If your dream is to become a teacher in the state of Washington, you need to know what the requirements are for getting hired in one of the education opportunities available in this state. School districts are in need of various qualified teachers to fill different positions. By reviewing the job openings you will have an idea of what area you should concentrate on if you want to get a job. It is important to know what grade levels you would like to teach or, in the case of high schools, what content area you would like to specialize in. To meet the basic requirements for becoming a teacher in Washington, you must hold at least a Bachelor's degree and be certified to teach in the state.
As part of its review of education opportunities, the Washington Board of Education has identified teacher shortages in the following areas from 2007 – 2009:
- High School Science teachers for Physics, Chemistry, General Science, Earth Science and Biology
- Teachers for Special Education in general and for Early Childhood Special Education
- Teachers for Junior High Math and Science
- Mathematics teachers
- ESL teachers
The teacher training program is one of the education opportunities to becoming certified in Washington. All of the teacher preparation programs in the state will lead to achieving the Washington State Residency teaching certificate. In addition, you must pass the Washington Educator basic Skills Test to become certified. Once you receive your residency certificate, it is valid for a period of five years, during which time you must undertake courses leading to a Professional Teaching Certificate. You can renew the initial certificate after the first d=five-year period provide you have proof that you are engaged in continuing education.
While there many be many education opportunities for teachers available in Washington, you will only be permitted to teach the grade levels and courses for which you are certified. If you want to teach elementary grades (Grades K-8), you will have an endorsement allowing you to teach any grade level or subject within that range. If you prefer working with older students, you should seek an endorsement in a particular subject area that is part of the high school curriculum. The endorsements are attached to your teaching certificate and are awarded after you submit your transcripts to the certification board.
Teachers who have graduated from a university or teacher training program anywhere in the country can take advantage of the education opportunities available in Washington. This state recognizes teaching certificates from other states, but it does require that all applicants for a Washington teaching certificate complete the basic skills test in reading writing and mathematics. In order to fill some of the areas where there are shortages of teachers, Washington also offers an alternative path to receiving certification. An individual with a degree in a subject area where there are not enough teachers can receive an interim teaching certificate without teacher training. However, in order to remain in the position, the individual must enroll in a teacher preparation course.