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Program Outline: Alternative Routes to Certification

Completion of the program fulfills requirements for a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and Washington state Residency Teacher Certification. After completing program requirements, the Certification Office in the School of Education at SPU recommends candidates for teacher licensure to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Completion of five additional graduate-level classes throughout the program fulfills requirements for the MAT degree.

Program Schedule

A new cohort begins each summer. Summer session is divided into two parts, on-line and on-campus. Online classes begin June 27. The on-campus portion begins July 25. Summer classes conclude by August 19. Student teaching begins August 29. During the academic year, candidates attend classes one or two nights a week each quarter, either from 5:00-7:00 or 5:00-9:10.

Program Components


Candidates in the Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program are recommended for certification 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 multiple 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

The certification component of the ARC program is 45 credits. Approximately one-third of these credits are allocated for student teaching, which is full-time and supervised, for 40 weeks in a classroom. 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.

Please note that tuition rates for the certification portion of the program and the master's component of the program are differentiated. While certification courses are offered at a reduced rate, students across all masters programs take the master's component classes at the regular graduate tuition rate. 

Coursework and Internship

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.

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 field supervisor in a school setting. Internship is five days a week, for an entire K-12 school year, approximately 42 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, lesson plans, and program assessments. Internship concludes with candidates returning control of classroom responsibilities to their mentor teachers.

Completion of the MAT Degree

Candidates earn the MAT degree by completing five graduate level courses, totaling 15 credits. These classes are taken at the regular graduate tuition rate. 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 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 Moral Issues in Education to receive the MAT degree.

Find information about this Program Overview, Program Outline, Course Sequence, and Admission Information.

2016 ARC and MTMS Program Interviews

ARC and MTMS program interviews are scheduled for March 19, 2016, on the SPU campus. Candidates who pass the initial application review process will be invited to the interviews via the email address provided on the application.

Did You Know?

Help Icon SPU also offers a two-year, part-time MAT program to earn teacher certification and a master’s degree concurrently.