Every year Washington’s math teachers help produce high school graduates that are prepared to be future leaders of critical industries. Last year Washington’s ACT math scores ranked among the top 10 in the nation.
As you navigate the application process to become a math teacher in Washington, you will work with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the agency responsible for processing all certification applications. Although it may take years to become qualified for a Washington State teaching certificate, it will result in a longterm and deeply fulfilling career.
To become a certified math teacher in Washington you will need to complete the following steps:
Complete a Math Teacher Degree Program  
Pass the Math Teacher Testing Requirements  
Apply for a Teaching Certificate with a Mathematics Endorsement  
Renew and Upgrade Your Certification 
Step 1. Complete a Math Teacher Degree Program
One of the basic requirements to become a math teacher in Washington is to earn at least a bachelor’s degree in the field. Several colleges and universities in the state offer a mathematics degree program coupled with a teacher preparation program that will result in eligibility for a teaching certificate upon graduation.
Students in these degree tracks usually start by completing courses in mathematics, such as:
 Algebra
 Geometry
 Trigonometry
 Statistics and probability
 Calculus
 Discrete mathematics
 Advanced mathematics
As you move on to the pedagogical segment of your degree program, courses will focus on teaching mathematics in the classroom. Education and pedagogy will be front and center as you complete courses such as:
 Mathematics teaching strategies
 Fundamentals of education and pedagogy
 Education psychology
 Approach to teaching mathematics
 Mathematics lesson planning resources
 Student diversity
 Mathematics student teaching
You will complete a student teaching segment towards the end of your mathematics teacher preparation program. This is a valuable opportunity in which you will gain reallife teaching experience in a supervised environment. The mentor math teacher you are paired with will also provide you with helpful feedback on what you can do to modify your teaching style or lesson plans.
Alternative Situations
Many prospective math teachers may have already completed at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of mathematics, but have not attended a teacher preparation program. If this is the case for you, you will need to complete an approved teacher preparation program in mathematics at the postbachelor’s level. These programs are offered in varying formats:
 As traditional postbaccalaureate or master’s degree programs that include a student teaching segment
 As alternate routes to certification programs available because mathematics is a core academic area that often experiences shortages of qualified teachers. For this reason, many teacher preparation programs offer a route to teaching certification that involves an onthejob mentored experience instead of student teaching. The Washington Professional Educator Standards Board has identified several routes as alternative pathways for teacher certification that may be completed when it is deemed that there is a shortage of math teachers:

 Route 1 – If you have an associate’s degree and are employed by a school district, you may participate in a mentoring program and begin teaching while you complete your math teacher bachelor’s degree
 Route 2 – If you have a bachelor’s degree and are employed by a school district, you may start teaching while participating in a mentoring program
 Route 3 – If you have a bachelor’s degree in math you may also be permitted to teach if you complete an intensive summer teaching academy and then begin teaching while participating in a mentoring program
OutofState Teachers
If you have worked in a different state as a math teacher with a standard certification for at least three years then you will likely meet the math teacher certification requirements in Washington.
You will need to complete the testing requirements featured in Step 2 within the first year of your employment.
Step 2. Pass the Math Teacher Testing Requirements
Washington maintains its own unique testing program for prospective math teachers. You will need to pass two tests to be eligible for teaching certification, known as Washington Educator Skills Tests (WEST):
 WESTB: Basic test
 WESTE: Endorsement area test for mathematics
WESTB
The WESTB test evaluates you on areas of knowledge that all teachers in Washington State must possess. It is offered in the following three subsections:
 Reading
 Main and supporting ideas of a reading passage
 Relationship among ideas in a selection
 Reasoning to evaluate purpose, point of view, and intent
 Word definition
 Reading graphs and tables
 Writing
 Concept of audience
 Logical development of ideas
 Writing to communicate
 Drafting and revisions
 Basic writing conventions
 Composition combining these elements
 Mathematics
 Numbers and basic operations
 Measurement and geometry
 Statistics and probability
 Algebra
The mathematics section of the WESTB should be particularly easy for you considering that you will have a bachelor’s degree in this subject.
You can qualify for an exemption from taking the specified WESTB subject area subtests if you have National Board Certification or have attained at least the minimum indicated score on any of the following national exams:
 Reading: SAT500, ACT22
 Writing: SAT490, ACT8
 Mathematics: SAT515, ACT22
If you are an experienced outofstate teacher you are exempt from the WESTB if you can submit any of the following:
 Proof of passing the CBEST
 Proof of passing the NES Essential Academic Skills Test
 Proof of passing the Praxis series of tests with minimum subjectarea scores of:

 Reading177 (325 on the computerbased test)
 Writing174 (321 on the computerbased test)
 Mathematics176 (325 on the computerbased test)
NES: National Evaluation Series™ (NES®) Tests
The NES is offered in two versions for prospective math teachers, depending on which grade levels you intend to teach. Both test are multiple choice and require a passing score of 240:
 NES Mathematics for high school
 110 questions to be completed in 240 minutes, covering:
 Algebra and functions – 28%
 Mathematics process – 16%
 Geometry and measurement – 16%
 Discrete mathematics, probability, and statistics – 16%
 Operations and numbers – 12%
 Calculus – 12%
 110 questions to be completed in 240 minutes, covering:
 NES Middle Level Mathematics for middle school
 110 questions to be completed in 225 minutes, covering:
 Operations and numbers – 22%
 Geometry and measurement – 22%
 Calculus and algebra – 22%
 Statistics, probability, and discrete mathematics – 17%
 Processes of mathematics – 17%
 110 questions to be completed in 225 minutes, covering:
Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certificate with a Mathematics Endorsement
Once you have completed the steps up to this point you will be ready to apply for your first teaching certificate. This is known as the Residency Certificate. You can complete an application either online or by sending a paper application to one of seven Educational Service Districts located throughout the state:
 Bremerton
 Pasco
 Spokane
 Tumwater
 Vancouver
 Wenatchee
 Yakima
You must have your fingerprints scanned at any Educational Service District office, or you can contact an official agency that conducts noncriminal background checks.
If your application is successful then you will receive your Residency Certificate, First Issue. This is valid until you are employed full time for 1.5 years, at which point you will need to have it reissued. Once it is reissued it will be valid for another three years.
Step 4. Renew and Upgrade Your Certification
Once you have been employed with a Residency Certificate, First Issue for 1.5 years you will be eligible to enroll in the ProTeach assessment program. Once you enroll in ProTeach you can have your Residency Certificate reissued for another three years.
Teachers are encouraged to upgrade their Residency Certificate to a Professional Certificate, which can be done by completing a ProTeach or National Board assessment. However if you do not complete one of these assessments within the three years that your reissued Residency Certificate is valid, you will be allowed to renew your Residency Certificate once. To renew your Residency Certificate you will need to:
 Attest that you intend to complete the ProTeach assessment
 Already be a candidate under consideration for National Board Certification
Once you attest to one of these your renewed Residency Certificate will then be valid for an additional two years. However as stated, instead of renewing your Residency Certificate, you are encouraged to complete the ProTeach assessment and then upgrade to a Professional Certificate.
You can also upgrade to a Professional Certificate if you have National Board Certification. The Professional Certificate is valid for five years and can be renewed once you have completed 150 hours of continuing education that relates to your improvement as a teacher in general, or specifically in the field of mathematics.
ProTeach Assessment and National Board Certification
These programs are assessments that determine if you meet certain standards of teaching excellence. They do this by examining samples of your math teaching and evaluating you based on test scores. For each program, you will submit a portfolio with evidence of your teaching abilities that will be measured against key skills such as:
 Teaching capabilities
 Contributions to the profession of mathematics
 Steps you have taken for professional development
 Effectiveness of your teaching
Both these programs are completed over the course of at least an academic year. ProTeach is a Washington State assessment program affiliated with the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board.
National Board Certification is a program offered through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of teaching across the country. It offers two different certifications depending on the level of mathematics you teach: