Elementary Teaching (K-8)

Minimum certification requirements in Washington

  • a bachelor's degree
  • a completed endorsement in elementary education
    (an endorsement is a notation on your certificate indicating that you have the necessary preparation to teach the broad spectrum of K-8 content areas such as math, social studies, science, reading, etc. You may also have additional endorsements on your certificate, such as special education, ELL, or language arts)
  • completion of an approved teacher education program (usually at the master's degree level)

Preparing as an undergraduate


While pursuing undergraduate studies, investigate teacher education/certification programs in elementary education and plan for the required prerequisite course work for endorsements in elementary education. Pursue your UW bachelor's degree program while completing, at the same time, all prerequisite course work for the certification program(s) to which you plan to apply. These prerequisites include a broad spectrum of English, math, social studies, science, etc. Each post baccaulaureate or graduate program at each college or university sets its own prerequisites for the elementary education endorsement. For examples, you can visit these program sites:

UW Seattle Teacher Certification Program: Elementary Education

UW Bothell Teacher Certification Program: Elementary Education

UW Tacoma Teacher Certification Program: Elementary Education

List of All Approved Programs in Washington (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction)


Classroom experience

Get substantive experience observing and participating in an elementary school classroom. You can arrange these experiences on your own, work with the UW Pipeline Project, or become involved by participating in the Community Literacy Program, coordinated by UW English faculty member Elizabeth Simmons-O'Neill. This is an eight-credit combination of linked courses consisting of an ENGL course (198 or 298 or 498) along with EDUC 401 (Practicum in Community Service) in which you'll work with school children in high-needs schools as well as engaging in academic reading, research, presentation and writing related to your work in the schools. Now in its 19th year, the Community Literacy Program is part of the "elementary education strand" for students planning to enter the Teacher Education Program in the University of Washington's College of Education. This program is available in Winter and Spring quarters.


Other enrichment opportunities

There are other ways to enrich your undergraduate education with classroom and volunteer experiences:

UW Inner Pipeline Seminars provide opportunities for tutoring and teaching

The Dream Project is a student-initiated school outreach program

Completing a minor in Education, Learning, and Society provides background in areas such as child development, schooling and society, and how environment and culture shape learning.

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