Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Washington

For aspiring teachers in Washington, has the tools you’ll need to navigate your career path from start to finish.  To begin, anyone hoping to teach in Washington will need to complete the following critical steps:

1. Choosing a Program: First, you will need to find an education program that supports your budget and short- and long-term career goals.

  • Finding an appropriate program that fits your needs is never easy. What matters to you as a student? Is cost a major concern? Are you concerned about the program’s graduation rate or job placement rate? Asking the right questions upfront will help you find a program that meets your academic and career goals while remaining within your budget.

2. Planning for Licensure in Washington: To become a teacher in Washington, you’ll need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree, a teacher preparation program and the state’s applicable certification exams.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed an education program and passed the applicable exams, you will be ready to enter the job market and launch your teaching career in Washington.

  • To get started, it is important to assess where you hope to teach. Are you interested in working in a city or rural area of the state?  What are your lifestyle priorities and salary expectations? What special skills and talents do you have and what type or school would benefit most from these assets?  Throughout this process, it is critical to continue developing your resume, expanding your education (e.g., by completing professional development courses for teachers), and gaining additional teaching experience. The more current you are when you go on the job market, the more likely you will be to obtain a full-time teaching position in Washington shortly after graduation.

Choosing an Education Program in Washington understands that choosing the right education program can be challenging. This is why we have streamlined the process. With the aid of a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs in Washington. Keeping prospective teachers’ top priorities in mind, our rankings focus on total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, and over all return on investment.

All the schools on’s list below are committed to excellence and have proven themselves to be among the very best places to pursue an education degree in Washington. Find out which schools rank best at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in education.

Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.


The education atmosphere in Washington State is great for teachers – both new and experienced. Through partnerships, research and other initiatives, the state has improved education and has started leading the way in new teaching methods and learning systems. It is an exciting place to be for teachers who want to contribute to the way education is understood in the future. A large number of professional associations and organizations help teachers connect with others, share and test ideas, and become part of a great teaching atmosphere. Not to mention, the majority of cities throughout the state are well-regarded for their culture and access to outdoor activities.

Becoming Licensed to Teach in Washington

In order to teach in Washington aspiring teachers must earn at least a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree from an approved teacher education program from an accredited college or university, or from a State of Washington college or university that has programs approved for teacher education by the State Board of Education. They can also gain their education from a college or university that has teacher-approved programs by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

In addition, to become certified, a teacher must fulfill a number of requirements:

  • Complete a state-approved teacher education program
  • Pass the Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST)
  • Pass the CORE assessment – Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators
  • Pass any Praxis II subject tests for the subjects a teacher plans to teach

These examinations test a teacher’s basic and specialized knowledge in the field in which they plan to teach. Teachers should be aware that in Washington, they can waive the CORE requirement if their SAT score is at least 1100, or if they show a composite score of at least 24 on the ACT. 

What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in Washington?

The best place to start finding teaching and learning resources for the state is the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website. The site includes standards and guidelines, assessment systems, instructional materials, professional learning and leadership programs, education partnerships, and more.

The Washington State Secretary of State website also has educational resources for teachers and students, including history, books, publications, exhibits, and collections focused on the state.

Teachers are encouraged to connect with the Washington State Education Association. The Association exists to “build confidence in public education and increase support for Washington’s public school system.”  Facts, school information, professional advancement, networking, and representation at the government level are all benefits of being part of the organization.

The Washington Science Teachers Association is also an active non-profit focused on the education system. Professional development, annual conferences, networking, resources, and events are enjoyed by science teachers from around the state.   

What is the job outlook for teaching careers in the state of Washington?

Washington State is a great place for public school teachers, as it honors new ideas, innovations, and holds their schools to high standards. There are partnerships between colleges, universities and public school districts that focus on improving instruction and learning methods, and there is constant research happening around academia.

Currently, the state reports that science, math and special education teachers are needed the most. Teachers who can fill these positions will have the best chance to succeed. As the economy in the state strengthens, the population will likely follow suit, and more teachers will be needed.

What online programs are available to potential teachers in the state of Washington?

Washington State University and Central Washington University both have online courses that would be beneficial to new or experienced teachers. Washington State University offers endorsement programs in special education, English language learners, and ProTeach. Central Washington University offers bachelor’s, master’s and certificate programs that may be of interest to teachers, as well as special education, literacy, school administration, health and physical education, social services, and library and information science.

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