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Alternative Route Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Alternative Routes Program?

Alternative Route to Teacher Certification programs are intended for districts, or districts in cooperation with educational service districts (ESDs) to operate partnerships with higher education teacher preparation programs,other non higher education entities, community colleges or consortia of higher education teacher preparation programs to provide performance-based alternative routes aimed at recruiting candidates to teaching in program shortage areas such as:
  • Special Education
  • English Language Learner
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Level Math
  • Middle Level Science
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Bilingual Education
  • Other secondary subject matter shortage areas may be identified by school districts as geographic shortage areas


What is a shortage area?

Alternative Route programs work with school district partners to identify core subject areas that are difficult to fill. A few of the most common shortages are listed below, however districts may have additional subject matter shortage areas that are specific to their region.
  • Special Education
  • English Language Learner
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Level Math
  • Middle Level Science
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • Bilingual Education

What are the different routes?

Link to the Route information page.


Would I qualify for an alternative route?

Qualifications for admission by Route are:
  • Route 1- Must be employed as a classified staff in a school district for one year and hold a transferable Associate of Arts Degree
  • Route 2- Must be employed as a classified staff for one year and hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Arts Degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Route 3- Must hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Arts degree from a regionally accredited institution and not be employed by a school district at the time of application
  • Route 4 Must hold a minimum of a Bachelor of Arts degree from a regionally accredited institution and hold a conditional certificate. The school district may employ the Route 4 candidate as the teacher of record and can designate them as Highly Qualified under federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) definitions

How much does it cost?

Each program sets the tuition for their Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification. For more information, contact the program directly. For contact information for all Alternative Route Programs click here 

A limited number of conditional loan scholarships are available for those who qualify. Other sources of financial assistance may be accessed at: http://www.wsac.wa.gov/PayingForCollege/FinancialAidPrograms.


Can I teach while I am doing an Alternative Route Program?

Yes, if you qualify as a Route 4 candidate (you must have  passed the WEST-E subject area test for your endorsement area, hold a minimum of a Bachelors of Arts degree from a regionally accredited institution and the employing district has issued applied to and received from  the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)  a conditional certificate for you) you may be hired as the teacher of record during the year you are enrolled in the Alternative Route 4 program.  Under the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) definition the district can claim you as a highly qualified teacher. To review a memo from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Professional Educator Standards Board related to the designation of Highly Qualified Teacher as a Route 4 Alternative route candidate, click here.


How do I apply for an Alternative Routes Program?

Each alternative route program has their own application process and you must contact them directly.

Admission into the alternative route programs is competitive and on a space-available basis dependent on state and district funding.


Alternative Routes to Certification Program

Link to Alternative Routes Provider Page