Become a Teacher in Washington

Washington Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $57760
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $59470
Teacher Salary vs. State Average: 130%
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15



This page is sponsored by Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in Washington.

To become a certified teacher in Washington, you will need to fulfill all prerequisite coursework, teacher preparation, and testing requirements.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating the site with new information on a regular basis. To stay up-to-date with the latest in teacher certification, please complete the form in the right sidebar.

Certification Requirements

Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015 


Candidates seeking their initial teaching licensure in Washington State must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution


  • Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program through an accredited institution or approved alternative-route program, or verify at least three years of K-12 teaching experience outside of Washington state and hold a valid teaching license in another state
  • Out-of-state applicants must pass WEST-B and WEST-E assessments within 12 months of receiving permit

Background Check

Washington state requires fingerprint clearance and background checks for all applicants seeking a Washington state teaching certificate. Contact your local ESD (educational service district) for more information about how to submit your fingerprints.

Master’s Requirements

Did you know that 33 states require teachers to have a master’s degree to stay certified in teaching?

Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring or working teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.

The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.

Click to learn more about getting your MAT online with USC Rossier School of Education.

Washington Teacher Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Washington, however, does not have any undergraduate credit hour requirements.

Washington Teacher Preparation

The State of Washington requires prospective teachers either to complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university, or to complete a state-approved alternative certification program.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Information about alternative certification in Washington can be found here!

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers exclusive to the State of Washington, visit our Washington Teacher Scholarships page.

Washington Required Tests

State Tests

The Professional Educator Standards Board of Washington requires that all teaching candidates successfully complete a Basic Skills assessment and any required Content Area assessments before obtaining their Washington state teaching certification.

Basic Skills Assessment: Washington Educator Skills Test – Basic (WEST-B)

Applicants must successfully complete each WEST-B subtest for reading, writing and mathematics in order to obtain their Washington state teaching certification. Candidates from outside of Washington state may submit the following test scores in lieu of taking the WEST-B:

  • CBEST: Used in California and Oregon
  • NES Essential Academic Skills Test: Used in Oregon
  • Praxis I: Applicants must complete and pass all three subtests
  • NBPTS: Applicants who hold a valid National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certificate are exempt from WEST-B

Content Area Assessment: Washington Educator Skills Test – Endorsements (WEST-E)

Applicants are required to complete the WEST-E assessments for their certification/endorsement area(s). The following endorsement areas require the WEST-E tests.

  • Business & Marketing
  • Biology
  • Bilingual Education
  • Agriculture Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Earth & Space Science
  • Dance
  • Chemistry
  • English Language Learner
  • English Language Arts
  • Elementary Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Latin Language
  • History
  • Health/Fitness
  • Family & Consumer Science Education
  • Middle Level math
  • Middle Level Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Library Media
  • Reading
  • Physics
  • Music: Choral; General; Instrumental
  • Middle Level Science
  • Technology Education
  • Special Education
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • World Languages
  • Visual Arts
  • Traffic Safety Education
  • Theatre Arts 

Washington Certification Reciprocity

Washington will accept some teaching credentials from all but the following states: Alaska, Idaho, and Iowa. Contact the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

Washington Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas:Washington provides differential pay for teachers teaching in high needs schools and offers loan forgiveness for teachers teaching in shortage subject areas
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: Washington has limited/weak induction policies in place
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $57,760
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $59,470
  • Teacher Salary vs. State Average Salary: The average teacher in Washington makes 130% of the salary of the average worker in Washington
  • Average Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Applying for Certification

The Washington State Board of Education provides teachers with a number of resources when applying for K-12 teaching jobs within its public school system. Visit WA’s Job Board for links to online databases and job banks.

Washington Substitute Teacher Requirements

Please click here to learn more about how to become a substitute teacher in Washington.

Contact Information

Washington State Board of Education
Office of Public Instruction and Professional Certification
Old Capitol Building, P.O. Box 47200
Olympia, Washington 98504
360-725-6400- Contact

Additional links

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