In Washington, the subject area that a teacher is able to teach is called an endorsement. The endorsement(s) that a teacher has earned will appear on his or her certificate, designating that the teacher is certified to teach in that subject area. PLEASE NOTE that while endorsements are intended to define "safe-to-teach" standards for the state; they are not necessarily an indicator of job effectiveness or performance. For more information on teacher certificate endorsements, please click here.
PESB publishes guidance on the most appropriate match between endorsements and what courses the endorsement allows the teacher to teach, which you can see on PESB's Assignment Tool. There is a preference for a "match" between a teacher's endorsement and their assignment, but school districts are also able to place teachers "out of assignment" should the need arise. Please see the appropriate chapter in the Washington Administrative Code for more details.
Washington State Endorsements - There are multiple content area endorsements covering different grade level ranges (or "bands") available in Washington, as well as specialty endorsements that cover specific student populations rather that just grade levels.
When a teacher transfers to Washington, two factors determine what endorsements they will have on their certificate: The 4020E (Verification of Program Completion) form, and/or the 4020F (Verification of Experience) form plus their out-of-state certificate. These documents are evaluated by OSPI's Certification Office to determine what endorsement(s) will appear on your Washington State certificate.
Your out-of-state certificate/license will be evaluated for alignment, taking into consideration how your endorsement was earned and whether it aligns with one of ours. First time out-of-state applicants can transfer their endorsements to their Washington Residency certificate if they were earned through a state-approved preparation program, and/or if they were added to their certificate and they have 3 years of experience teaching outside of Washington within the last 7 years. In addition, the endorsement must align with one of our Washington State endorsements as far as the content and grade level band (certificate endorsements, WAC 181-82A-202; specialty endorsements, WAC 181-82A-208; grade designations, WAC 181-82-201)***.
***PLEASE NOTE that this "match" does not have to be exact, and the Certification office will determine the most appropriate and closely corresponding endorsement (for example, a K-6 Elementary Education endorsement from another state would "translate" to Washington's K-8 Elementary Education endorsement).
If none of the endorsements on your out-of-state certificate align with Washington's, you cannot be issued a Residency certificate since certificates must have at least one endorsement (WAC 181-82A-215); instead, you can apply to be issued a Substitute certificate until you are able to earn a Washington State endorsement.
Upon being issued a Residency certificate (or permit pending testing), you are then treated as an in-state teacher and the endorsement requirements (WAC 181-82A-204) are applied; meaning, after you receive your Washington certificate, you must follow Washington's policies to add any other additional endorsements to your certificate (see here for information on adding endorsements after you are already certified in Washington).
New teacher candidates in Washington earn their initial endorsements through their preparation program. However, veteran/experienced teachers can add endorsements to their certificate by following different pathways depending on their current endorsements (click here for more information). If you have questions about adding an endorsement to your pre-existing Washington certificate, or about how to add endorsements once you become certified in Washington, please contact the Certification office (they can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (360) 725-6400).
Find a program - This link shows which colleges and universities in Washington are approved to offer which endorsements. However, please be aware that these colleges might not offer every endorsement program that they are authorized to offer every year.