Becoming a Teacher or Administrator


There are many different kinds of schools in which talented people may work in Washington State.

Some private schools require teachers and administrators to have a Washington State certification, others do not. According to the law, schools need one certificated employee on staff. This person may be a certificated teacher, principal, or superintendent. Some private schools require a specific certification, like Waldorf or certain religious schools, while others hire capable, proficient individuals with a specific knowledge base that improves the school curriculum.

WA State Teacher Certification

Washington State will issue the Residency Teacher Certificate to applicants who provide documentation of meeting the following requirements:

  1. Transcript of having earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from any accredited college/university OR document transcript evaluation review performed by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
  2. Completion of any state’s approved teacher preparation program. In Washington, there are 35 college/university branches or districts with state-approved teacher preparation programs and state-approved alternative route programs.
  3. Passing the basic skills and content knowledge tests within 12 months of receiving your temporary permit.
  4. Fingerprint record & background check through WA State Patrol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For complete information on Teacher Certificates visit the OSPI website.

Washington State Administrator Certification

WA State Administrator Certificate qualification prerequisites:

  • Certificate – Principal only:  Hold a regular teaching certificate or an Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificate from Washington State or another state, and have 3 years of successful school-based instructional experience in an educational setting. 
  • Degree: Master’s degree
  • Preparation: A state-approved preparation program for the particular administrative role
  • Administrator Certificate from another state + 3 years experience in that role

Detailed information on different Admin Certificates can be found using the links below:

Residency Principal or Program Administrator details on the OSPI website

Residency Principal and Program Administrator Upgrade to Professional  There is no longer a requirement for administrators to move to a Professional (2nd tier) certificate in Washington. This link to the OSPI website conveys Oregon’s CAL program as a pathway for educators to be issued a Professional Administrator certificate in Washington, since the Professional certificate is still available, just no longer required.


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