School of Education

Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC)

Shape the future. Change the world.

You have made the decision to build upon your knowledge and skills with a program dedicated to preparing effective teachers for life-long careers as educators in their local schools. Let’s get started!

At a Glance

  • check mark icon Upcoming Application Deadline 2/1/2022 for Regular Admission
  • check mark icon Accreditation - Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
    - Professional Education Standards Board approved program
  • check mark icon Expected Time to Completion 12 months
  • check mark icon Format This program is fully online; cohorts begin each summer.
  • check mark icon Credits to Graduate 45

Program Overview

The School of Education difference

Seattle Pacific was founded more than 125 years ago, and the University has been preparing some of the most sought-after educators in the region for more than 90 years. Today, entrance to School of Education graduate programs is highly competitive. Faculty members — each teaching his or her own courses and each holding a doctorate — have worked to develop rigorous programs of quality.

The School of Education at Seattle Pacific University offers more than a dozen graduate programs. You can choose from three doctoral programs, seven master’s degree programs, and five certification programs, all of which focus on developing competence, character, leadership, and service in educators. While many students train to become teachers, others prepare for roles as school counselors, principals, superintendents, district office personnel, or professors in higher education. SPU's reputation in P–12 education in Washington and across the country is strong, and students who complete our graduate degree and certificate programs enjoy a higher rate of employment than the state’s average.

Why Seattle Pacific for your Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification?

SPU’s School of Education has been offering alternative routes to teacher certification since 2002. Hundreds of teachers have been prepared for work in classrooms across Washington through our alternative route offerings. Besides being SPU’s most affordable option for attaining teacher certification, the defining characteristic our alternative routes teacher preparation model is 180 days of student teaching. Designed for the working professional, the ARC program is a one year, (four quarters) online program. This program culminates with a Residency Teacher Certificate without a master’s degree.

  1. Accomplished Faculty

    Expert, caring faculty have a desire to help students succeed. Faculty are known for mentoring their students during and following their educational programs. These professors model lifelong learning through scholarly activities of their own, publishing frequently, and presenting at professional conferences.

  2. AACU Membership

    Seattle Pacific is a member of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. SPU certification programs are approved by the Washington state Professional Educator Standards Board. The School of Education is also a member of the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education, and has a chapter, Sigma Phi Upsilon, of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society that values academic and professional excellence in counseling.

  3. Deep Character Emphasis

    Built on an character education foundation, the graduate programs at SPU offer first-class education through the lens of Christian faith and values. Students take ethics courses, and character issues are integrated throughout the curriculum.

  4. Flexible Format

    The ARC program is a one year (four quarters) all online program to certification that begins in late June. Courses are flexible and follow the university quarter schedule. The program typically includes weekly modules of content to complete. 

  5. Connected Alumni

    School of Education graduates move on to purposeful careers in schools and district-level leadership throughout the country. When you obtain a graduate degree from SPU’s School of Education, you join a community of alumni who stay connected.

Back to top


All courses are offered online.


The ARC program starts and ends every year in June, covering four quarters. It is designed to be completed entirely online, including both synchronous and asynchronous courses. In addition, there will be some face-to-face opportunities to connect with faculty and your cohort. 


Depending on your endorsement area, your required program coursework will vary. Please refer to the sequences currently listed in Catalog to view course requirements.

Back to top

Continuing Education

To meet the changing needs of adult learners, Seattle Pacific University offers a wide range of programs and courses to meet the needs of today's professionals. With competitive credit and program rates, these personal and professional development opportunities make lifelong learning very affordable. As the largest provider of continuing education credits for teachers in Washington State, SPU's Center for Professional Education is focused on the current needs of K-12 educators.

Courses taken for credit and numbered at the 5000 level are graduate-level courses and are designed primarily with the needs of teachers and other professionals in mind for the purpose of meeting certification, endorsement, district pay lane requirements and other professional needs. These Graduate-level courses may be considered to meet elective requirements in some cases.

Still have questions? Review FAQs

Back to top


Tuition and fees for 2021–22

money icon

$200 or $670

per credit, course dependent

dollar icon


application fee

textbook icon


credits to complete

The estimated cost of tuition is between $17,000–$19,000* (more for dual endorsing candidates such as special education and elementary). 

*Candidates may be required to take additional content-area courses prior to enrolling in the program depending on their undergraduate major and chosen endorsement(s).

Financial aid

Before applying for aid, you must first be admitted to a graduate program. Make sure you:

  • Enroll in at least 3 credits (or half-time) toward a degree or eligible certificate each quarter.
  • Complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.
  • Eligible candidates may qualify for up to $12,500 in federal loans for this certificate-only program.

You may take advantage of scholarships and loans. SPU does not have a deadline for graduate financial aid, though earlier is always better than later! 

Learn more about the FAFSA and applying for financial help.

Learn more about scholarships, assistantships, and loans available to graduate students.


Find out more about administrative and other School of Education program fees.

Back to top

Application Info


To be eligible for the ARC program, you must:

  • Be seeking certification with an endorsement in a shortage area. More information about which endorsements are experiencing shortages in WA State can be found here.
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Have taken the WEST-B skills tests (or their equivalents) and at least one content area endorsement test (WEST-E/NES/ACTFL).  
  • Secure two letters of recommendation. If employed in a school: one from an administrator and another from a teacher. If not employed in a school: one from someone who knows your work with kids and another professional recommendation.
  • Have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA or a master's degree.


To apply for admission into the ARC program, please submit the following items and credentials:

  • Graduate application form, available online here
  • Official college/university transcript(s) 
  • One to two page personal statement 
  • Professional résumé 
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • If employed in a school: one from an administrator and another from a teacher (Route 2 is for classified staff working with students such as para-educators or instructional aides; Route 4 is for limited certificate teachers of record, such as a middle school math teacher)
    • If not employed in a school: one from someone who knows your work with kids and another professional recommendation
  • WEST-B scores (or equivalent)1
  • Passing (or attempt at) WEST-E or NES score(s) 
  • Verify endorsement readiness through PESB (if your college major matches your intended endorsement, complete the Endorsement Verification form in the application. If your major DOES NOT match your intended endorsement, please contact The Certification Office). 
  • Moral and Character Policy Form 
  • $50 application fee 

1 Applicants may use a combination of WB, SAT, and ACT scores to meet part/ all of the WEST-B requirements

  • Preferred SAT scores required (for test date beginning 3/5/2016) — Math: 27.5, Reading: 27, Writing: 28.
  • Preferred SAT scores required (for test date up to 3/4/2016) — Math: 515, Reading: 500, Writing: 490.
  • Preferred ACT scores required — Math: 22, Reading: 22, Writing: 8 (for test date beginning 9/1/2016), or Writing: 23 (for test date 9/1/2015 through 8/31/16), or Writing: 8 (for test date up to 8/31/2015)


  • Early decision: November 15
  • Regular admission: February 1


Contact Graduate Admissions at 800-601-0603 or

Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions

How selective is admission to the SPU School of Education graduate degree programs?

This varies by program. Admission to some programs, such as the Accelerated Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science (AMTMS), Accerated Master of Arts in Teaching (AMAT), and MEd in School Counseling, is very competitive. Admission to each of SPU's graduate programs in education is standards-based, and all applicants must meet all standards for admission.

Can I continue to work while enrolled in a graduate degree program in the SPU School of Education?

Yes, in most cases. Most of the graduate degree programs offered by the School of Education are part-time programs, with classes offered in a variety of worker-friendly venues. Education graduate courses are scheduled at SPU or off campus, in the evenings, occasionally on Saturdays, and during the summer.

The Acclerated Master of Arts in Teaching (AMAT) and Accelerated Master in Teaching Mathematics and Science (AMTMS) programs are exceptions. They are one-year full-time programs due to their full-time internships.

Is it possible to complete a graduate degree from SPU's School of Education online?

The School of Education offers several fully online programs, including the AMAT-OnlineAMTMS-Online, and Digital Education Leadership programs. Please review the program pages for eligibility requirements.

Is a graduate program at SPU more expensive than comparable education programs at other universities?

SPU's graduate tuition rates are competitive with other accredited universities in Washington.

How does a graduate degree or graduate certificate from SPU compare with a similar degree or certificate from other universities?

SPU's School of Education has been offering a wide range of fully accredited master's and doctoral degrees in addition to graduate certificates for more than 20 years. SPU's reputation in P–12 education in Washington and around the country is strong, and students who complete our graduate degree and certificate programs enjoy a higher rate of employment than the state's average.

Back to top