Washington State Certification - Frequently Asked Questions
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Frequently Asked Questions


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General


I've lost my certificate. How can I obtain a replacement?
To obtain a replacement certificate, you may apply through E-Certification.

How can I obtain a fingerprint card?
You can contact us at Professional Certification with your mailing address and we will be happy to send you the fingerprint card package or for additional information please visit our fingerprint website.

I have questions about my certificate, but I don't know my certificate number. How can I find out information about my certificate?
Contact Professional Certification by email or phone (360-725-6400) with your complete legal name and date of birth, and any other names under which you may have been certified. We will be able to provide you with information on your certificate.

What does 'regionally accredited' mean?
For your degree and/or coursework to be accepted for certification requirements, it must be taken from a regionally accredited college or university. The six regional accrediting bodies are:

My continuing certificate will expire this June. How do I renew it?
Prior to the lapse date of your certificate, you need to input 150 clock hours (or credit equivalent) that you have completed into your E-Certification profile and submit the electronic renewal application. You may apply through E-Certification.

My continuing certificate has expired. How can I reinstate it?
You need 150 clock hours (or credit equivalent) in the five years preceding your application for reinstatement. You may apply through E-Certification.

What is the application fee?
Application and processing fees vary based on certificate type. Download the Application Fee Schedule.

 

 

Teacher


I have a bachelor's degree in another area, but I'm really interested in teaching. What would I have to do to obtain a teaching certificate?
Washington requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree and a state-approved teacher preparation program. Since you already have a bachelor's degree, you could enroll in a 'cert only' or master's program. Information on programs located in Washington. Alternative Routes to Certification are also available.

I'm a certified teacher from another state. How can I obtain a Washington certificate?
Requirement information is available on our website. Review the application and fingerprinting process.

You will need your transcripts verifying your degree(s) and teacher preparation program. You will also need your university or state-approved agency to complete the program verification form (4020E or 4020E-1, attached). If you have three years or more of certified, out-of-state teaching experience, please also send a copy of your out-of-state certificate(s) and provide verification of experience (form 4020F-1, attached). With the appropriate degree, program completion and/or certified, out-of-state experience, you can apply and be issued a one-year temporary permit pending verification of successful completion of the required testing. Review testing information.

You can access the electronic application by logging onto the Education Data System (EDS). You will need to set up a username and password. Begin at https://eds.ospi.k12.wa.us/ and choose "Create an Account." Once logged into EDS, you'll want to go to the My Applications tab and choose E-Certification from the available list. Sometimes the E-Certification option won't appear for 10-15 minutes, or up to a few hours, so you may need to log out and try again later that day.

Where can I find information about registering for the West-B and West-E/NES tests?
Visit the Washington Educator Skills Tests website.

Do you accept any tests other than the West-B or West-E/NES?
There are multiple tests that are accepted in lieu of the West-B and West-E/NES. See Teacher Assessments for more information.

I have an expired initial certificate. What do I need to do to update my certification?
Since your initial certificate expired prior to September 1, 2000, you will need to convert to the residency certificate. That certificate will carry the same endorsements as your initial certificate. You may apply through E-Certification.

I'm applying for my first Washington certificate. Should I apply for the residency or professional certificate?
You should apply for the residency certificate. The professional certificate requires completion of a Washington professional certificate program, national board certification (issued by NBPTS), or an Oregon CTL (continuing teaching license) issued after January, 1999 (only accepted until 07/01/2017), or Wisconsin’s Masters Educator License.

My residency certificate says 'Residency FI' or 'Residency PS' and has no expiration date. What do I need to do to keep my certificate current?

  • Individuals will not have a defined expiration date until they have employment. Individuals employed in a Washington state school district will have the validity calculated based on the experience information submitted by the school district on their annual personnel report (S275 report) to OSPI. Individuals employed in a Washington public school will receive notification from their employer when they must submit a reissuance application.
  • Individuals employed by a Washington school district must have their residency certificate reissued with a defined expiration date once they are eligible for enrollment in ProTeach.
  • Individuals employed in nonpublic school settings may participate in completing professional teacher certificate requirements and have their certificate reissued with a defined expiration date. It is up to the individual or their employer to determine if they wish to have their certificate reissued with a defined expiration date.

When a certificate is reissued, it will be valid for three years.

I have a renewed initial teaching certificate that will expire in June and want to apply for the continuing certificate. What do I need to do?
You will need to meet requirements for the continuing certificate and submit your application prior to the expiration of your renewed initial certificate. Further information regarding the continuing certificate requirements.

I'm going to retire after many years of teaching in Washington, but I would still like to substitute teach. Where would I find an application for a substitute certificate?
You may apply through E-Certification.

I have a residency certificate due to expire in June. I didn't teach for the first few years I had it. How can I renew it?
You may need to have your residency certificate reissued. You may apply through E-Certification. More information on residency teacher reissuance.

I've already had my residency certificate reissued. Do I need to enroll in a ProTeach program?
Yes. You can renew your certificate for an additional two years just by attesting intention to register and complete ProTeach or the National Board Assessment. Further information about the ProTeach programs can be found on the ProTeach website.

How can I find out information about CTE (vocational) certification?
Please visit how to become CTE certified in Washington.

How can I add an endorsement to my certificate?
There are several ways to add an endorsement. However, it might be best to contact our office, either at Professional Certification or by telephone at 360-725-6400 so we can provide you with information appropriate for your situation.

I'm interested in substitute teaching, but I don't have an education background. Is there any way I can substitute teach?
A regular substitute teaching certificate requires the same preparation as a regular teaching certificate: a bachelor's degree and a state-approved training program. However, we do offer an emergency substitute certificate, which does not require a teacher training program. That certificate must be requested by an employing school district. Review further information regarding the emergency substitute.

 

Administrator


I'm certified administrator from another state. How can I obtain a Washington certificate?
You may apply through E-Certification.

Is testing required for the administrative certificate?
No.

I have an expired initial principal's certificate. What do I need to do to update my certification?
Since your initial principal's certificate has expired, you will need to convert to the residency certificate. You may apply through E-Certification.

My residency principal's certificate says 'Residency FI' and has no expiration date. What do I need to do to keep my certificate current?
You don't need to do anything with your certificate until after you have been a principal or assistant principal for two consecutive years in Washington with the same employer. Then you will need to apply for reissuance of your certificate. You may apply through E-Certification, and we will issue you a new certificate that will expire five years from the end of your second year of service in the principal role.

 

ESA


I'm certified in another state. How can I obtain a Washington certificate?
You may apply through E-Certification.

I'm a nurse who wants to work in the schools. How do I get certified?
If you hold a bachelor's degree or higher in nursing and hold a valid registered nurse license from the Washington State Department of Health, you may complete the application for an Initial Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school nurse certificate. There may be additional requirements but a temporary permit may be issued based on appropriate degree and license until additional requirements are met. View the requirements and access the application.

I'm a nurse who has a valid license but I do not have a bachelor's degree in nursing. How do I get certified?
Nurses who hold a valid license issued by the Washington State Department of Health but do not have a bachelor's degree in nursing may be eligible for a Conditional Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school nurse certificate with a school district request. Candidates must submit a complete Conditional Certificate application.

I'm a nurse, occupational therapist, or physical therapist with a Limited Permit from the Washington State Department of Health. Must I wait for my actual license before I can apply for certification?
A valid license is required for issuance of an Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificate. However, a temporary ESA permit may be issued pending the valid license if appropriate degree requirements are met. View the requirements and access the application.

I applied for an Initial Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificate as a school nurse, school occupational therapist, school physical therapist, school social worker, or school speech language pathologist or audiologist and have been issued a temporary permit pending completion of the required ESA course. My permit will expire before I can complete the course. What should I do?
Second permits are not automatically issued. You must contact the Professional Certification Office to request a second/final temporary permit. Only two permits may be issued, allowing up to one year to complete the ESA course requirement.

How do I know if my program is state-approved for Washington Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certification?
If you completed a program through an institution outside of Washington State, you must check with the institution to be sure their program is/was state-approved at the time you completed the program. Washington accepts all other states' approved programs for purposes of serving in the role in K-12 schools.

I'm applying for a certificate as a school speech language pathologist or audiologist. Is a valid license from the Department of Health required for Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certification?
No, a license is not required for school speech language pathologist or audiologist certification. It may be a requirement for employment, however, so we encourage candidates to check with their employer.

I hold a Residency Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school counselor, school psychologist, or school social worker certificate that does not show an expiration date. What should I do?
If you are a school counselor or school psychologist and have completed two consecutive years of service in the role and will sign or have signed a third-year contract with the same employer in Washington, you must submit the Residency ESA Reissuance application to have an expiration date issued to your certificate. If you are a school social worker, please contact the OSPI Certification Office.

I hold a Residency Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school counselor or school psychologist certificate and am wondering if I should apply for reissuance. Do the two consecutive years in the role need to be full-time employment?
No, to meet residency ESA reissuance criteria, the experience can be full- or part-time employment.

I already hold or have held an Initial Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificate as a school nurse, school occupational therapist, school physical therapist, school social worker, or school speech language pathologist or audiologist. How do I renew my certificate?
There is no “renewal” of the Initial ESA certificate. You may apply for another Initial ESA or the Continuing ESA certificate. View the requirements and access the application.

I'm applying for another Initial Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school nurse, school occupational therapist, school physical therapist, school social worker, or school speech language pathologist or audiologist certificate. Do I need to complete the ESA course or submit transcripts again?
You do not need to complete the ESA course or submit transcripts again for an additional Initial ESA certificate. However, school speech language pathologists or audiologists must provide verification of successful completion of the required written comprehensive exam if the OSPI Certification Office does not already have the information on file. This is determined by the evaluator during review of the submitted application.

My Residency Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school counselor or school psychologist certificate has already been reissued. What is my next step?
If you do not yet meet Professional ESA certification requirements, you may apply to have your Residency ESA certificate renewed once.

I'm a school counselor and earned my National Board for Professional Teaching Standards school counselor certificate. How do I obtain the Professional Educational Staff Associate (ESA) certificate?
You may apply for the Professional ESA certificate by submitting a complete application. Be sure to include a copy of your valid NBPTS school counselor certificate.

I'm a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. How do I obtain the Professional Educational Staff Associate (ESA) school psychologist certificate?
You may apply for the Professional ESA certificate by submitting a complete application. Be sure to include a copy of your valid NCSP certificate.

 

ProTeach Portfolio


Where do I go if I have a question about ProTeach Portfolio?
The Professional Educator Standards Board maintains the Washington ProTeach Portfolio website and FAQ page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Updated 4/19/2016

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