Professional Certification FAQ
All certificated educators in Washington are required to follow a professional path that includes both an entry-level certificate and an advanced second-level certificate, as well as continuing professional development for certificate renewal. The Professional Certificate (ProCert) is the second-tier certificate that follows the entry-level residency certificate.
Administrator ProCert represents the next stage of the state’s move toward performance-based educator preparation programs. Program requirements, which center on completion of a Professional Growth Plan (PGP), are aligned with state and national standards for administrators. For administrators, ProCert offers the opportunity for individualized, job-embedded professional development.
Principals and assistant principals who hold a residency principal certificate, and program administrators who hold a residency program administrator certificate, are expected to earn the Professional Certificate.
No—if you hold an Initial Certificate, you can follow the former pathway of earning a Continuing Certificate.
At the time residency certificates are issued, they have no expiration date. Once you serve two years in that role for a Washington public or state-approved private school and sign a contract for a third year, the certificate acquires a five-year expiration date from that point. (For example, if you earned your residency principal certificate in May 2004, and began your first principal job in fall 2005, your certificate would remain undated until June 2007. Its expiration date at that point would be 2012.) In addition, if you are enrolled in a ProCert program at the time your residency certificate is due to expire, you can get an additional two-year extension.
The same rules apply. Once you serve two years in the role, your certificate acquires a five-year expiration date. Note: Because the program administrator certificate is not required for any specific administrative job, the role is not as clearly defined as the principalship. In general, program administrators are considered to be those who direct staff members and/or manage a function, a program, or a supporting service in a school or district (includes administrative assistants, directors, supervisors, and coordinators of school or district-wide programs).
It has no impact. Because you’re serving in a role for which the principal certificate is not required, the certificate will remain undated as long as you keep your current position.
The residency certificate was originally designed as a five-year certificate, and some of certificates issued early in the process do show an expiration date. However, you can exchange the dated certificate for one with no expiration date.
At this point, Washington does not require the Professional Certificate for superintendents, and there are no immediate plans to do so. After you begin serving as superintendent, you would eventually have to earn a Continuing Certificate. Earning an initial superintendent certificate cannot be substituted for the need to earn a professional administrator certificate.
Anyone who has served two years in the role and who currently holds a contract for a third year for which the certificate is appropriate. Thus, if you have served two years as a principal and/or assistant principal, and you sign a contract for a third year as principal or assistant principal with a Washington public or state-approved private school, you are eligible to enter a program.
There is an important exception to the “in the role” requirement.
Administrators holding a residency principal certificate, but working as
a program administrator in a Washington school district, state-approved
private school, or state agency providing education services to
children, may enroll in an administrator ProCert program to earn a
professional program administrator certificate.
In this situation, enrollment is not required. The principal
certificate will remain undated until completion of two years as a
principal and a signed a contract for a third year in a Washington
school district, state-approved private school, or state agency
providing education services to children.
A list of approved programs can be found at http://www.k12.wa.us/certification/Administrator/ProCert-programs.aspx.