Academic Advising Support CenterCasey 1W206.296.2840ASCAdvising@seattleu.edu
M, W, and TH: 8:30am - 6:00pmT and F: 8:30am - 4:30pm
What are the requirements to be a teacher in Washington State?
Washington State teacher certification requirements are apt to change frequently. There are also alternative routes to teacher certification. To ensure accurate information, verify current requirements with the State of Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
The four most basic requirements in order to be certified to teach in WA State are as follows:
Where can I go to learn more about the process to become a teacher in a specific state?
Teaching requirements for each state vary. To gain the most current information about requirements to become a certified teacher in a particular state, it is recommended that you contact the state's department of education. The U.S Department of Education maintains a list of contact information for each state here. Other websites also offer information on state-specific teaching certification requirements: Certification Map and U of Kentucky's College of Education.
In Washington State, contact the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction or the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board.
What major should I pursue while at SU?
Interested in teaching at elementary levels (grades K-8): Subject requirements vary for each certification program; therefore, you must contact the certification program directly for specific application requirements. When selecting a major(s) and/or minor(s), consider that it will be most helpful if you are able to incorporate a variety of courses in basic subject areas such as English, math, social studies, language, life science and physical, earth or space science. Students are also encouraged to select a major with an interdisciplinary focus. The B.A in Liberal Studies is a great degree choice at SU due to the program's broad intellectual training and flexibility in curriculum.
If you are considering teaching in elementary education, Seattle University's Master in Teaching (MIT) program gives admissions preference to students who graduate from SU with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies (located in College of Arts and Sciences) or a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities for Teaching (located in Matteo Ricci College).
Interested in teaching secondary levels (grades 6– 12): You will need to complete the coursework required for the desired endorsement in the state in which you desire to teach. This may mean you choose to major, double major or minor in the subject-area you want to teach. In order to insure you are taking the appropriate courses to meet your educational goals, meet with a Pre-Education advisor.
Are there specific classes that I should take?
Subject requirements vary for each certification program; therefore, you must contact the certification program directly for specific course prerequisite requirements.
What should I do in my freshmen and sophomore years to prepare for a teaching career?
Gaining hands on experience in a school setting is the best thing you can be doing at this stage in your academic career. Teacher preparation programs are looking to admit candidates who have broad exposure to children of various ages and diversities in the classroom. In this way, you as a potential teacher demonstrate to teacher certification and preparation admissions committees that you have tested and proven that teaching is your true vocation.
Seattle University offers many opportunities for students to gain experience in the classroom. The Center for Service and Community Engagement sponsors many opportunities to work with youth. Some of the existing programs include Read Out Loud Early (ROLE), the Children’s Literacy Project or the Seattle University Youth Initiative.
What should I do in my junior and senior years to prepare?
Continue to gain exposure and experience in the classroom.Work with populations of youth that you have not yet been exposed to. For example, if all of your previous volunteer or work experience has been with youth in grades 6 and younger, seek out experience working with middle or high school students.
Also, it is important to gain experience in diverse classrooms and communities. Consider shadowing or volunteering with a school that is considered by the state to be high-need or high-risk (defined as a school where 40% or more students quality for the free or reduced lunch program).
Working with the Pre-Education advisor is critical at this point in your academic career. If you have not yet done so, make an appointment to begin developing your plan for applying to graduate-level teacher preparation and certification programs.
Are there other pathways to teaching?
After graduating from Seattle University, some students decide they would like to pursue other paths before entering the teaching field.There are numerous opportunities. A sampling of these include Urban Teacher Center, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, or Teach for America. Still other students decide to teach English overseas through the many programs available.