Alternative Route to Certification for School Employees (ARCSE)

The School of Education at Seattle Pacific University 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. Alternative route graduates are developed through a combination of student teaching experience and coursework. However, the defining characteristic of SPU’s alternative routes teacher preparation model is 180 days of student teaching. This program culminates in the Residency Teacher Certificate without a master's degree.

The Alternative Route to Teacher Certification for School Employees (ARCSE) program builds on comprehensive school-based experience and coursework, with special emphasis on recruiting current public school employees from partner districts. The ARCSE program is a one year (four quarters) all online program to certification that begins in late June. Courses are flexible, but follow the university quarter schedule and typically include weekly modules of content to complete. The goal of the ARCSE program is to prepare effective teachers for life-long careers as educators in their local schools.

Eligible Candidates

  • 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) 
  • Are able to 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


  • Finishing in one year — the program begins in summer and ends sin pring 
  • Earning a Residency Teacher Certificate while remaining employed in a school if your employment role overlaps your chosen endorsement
  • Receiving personal advisement through completion of a Teacher Development Plan
  • Completing courses specially chosen for meeting endorsement competencies
  • Spending less on tuition, as a more affordable option to teacher certification
  • Applying knowledge and experience acquired in school settings toward meeting program requirements
  • Flexible and accessible from anywhere in Washington as an exclusively online program
  • Earning additional credits for placement on the district's salary allocation schedules (e.g. BA + 45)

Program Outline

The program outline includes a description of program components, schedule, coursework, and internship. The official degree requirements for this program are shown in the SPU Graduate Catalog according to the year candidates are admitted.

Admission Information

What is required for admission to the ARCSE program? Find information about admission requirements and procedures.

ARCSE Coordinator

Kirsten Koetje

Teacher Education Instructor/ARCSE Coordinator
MAT, University of Puget Sound

Phone: 206-281-2293
Office: Peterson Hall 405

My instructors and fellow students helped me to build on my strengths and correct my teaching weaknesses. What I learned about teaching and myself made the hard work, time, and sacrifice well worth the effort.

Tom Van Duzer, Special Education Teacher Bothell, Washington

Watch Screencast of ARCSE Program

Watch a 20-minute screencast explaining the ARCSE program and eligibility.