Teaching in Washington
With beautiful cities, great public transportation, a crime rate well below the national average, and no property tax, Washington State is an attractive place to live and work. The climate is mild, too; despite its reputation, the truth is that it rains less in Seattle than it does in New York—or for that matter, in that other Washington (D.C.). Teachers will probably also like Washington’s culture. The city of Seattle, for example, boasts more books per capita than any other city in the nation (and more coffee shops). And Washington is working to become an even more intellectually stimulating place, for both educators and students.Two bills passed in 2011 that were devoted to public school innovation. The first, HB 1521, requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop a process to recognize Washington State schools for their academic achievements and innovations, including financial awards and publicly highlighting their achievements. The second bill, HB 1546, established a process for authorizing schools to pursue innovative strategies. Put together, these bills give local schools a greater measure of empowerment in developing programs and curriculum to meet their students’ needs, and to recognize their success. In 2010, the Superintendent of Public Instruction also began recognizing the three best middle and high schools in terms of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction. Those schools, in turn, provided best practices to other schools, as well as advice and technical assistance in developing additional STEM programs. In 2012, legislation was passed to expand the recognition program to elementary schools, further encouraging Washington students to develop this high-demand knowledge base and skill set. The state’s STEM fund can also receive gifts from private donors, so citizens and businesses are encouraged to continue the development of STEM programs. In 2012 the state legislature authorized a pilot program enabling colleges and universities to collaborate with local high-risk school districts, in order to create better programs and methods for both student and teacher instruction. The initial program has selected six elementary schools identified as underperforming by state and federal criteria, and which have not received enough funds to implement substantive change. The postsecondary schools involved will seek to adapt research-based methods of classroom instruction and teacher preparation to their partnered elementary schools. If the program demonstrates measurable success, it will be expanded to promote similar improvement in a greater number of schools.In order to be licensed to teach in Washington, applicants must have completed a teacher preparation from a regionally accredited college or university program at a bachelor’s level or higher. Such programs may be complete either in or out of state; though teachers from certain out-of-state programs may be required to complete additional courses. Any teacher preparation program will include a period of student teaching in their endorsement area, which may take as long as an entire semester. Additionally, applicants must pass the WEST-B skills test (out-of-state applicants may complete either the CBEST or the Praxis I) to demonstrate sufficiency in reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as the WEST-E test specific to their endorsement area. Residency Teacher Certification is the initial level of certification for Washington teachers, valid for two years and renewable once. During this time, teachers must apply for and pass either the ProTeach Assessment or the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Assessment in order to obtain their Professional Teacher Certification. Additional details and information about the certification process can be found at the Washington teaching certification website.
- What’s the education climate in Washington?
- How’s the job outlook for Washington teachers?
- What benefits do Washington teachers have?
- What are the credentialing requirements in Washington?
- Find schools offering Masters in Education programs in Washington
What’s the education climate in Washington?Three major initiatives passed in recent years indicating the state is not satisfied with the historical status quo in education, and is interested in getting away from the more-of-the-same-but-with-more-funding approach to education. Each initiative explores a new way of promoting educational growth and empowerment of teachers, so that educators at all levels can discover and adapt new and effective methods for improving teacher and student achievement.
Average Salaries for Washington Teachers
- Elementary School: $59,160
- Middle School: $59,800
- High School: $60,260
- All Washington jobs: $50,280