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Home » Certification » Teachers » Washington State Certification - Frequently Asked Questions

Washington State Certification - Frequently Asked Questions

This page displays frequently asked questions for specific Certificate Types.


Official certificates are now available online through your E-Certification profile.

Once you log into E-Certification please select "My Credentials". Under the certificate list you will see a "View" button on the left. Selecting this will give you the official copy of your current certificate.

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.

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.

For your degree and/or coursework to be accepted for certification requirements, it must be taken from an accredited college or university.

See the list of accreditation bodies approved by the Washington State Achievement Council.

Prior to the lapse date of your certificate, you may log your completed 100 clock hours (or credit equivalent) and/or up to four annual Professional Growth Plans into your E-Certification profile (in Professional Development) and submit the electronic renewal application. You may apply through E-Certification

Completion of 100 clock hours (or credit equivalent) and/or up to four annual Professional Growth Plans within the five years preceding your application for reinstatement is required. You may apply through E-Certification

Application and processing fees vary based on certificate type. Download the Application Fee Schedule.


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.

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 E-Certification instructions login page 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.

There are multiple tests that are accepted in lieu of the West-B and West-E/NES. See Teacher Assessments for more information.

If your initial certificate expired prior to September 1, 2000, your next step is to convert to the residency certificate. That certificate will carry the same endorsements as your initial certificate. You may apply through E-Certification

You should apply for the residency certificate. The professional certificate requires completion of a Washington professional certificate assessment (ProTeach), national board certification (issued by National Boards), Wisconsin's Master Educator, or Ohio's Five-Year Professional License. (The Wisconsin Master Educator License and Ohio's Five-Year Professional License both require verification of five years of teaching experience in a P-12 setting.)

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 by a Washington school district must have their residency certificate reissued with a defined expiration date
  • 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 five years.

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.

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.

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.


Since your initial principal's certificate has expired, you will need to convert to the residency certificate. You may apply through E-Certification

You don't need to do anything with your certificate until after you have been a principal, assistant principal, or vice principal for two years in Washington. Then you shall 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 role.


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.

Nurses who hold a valid registered nurse 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 school nurse certificate with a school district request. Candidates must submit a complete Conditional Certificate application.

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.

Additional permits are not generally issued. However, under extenuating circumstances, it is possible to have a permit extended slightly to accommodate time to complete a course you are signed up for. You must contact the Professional Certification Office to request a permit extension. Such request must be in writing (by e-mail, fax, or mail) and must include verification you are registered for the next available ESA course, and a district rush request to verify employment and need.

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' programs having state approval for purposes of educational certification or licensure for serving in the role in K-12 schools.

Only specific ESA Certificates are required to complete a suicide prevention course to earn, renew, or upgrade the certificate. For more information visit Suicide Prevention Information.

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.

If you are a school counselor or school psychologist and have completed two years of service in the role 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, you may apply for reissuance or convert to the initial ESA certificate.

You may apply for the Professional ESA certificate by submitting a complete application. Be sure to include a copy of your valid National Boards school counselor 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.

Clock Hours

STEM is the authentic combination of at least two of the STEM components(science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

As of September 1, 2019, renewal applications for Initial, Residency, Professional, and Continuing teacher and Initial/Continuing CTE certificates require completion of at least 15 clock hours, or at least one goal from an annual professional growth plan (PGP), with an emphasis on STEM integration.

The Professional Educator Standards Board has a complete list of endorsement areas that require the completion of STEM clock hours. Professional Educator Standards Board STEM Renewal Requirement

To find out if you're completing STEM clock hours, you will need to contact the Washington approved clock hour provider, ESD, college/university, and/or state, local, federal agency.