Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification

Alternative routes are designed for career changers and for individuals already working in the school system who want to transition to full-time teaching. Compared to traditional educator preparation programs, alternative routes tend to be shorter, more convenient, more affordable, and more practically oriented. Enrollment in an alternative route program is through an alternative route provider. Please see the list of providers below and contact a provider for more information.

Four routes

Washington State has four alternative routes that cater to specific populations:
  • Route 1: For classified instructional employees (e.g., paraeducators) with Associate's degrees
  • Route 2: For classified staff with Bachelor's degrees
  • Route 3: For "career changers" with Bachelor's degrees
  • Route 4: For district staff with Bachelor's degrees employed on conditional or emergency substitute certificates
All four routes lead to full residency certification (the first level regular teaching certificate).

For more information about the routes and their entry requirements, see the Route Descriptions page.


Use the Find an Alternative Route Program tool to locate a provider. There are currently multiple alternative route programs offered by institutions across Washington State. Program details vary, so please contact the providers directly for more information.
Addtionally, you can use the Alternative Route Program Map, which visually represents what programs work closely with what school districts in Washington State.

If you are a district or preparation provider that is interested in offering an alternative route, please see our Provider Resources page.

More information

Click Below to View the "The Road to Teaching" Infographic
The Road to Teaching