Educational Staff Associate Certification
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   (360) 725-6400
   cert@k12.wa.us

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Educational Staff Associate


Fee Payment: Fees are not refundable. Please ensure you select and submit the correct application as the OSPI $33 fee will not apply toward a future or corrected application and will need to be paid with each application submitted. Refund Policy

Puget Sound ESD 121 and Northwest ESD 189 are no longer processing certification applications. Please contact another ESD for your certification activities.


How do I BECOME CERTIFIED in Washington? (basic requirements)

Qualified applicants for an Educational Staff Associate certificate can anticipate two levels of certification during their career, in these roles: School Counselor, Psychologist, Social Worker, Nurse, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and Speech Language Pathologist or Audiologist. They can also apply for a substitute ESA certificate.

  • Residency ESA - this is the first level regular certificate that the majority of applicants receive in the roles of School Counselor and School Psychologist.
  • Professional ESA this is the advanced level regular certificate available in the roles of School Counselor and School Psychologist. Most applicants receive this certificate after holding a residency certificate and working in Washington in the role.
  • Initial ESA Certificate this is the first level regular certificate that the majority of applicants receive in the roles of School Nurse, School Occupational Therapist, School Physical Therapist, School Speech Language Pathologist or Audiologist, and School Social Worker.
  • Continuing ESA Certificate this is the advanced level regular certificate available in the roles of School Nurse, School Occupational Therapist, School Physical Therapist, School Speech Language Pathologist or Audiologist, and School Social Worker. Most applicants receive this certificate after holding an initial certificate and working in Washington in the role.
  • Substitute Certificate - (valid for life).
  • Other (Limited) ESA Certificates - these certificates are only available in the role of School Nurse, School Speech Language Pathologist or Audiologist, School Counselor, School Psychologist, and School Social Worker for employers who cannot find candidates with regular certificates and wish to hire an applicant that does not meet requirements for a regular certificate.

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Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA  98504-7200  (360) 725-6000  TTY (360) 664-3631
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