Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Elementary Teacher Certification

Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed.

Master of Education

Leadership Development for Educators (LEDE)

Education Minor

General Questions

I want to be a teacher in Washington State. Where do I go to school and what do I study?

This depends on you.

  • Do you already have an undergraduate degree?
  • What grade level do you want to teach?
  • Do you have a particular subject area that you are interested in teaching?
  • Is there a particular university you want to attend?
  • Are you wanting to attend school full-time or part-time?

Requirements can vary and at some point you will want to talk to an advisor, but here is some information that can help frame the conversation.

According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), teachers in public and private schools in Washington State are required to hold a teaching certificate. The certificate is an official document which attests to minimum prerequisites, which include the following:

  • Age. At least 18 years old.
  • Character & Fitness. A background check which includes obtaining fingerprints and being screened by both the Washington State Patrol and the FBI.
  • Degree. A bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college/university.
  • Preparation Program. A teacher preparation program at a state-approved college/university which includes content (what to teach) methodology (how to teach), and a student teaching experience (internship, or practicum).

You do not really have any choices around the age requirement and the "Character & Fitness" requirement. If you have questions about the "Moral Character & Fitness" requirement, you can talk to an advisor or to someone at the OSPI. The bachelor's degree and the preparation program requirements involve choices on your part.

The first major decision is what grade level you want to teach. People who teach young children (e.g. Kindergarten through 6th grade) are usually responsible for teaching all subjects. Therefore, your undergraduate program would require academic breadth, but almost any major is acceptable, including an education major.

People who teach older students (e.g. junior high and high school), typically teach only one subject, such as history or math. Therefore, your undergraduate program would consist of acquiring expert level knowledge by majoring in the field in which you plan to teach. If you are interested in teaching more than one subject, you can take extra classes in college to gain expertise in more than one field. If your undergraduate degree did not include a major in education, then you must still attend a teacher preparation program to get a teaching certificate.

The required teacher preparation program can stand alone as a post baccalaureate program, it can be part of a Master in Teaching (MIT) degree program, or it can be part of a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree program. The UW Bothell's K-8 Teacher Certification program is an example of the stand alone program and the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program is an example of the M.Ed. program.

Teacher certificate programs in Washington State vary by what grades and subject areas they specialize in. For example, UW Bothell's post baccalaureate K-8 Teacher Certification program is for Elementary Education. When people graduate from this program, they are authorized to teach children from Kindergarten to 8th grade in all of the standard subject areas. The Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. is for Secondary Education in the subjects of Biology, English/Language Arts, History, Mathematics, and Social Studies. When people graduate from this program, they are authorized to teach in one of these subject areas at the high school or middle school level.

To help you decide what you want to focus on and what college to attend, OSPI maintains a couple of lists of colleges in the region that offer teacher certificate programs. One list is sorted by subject area and the other list is sorted by college. If you know what you want to teach, you can see what schools you can attend in Washington State. If you know what college you want to attend, you can see what areas you can focus on for a teacher certificate.

"Endorsements" are the official way that Washington state keeps track of what you are authorized to teach. For example, if you graduate from the UW Bothell's K8 Teacher Certification program you will have a teacher certificate with an "Elementary Education" endorsement. A graduate from the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program will have a teacher certificate with an endorsement in Biology, English/Language Arts, History, Mathematics, Social Studies, or some combination of these.

Typically your endorsement is based on what teacher certificate program you attended, but there are alternative paths to endorsements. Also, you can have more than one endorsement on your certificate, and there are "primary" and "supporting" endorsements that depend on the number of required college credit hours. Endorsements can get complex. For more information, talk to an advisor and/or check out the OSPI endorsement question page.

Because Washington State regulates what is required in a teacher certificate program for a particular grade range and subject area, all approved programs focus on the same knowledge and skills. However, each university program has its own distinctive features. There are also some differences in how universities schedule their classes. For example, The Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program is a two year program that starts with part-time evening  coursework and ends with full-time coursework and student teaching. What choice you make in this regard is dependent on individual circumstances. Teacher requirements can change, so be sure to talk with an advisor before making major decisions. This can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

K-8 Teacher Certification

What is the Five Quarter Program?

The Five Quarter Program begins spring quarter with two classes (7 credits), evenings/twice a week then continues with 12 months of full-time study. Students move on to integrated coursework and field experiences autumn and winter quarters, and complete student teaching in spring.

This program will become a four quarter, full-time program during the day starting spring quarter 2015 and ending mid-March 2016.

What is the difference between a post baccalaureate program and MIT program?

A post baccalaureate program includes only the work required to get a teacher's certificate in Washington state. An MIT program includes additional credit/work that allows you to receive a teacher's certificate along with a Master's degree and is a practice-based Master’s degree. Post baccalaureate programs are usually offered at undergraduate tuition rates; MIT, MA or M.Ed. programs charge graduate tuition rates.

What is the cost of the K-8 Teacher Certification program?

At UW Bothell, as of autumn quarter 2013, the tuition cost of the Five Quarter Program is approximately $18,600, not including books and miscellaneous fees.

Please check the University of Washington Tuition and Fees web site for the most current tuition information.

What are application deadlines?

Current application deadlines are posted here and plan to attend an Information Session to obtain an application packet.

If I apply but am not admitted, can I be considered for the next application pool?

Yes, an application can be rolled over into the next application pool. But first meet with the program advisor and see what needs to be strengthened.

Applicant pools may differ. Unsuccessful applicants are therefore strongly advised to revise their application materials and to submit additional evidence of their qualifications if they choose to reapply to the program.

Who should I contact for more information?

For application advising and information on the Education Minor, contact: Education Program Office


Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed.

What is the difference between the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program and an MIT program?

Like a Master in Teaching (MIT) program, candidates in the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. will obtain teacher certification for middle school and high school as well as a master’s degree. The Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. is a rigorous research-based academic program that challenges you to think deeply about yourself as an educator and a learner.

In our M.Ed. program, you will be encouraged to think about the complex nature of education, to explore questions central to your professional growth, and to develop sustained, collegial relationships with peers from across the region.

Can I earn a Secondary Teacher Cerfication without going through the Master of Education program?

No, this program combines the Secondary Teacher Certification with the Master of Education degree. There is no stand-alone option for earning a Secondary Teacher Certification at UW Bothell. 

Can I add endorsements to my current Washington State Teacher Residency Certification through this program?

We do not have a pathway for earning additional endorsements for currently certified teachers at this time. If you are already a certified teacher and you want to earn just your Master of Education degree, please explore the UW Bothell Master of Education program.

When can I start the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program?

The Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. starts a new cohort each Autumn quarter. The application deadline is in early April for the following autumn quarter.

How long does it take to complete the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program?

This program takes two years to complete. It is a "lock-step" program which means that the courses must be taken in the order offered and you progress from one quarter to the next.

You take classes two nights week during the first three quarters of the program (Autumn, Winter, and Spring).  During the fourth quarter (Summer) you begin courses and fieldwork during the day, five days a week. This schedule continues during Autumn and Winter of your second year.

Upon the successful completion of Winter quarter, you will be recommended for your teacher certification and would be able to teach in the public schools. Spring quarter you complete your culminating project for the Master of Education degree which concludes the program.

Which endorsements does the UW Bothell Education Program offer through the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program?

The UW Bothell Education Program is approved to offer endorsements in:

  • Biology
  • English/Language Arts
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education for General Educators Endorsement

Do I need an undergraduate degree in the subject area I want to teach?

No, you do not need to have an undergraduate degree in the subject area you want to teach. You do need to show that you have completed a sufficient amount of college level coursework in your endorsement area.

For each endorsement area, there is a Transcript Review form that lists the subjects you must have covered in your college level coursework. Please go to the Application Checklist web page for the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. to see the Transcript Review forms for each endorsement area.

What courses count towards my endorsement course requirements?

Any college level coursework can be used towards your endorsement requirements. That includes 100 and 200 level work completed at a community college and classes taken via online or distance learning programs. All classes must be listed on an official college transcript.

Can I transfer courses from another teacher preparation program into the UW Bothell program?

The UW Bothell Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program has been designed to be taken as a series of courses in sequence. You cannot substitute courses from another teacher preparation program in place of required courses in this program.

You are required to take at least 3 credits of elective coursework in the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program. If you were a matriculated graduate student in another program, a maximum of 10 credits of graduate course work may be considered for transfer into the program in place of these elective courses (based on the provisions and regulations of the Graduate School). A minimum grade of 3.0 is required for each course.

A maximum of six credits at the graduate level may be considered for transfer into the program if you were not a matriculated graduate student. A minimum grade of 3.0 is required for each course.

How can I fulfill my outstanding endorsement coursework requirements?

Endorsement coursework can be completed at any accredited college or university, in or out of state. Most requirements may be fulfilled with courses at the 100 or 200 level and many can be found at local community colleges. Coursework may also be completed through online or distance learning courses. Explore several options for completing this coursework and choose the one that provides you with the best learning opportunity.

Where can I find endorsement-related courses?
All endorsement-related coursework must be taken at a regionally accredited college/university. Here is a list of nearby colleges/universities with links to their quarterly time schedules.

UW Seattle Time Schedule
UW Bothell Time Schedule
Cascadia Community College
Seattle Community Colleges (North Seattle, Seattle Central, and South Seattle campuses)
Bellevue College
Edmonds Community College
Everett Community College
Shoreline Community College

The following website dedicated to all online courses offered through the Washington State Community College: Washington Community Colleges Online

Can I find all of my endorsement coursework at the community college?
Sometimes, depending on the classes being offered.  Although you will find many endorsement courses at the community college, there are some endorsement requirements that can only be fulfilled at 4-year universities. Here are some examples of requirements that are easier to find at 4-year universities:
•    English Language Study
•    Historical Methodology and/or Research
•    Literary Theory and Criticism
•    Discrete Math
•    History/Foundations of Math
•    Geometry

I can’t find a course that specifically covers the area I am missing. How do I fulfill this requirement?
Often times, departments will offer a course with a broader title and catalog description that is taught with a more specific focus. For example, a course  in literature, poetry, prose, etc. If the course emphasizes or focuses a significant amount of study on women writers, this can fulfill your Women Author’s endorsement requirement. Please note, that the burden of proof is on you to provide documentation to support your claim. Examples of additional documentation include course syllabi or a letter from your course instructor outlining your areas of study.

Can one course be applied toward two endorsement requirements?
Yes. For example, we have approved Special Topic courses on Female African-American authors as fulfilling both the Women Writers and the Literature by Writers of Colors requirements. 

I completed an independent study that I think fulfilled a particular requirement. Will my independent study satisfy an endorsement requirement?
Possibly. Fill out an Endorsement Prerequisite Petition Form with any supporting documentation and send to The more documentation you provide (i.e. course syllabi, detailed course description, letter of support from your faculty) the better your chances of having the petition approved.

What is the cost of the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program?

At UW Bothell, as of 2007-2008, the tuition costs for both years of the Secondary Teacher Certification M.Ed. program is approximately $20,000, not including books and miscellaneous fees.

Tuition rates are subject to change and you should check the most recent tuition rates at Tuition & Fees on the UW Bothell web site.


Master of Education

Is the Master of Education an MIT program?

No. The Master of Education program does NOT result in a teacher's certificate. A Master in Teaching (MIT) program is primarily a teacher certification program with extra credits that result in a masters degree that is officially recognized by school districts for salary purposes. The Master of Education is a full master's program which focuses on a deeper understanding of the complex nature of education.

Why would I get a Master of Education?

The Master of Education program gives you the opportunity to deeply explore the topic of education. This program is aimed at classroom teachers and people working in the field of education who already have experience and want to further their knowledge.

In our M.Ed. program, you will be encouraged to think about the complex nature of education, to explore questions central to your professional growth, and to develop sustained, collegial relationships with peers from across the region.


Education Minor

Why would I get an Education Minor?

Getting an Education Minor can help you decide whether you want to pursue teaching as a career. You will have an opportunity to explore current issues and challenges in the field of education. Many of the Education Minor courses include opportunities to volunteer in community schools. This experience can be used towards your "work with youth" application requirement for the teacher certification programs.

In addition, 16 of the 25 credits can be applied to your K-8 Teacher Certification program which will shorten your time in getting a K-8 teacher certificate.


Leadership Development for Educators (LEDE)

What are the admission requirements?

  • The UW Graduate School requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a 3.0 GPA in the last 90 quarter credits or 60 semester credits of graded upper-division coursework.
  • Current Washington State Professional Teacher Certification (or equivalent continuing certification). Applicants from private schools should also show comparable teaching experience and professional development.

Can I work full-time and still complete this program?

Yes. The program is designed for full-time teachers. The ideal candidate is a current K-12 teacher with 5 or more years of teaching experience and has either formal or informal experience in instructional leadership and support.

How long is the program?

Candidates are registered for a total of 4 quarters.  About 80% of our students complete the program within 2 academic years.

In year 1, candidates will only register autumn quarter, for 2-12 credits, depending on transfer/waiver credits.  Winter and spring quarter candidates will focus on supporting instructional leadership and will not need to register for classes because they will be completing a 400 hour internship.

In year 2, candidates are enrolled full-time in autumn and winter quarters, and part-time in spring quarter. Candidates are required to complete a 2nd internship (minimum of 400 hours).  

Sample program structure

How many credits will I earn?

The number of credits candidates can earn throughout the program will range anywhere from between 30-40 credits, depending on how many credits are transferred or waived.

Can I transfer credits into the program?

Students may transfer up to 6 credits toward their first quarter registration. These credits must be graded and cannot have been used previously toward another degree. Please provide the LEDE program advisor with one set of official transcripts from the university where you earned these credits.

Am I eligible for waiver credits?

The LEDE program faculty may award up to 4 waiver credits from previous experience. The faculty will base their decision on the information you provide on your supplemental application. When filling out the supplemental application, error on the side of providing too much information.

Am I eligible to have any of my internship hours waived?

Like waiver credits, the LEDE program faculty may waive up to 200 of the 400 hours required for your Part 1 Internship. The waiver of internship credits will be based on your previous experience, provided on the supplemental application form.

Students are not eligible to have any hours waived for their Part 2 Internship. The Part 2 Internship requires a minimum of 400 hours.

When are seminars held?

All seminars are held at the UW Bothell campus and meet approximately one Saturday a month. In Part 1, candidates will meet 6 times. In Part 2, candidates will meet 10 times. Seminars are held at the UW Bothell campus and begin at 8:30am and end at 4:30pm.

How often do you admit students into the program?

We admit students every spring and autumn quarter.

What if I already have a master's degree?

We are unable to uncouple the principal certification with the Master’s degree requirements. About 60% of our LEDE candidates already have a Master’s degree and will earn a second Master’s degree.

Where will I do my internship?

The Part 1 Internship (focusing on instructional leadership and support) is embedded in your current job. The Part 2 Internship (focusing on traditional principal internship responsibilities) can be completed in your own school or in a different school and/or district. Note, some districts have an internal intern selection process and you must be chosen by your district. Candidates are encouraged to do complete their Part 2 Internship in a different school from where they work.

What is the overall cost of the program?

The overall cost of the program ranges from $14-17k, depending on waiver/transfer credits. For more information about the transfer/waiver process, please contact the LEDE graduate program advisor.

Please visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website for Graduate Students for information about scholarships and other financial aid opportunities

What materials are required to apply to the LEDE program?

Please go to our Application Information page on our website.


Contact Erica Lind, Graduate Program Advisor at

Other links related to Washington Residency Principal Certification: