details regarding limited certificates, please see this OSPI Certification page.