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Alternative Routes to Certification


ARC - Elementary
ARC - Secondary/P-12 Certification
ARC - Special Education + Elementary Certification
ARC - Special Education Certification
MAT - Elementary
MAT - Family Consumer Sciences
MAT - K-12 Health/Fitness
MAT - K-12 Music Education
MAT - K-12 Theater
MAT - K-12 Visual Arts
MAT - Middle Level Humanities
MAT - Middle Level Math/Science
MAT - P-12 Foreign Language
MAT - Secondary English/Language Arts
MAT - Secondary History/Social Studies
MAT - Secondary Library Media
MAT - Secondary Math
MAT - Secondary Science
MAT - Special Education
Master in Teaching Math and Science
Master of Arts in Teaching, Bilingual Education
Master of Arts in Teaching, ELL Education
Time Schedule
Course Descriptions
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Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC)


The Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program at Seattle Pacific University integrates a Residency Teacher Certification program with a master of arts degree in the Elements of Teaching (MAT). The ARC program is designed to prepare students who already have a bachelor's degree to teach. The program is to be completed on a full-time basis.

Candidates in the ARC program learn essential knowledge and skills for:

  • Centering instruction on high expectations
  • Demonstrating effective teaching practices
  • Recognizing and responding to individual student needs
  • Focusing on subject matter content
  • Fostering and managing a safe and positive learning environment
  • Using assessment data to modify instruction and improve learning
  • Communicating with parents and the school community
  • Exhibiting collaborative practices that lead to improvements in teaching and learning

The certification component of the program is a one-year, internship-based program of study leading to recommendation for Washington state residency certification. All credits are offered at the graduate level and are adaptations of courses offered in SPU's current master of arts in teaching program.


The Certification component of the program is considered intense. You progress through this component as part of a cohort and begin with an intensive, on-campus learning academy during the summer. The summer coursework includes classes in instructional inquiry, teaching methods and assessment, classroom management, professional teaching issues and the creation of a personalized teacher-development plan, which serves as your individualized plan throughout the time in the program.

You continue throughout the year with internship experiences and additional coursework. The coursework involves field-based, online, and traditional classes. The traditional on-campus classes meet one night a week from approximately 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Online courses allow you to engage in a virtual learning environment and benefit from its asynchronous discussion formats.

Field-based classes allow you to take concepts under consideration into the field and to study directly from the internship site. During this time, you are required to carry out observations and engage professionals in the field in meaningful, learning-focused discussions.


The Internship portion of the program is a vital, integrative experience in which teacher-candidates are paired with a mentor-teacher and conduct supervised teaching in a school setting over the course of an entire school year (three quarters, September through June, five days a week).

The ARC internship follows a co-teaching model where a mentor teacher and a teacher candidate are both actively involved and engaged in all aspects of instruction. As a team, you and your teacher mentor share the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction.

Interns are also expected to help out during after-school hours just as any new teacher would.


Five non-certification classes (15 credits) comprise the master's degree component of the program. The master's component is typically completed during the summer immediately following the Certification component, or it may be completed after beginning your teaching career.

Students who already have a master's degree when entering the program will need to complete only the certification component and EDU 6085 to receive a second master's degree.


  • Washington State Residency Certification in one year.
  • Progression through the program as a cohort.
  • Emphasis on field-based experiences with diverse learners.
  • Development of personalized Teacher Development Plan.
  • Personalized advisement and mentoring.
  • Guaranteed enrollment in Certification courses.
  • Technology embedded in the curriculum.
  • Master of arts degree in the Elements of Teaching.


The ARC program at SPU recognizes the “alternative routes” to certification that have been identified by Professional Educator Standards Board of Washington (PESB) for individuals who possess a unique set of qualifications and wish to be certified to teach in a classroom.

To qualify for the ARC program at SPU, you must meet one of the following criteria.

Route 2

  • Currently employed staff member (e.g., para-educator, instructional assistant, education aide) with a school district or private school.
  • A minimum of one year of career-related experience.
  • Have a BA or BS or higher from a regionally accredited college.

Route 3

  • Individuals not currently employed by a school district or private school.
  • Have a BA or BS or higher from a regionally accredited college.

This is an ideal pathway if you are considering a career change.

Route 4

  • Teachers employed in a public school on a conditional or Emergency Certificate or employed in a private school.
  • Have a BA or BS or higher from a regionally accredited college.

Participants in ARC program must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree, preferably with a major in a state-recognized endorsement area, and meet all residency certification requirements.

If you hold a bachelor’s degree in a nonendorsement area, or want to pursue an endorsement in a content area other than their bachelor’s major area of study, you may need to take additional courses to meet the content requirements in the desired endorsement area.


Applicants are those people who:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree.
  • Have completed a program of study at the college/university level in the area or areas in which they want to be endorsed to teach.
  • Meet the endorsement requirements for their desired teaching area. If the undergraduate degree/major does not match the desired endorsement, applicants must contact Dr. Gregory Gelderman, certification officer, to see if prerequisite coursework is needed.
  • Meet University graduate admission requirements. This includes a GPA of at least 3.0 (4.0=A) in the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester credits) of coursework completed before applying for admission or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • Are available for full-time Internship during the entire school year.
  • Have successfully completed the WEST-B basic competency test. This is a Washington state requirement.
  • Have successfully completed a WEST-E competency test. This is one of the Washington state requirements for completion of an endorsement. The WEST-E website provides an explanation on which test to choose. Applicants may check with the certification coordinator to verify that the applicant is taking the correct test.
  • Write a personal statement with reference to the School of Education conceptual framework, which centers on four essential commitments of educators: service, leadership, competence and character. Address personal development on each commitment as a future teacher. 500 word limit. List any significant experiences working with K-12 aged students in a school or other setting. Please include the length of time of each experience. Bullet form is acceptable.
  • Submit a professional résumé and two letters of recommendation.
  • Submit the appropriate application fee.



Financial aid is available for qualified applicants through Student Financial Services or by calling 206-281-2061.

Paraprofessionals, instructional assistants, and conditionally certified teachers are encouraged to apply to the Alternative Routes to Certification program as they may be able to use their positions as Internships.

For general reference, visit the Office of the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction for useful information while considering the teacher certification process in the state of Washington.


Ted Hiemstra
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions

Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West, Suite 111
Seattle, WA 98119-1922


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