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After Graduation

Lindsay Neal

Once you have completed the teacher education program at SPU, you are poised to begin your teaching career. The following are next steps in your journey as an educator.

Certificates and Endorsements

When you have successfully completed the requirements of Seattle Pacific’s Residency Teacher Certification Program and the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in your chosen major, the School of Education will recommend you to the state of Washington for Residency Teacher Certification. Although SPU makes recommendations to the state, the Washington state Department of Education issues the certification, not the SPU School of Education.

Residency Teacher Certificate

The Residency Teacher Certificate is your initial certification, and it is your license to teach in the state of Washington. This certificate will specify the endorsement area in which you may teach (e.g., Elementary Education, Physics, etc.). Every certificate must have at least one endorsement.

If you have questions about adding endorsements after teaching in your initial endorsement area, contact the endorsement coordinator in SPU’s Center for Professional Education in the School of Education.

Professional Teacher Certificate

Your Residency Teacher Certificate will be accompanied by information outlining the steps for completing professional certification. All teachers must eventually earn a Professional Teacher Certificate. You can earn this in multiple ways. Check the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the most current information and requirements for earning the Professional Teacher Certificate or next-tier certification.

Teacher Certificates in Other States

Most states issue certificates to people who have completed a teacher education program that was approved by the appropriate state certification agency where the college or university is located. Since the Washington state Professional Educator Standards Board has approved SPU’s Residency Teacher Certificate Program, students completing the program are usually eligible for certification in other states.

To apply for certification in another state, write to the office of certification in that state and ask for an application. Wait to apply until all requirements for your degree and the Washington certificate have been completed.

Credential File

The School of Education recommends that teachers maintain a credential file. Credential files are a collection of professional documents used by school districts when hiring teachers, counselors, and administrators. A credential file provides you with a convenient way to organize and send your information to potential employers. It allows you to request and send confidential references, and it ensures that your information reaches a potential employer in one complete, professional package.

Some Washington school districts require a credential file. Others allow a credential file as an option, and others do not request them at all. Whether you need a credential file for your job search depends on where you are applying. Research the application process for your targeted school districts to find out about special requirements and unique application specifics.

Create your credential file through SPU’s Center for Career and Calling by logging into spu.edu/joblink. Click on the "Credentials" tab at the top of the page. For more information, visit the CCC Credential File Quick Guide (PDF).

Center for Professional Education

Throughout your career as an educator, you can benefit from the opportunities that Seattle Pacific’s Center for Professional Education offers. As you continue your own development, take advantage of continuing education courses — both online and in the classroom; support as you prepare to earn your Professional Teacher Certificate; academic programs to add an endorsement to your certificate; or the opportunity to develop an on-site partnership with SPU.

Graduate Degrees

During your career, you can also earn a graduate degree or additional certification through the SPU School of Education. Seattle Pacific offers three doctoral programs, seven master’s degree programs, and five certification programs in education.

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