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Alternative Routes to Certification


ARC - Elementary
ARC - Online
ARC - Secondary/P-12 Certification
ARC - Special Education + Elementary Certification
MAT - Bilingual Education
MAT - ELL Education
MAT - ELL Plus Elementary
MAT - Elementary
MAT - Family Consumer Sciences
MAT - P-12 Foreign Language
MAT - P-12 Health/Fitness
MAT - P-12 Music Education
MAT - P-12 Theater
MAT - P-12 Visual Arts
MAT - Secondary History/Social Studies
MAT - Secondary Library Media
MAT - Secondary or Middle Level Mathematics
MAT - Secondary or Middle Level Science
MAT - Special Education and Elementary
MAT - Special Education and Secondary
MAT-Mid Level Humanities or Secondary Eng Lang Arts
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Course Descriptions
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Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC)

Peterson Hall


The Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program at Seattle Pacific University integrates a Washington State Residency Teacher Certificate with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree. Candidates in the ARC program become effective teachers by:

  • Demonstrating effective teaching practices.
  • Centering instruction on high expectations for student achievement.
  • Recognizing and responding to individual student learning needs.
  • Providing clear and intentional focus on subject matter content and curriculum.
  • Fostering and managing a safe, positive learning environment.
  • Using muliple student data elements to modify instruction and improve student learning.
  • Communicating and collaborating with parents and the school community.
  • Exhibiting collaborative and collegial practices focused on improving instruction and learning.

Certification is earned in four academic quarters, from summer to spring. The MAT degree is earned through additional coursework, which may be completed concurrently with certification requirements or in subsequent quarters.

The certification component of the ARC program is 45 credits. Approximately one-third of these credits are allocated for a 43-week Internship. Completion of certification courses, Internship requirements, and passing program assessments qualifies candidates for a Washington state Residency Certificate. This certificate enables candidates to teach in public and private schools in Washington state. The master’s degree is earned by completing an additional 15 graduate level credits or five classes.

All credits are offered at the graduate level and are adaptations of courses offered in the Master of Arts in Teaching program.


Coursework begins in the summer with online and on-campus classes in learning theory, general teaching methods, curriculum design, and literacy strategies. Coursework varies depending on endorsement area to provide discipline-specific emphasis. Candidates typically enroll in classes with peers who are earning the same primary endorsement to promote collegial interdependence. The number of on-campus meetings for coursework varies by endorsement area. However, candidates endorsing in Special Education, Elementary Education, and K-12 Secondary may anticipate meeting on-campus once or twice a week, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and ending at 7:05 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on the class and quarter.

Internship begins in late August as K-12 teachers return to school for in-service training. Candidates intern across the school year, while completing online and on-campus coursework. On-campus and online coursework integrates Internship experiences to assist candidates in applying educational theory and research to planning, instruction, and assessment.

Candidates are paired with a mentor teacher and university coordinator in a supervised school setting. Internship is five days a week, for an entire K-12 school year, approximately 43 weeks, including in-service and end-of-the-year activities.

Candidates and mentor teachers follow a co-teaching model where responsibility for planning, instruction, management, and assessment is shared. Candidates begin internship with focused observations and progress to independent teaching. Across internship, candidates complete assignments designed to maximize field experiences, such as portfolio reflections, unit plans, and program assessments. Internship concludes with candidates returning control of classroom responsibilities to their mentor teachers. 


Candidates earn the MAT degree by completing five graduate level courses, totaling 15 credits. Classes required for the MAT degree are not needed for certification. However, most candidates complete degree requirements immediately following certification to increase their base salary.

Candidates may delay completion of degree requirements for up to five years following the quarter of admission as long as active enrollment status is maintained by completing one class every four quarters. Students admitted to the ARC program with a master’s degree may complete EDU 6085 to receive the MAT degree.


Students must be continuously enrolled in required SPU courses to earn a graduate degree or until the student is officially withdrawn from the program. Exceptions to continuous enrollment must be approved by emailing the program chair at

A student who decides to no longer actively pursue a graduate degree may officially withdraw from the program and the university by emailing the program chairat and the graduate programs manager at

A student may be granted a leave of absence for up to four quarters by the program chair. Once the leave of absence has expired, the student will either enroll in graduate coursework or be dropped from the program.

The Office of Student Academic Services (SAS) requires continuous enrollment to remain admitted in a graduate program. After four quarters of non-enrollment, students will be placed in “inactive status” and will need to reapply for admission.


  • Washington state Residency Certification in one year.
  • Progression through the program as a cohort.
  • Integration of field-based experiences with diverse learners.
  • Oppportunities to teach diverse learners.
  • Feedback for targeted growth and development.
  • Personal advisement and mentoring.
  • Guaranteed enrollment in certification courses.
  • Application of technology in the curriculum.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching degree in the elements of teaching.


The ARC program recognizes the alternative routes to certification that have been identified by the  Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB). These routes are for individuals who possess a unique set of qualifications and wish to earn a Washington state Residency Certificate.

To qualify for the ARC program at SPU, a candidate must meet one of the following criteria:

Route 2

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

Route 3

  • Individuals not currently employed by a school district or private school (e.g., those pursuing a career change).
  • Have a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college.

Route 4

  • Teachers employed in a public school on a Conditional or Emergency Certificate or employed in a private school.
  • Have a bachelor's degree or higher from a regionally accredited college.


Candidates in the ARC program must hold an accredited bachelor’s degree, preferably with a major aligned with a state-recognized endorsement area, and meet all residency certification requirements. Candidates with an undergraduate degree or major in a field not recognized as an endorsement area by Washington State may need to complete additional courses to meet content requirements.

Prospective candidates may apply to the Alternative Routes to Certification program through The Graduate Center. Applications are due February 1. Qualified applicants are invited to participate in group interviews mid-March.

In addition, prospective candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor's degree.
  • Have completed a program of study at the baccalaureate level in the area(s) in which they are pursuing endorsement.
  • Meet the content requirements in the area(s) in which they are pursuing endorsement. Candidates pursuing an endorsement misaligned with their undergraduate degree or major are required to contact Dr. Gregory Gelderman, certification officer, at, to determine whether additional coursework is required.
  • Meet University graduate admission requirements, including a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater (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.
  • Be available for full-time internship beginning when K-12 teachers return to school for in-service and concluding with end-of-the year activities.
  • Successfully complete the WEST-B basic competency test according to requirements set by Washington state. Note: applicants may use SAT (post-2005) and ACT scores to meet part or all of the WEST-B requirements. Contact The Graduate Center at if you have any questions.
    • Minimum SAT scores required: Math 515, Reading 500, Writing 490.
    • Minimum ACT scores required: Math 22, Reading 22, Writing 8.
  • Successfully complete a WEST-E competency test according to requirements set by Washington state. The WEST-E website provides directions for choosing a test. Applicants may verify test selection with the certification coordinator at
  • Write a personal statement addressing service, leadership, competence and character, according to the School of Education's Conceptual Framework. Personal statements are approximately 500 words and include description of experiences working with kids.
  • Complete the Moral and Professional Character Policy form and Character and Fitness Supplement.
  • Submit a professional résumé.
  • Submit two letters of recommendation.
  • Submit the application fee.


Financial aid is available for qualified applicants through Student Financial Services or by calling 1-800-737-8826.

Paraeducators, instructional assistants, and teachers employed through conditional or emergency certificates may be able to remain employed in their school district or private school while completing internship requirements.

Prospective candidates are encouraged to visit the Office of the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Professional Educator Standards Board for additional information on becoming a teacher in Washington state.


Ted Hiemstra
Associate Director of Graduate Admissions

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


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