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Alternative Route to Certification for School Employees (ARCSE)

The School of Education at Seattle Pacific University has been offering an alternative route to teacher certification (ARC) program since 2002. Over the last 14 years, more than 600 teachers have been prepared for work in classrooms across Washington through the ARC program. ARC graduates are developed through a combination of student teaching experience and coursework. However, the defining characteristic of SPU’s ARC teacher preparation model is 180 days of student teaching.

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. ARCSE partners include Tacoma Public Schools, Capital Region Educational Service District 113, Puget Sound Educational Service District 121, and Northwest Educational Service District 189.

Candidates eligible to apply to the ARCSE program will be employed within partner districts as paraeducators, instructional assistants (i.e. Route 2), or current teachers employed through limited certification (conditional teacher, i.e. Route 4). The goal of the ARCSE program is to prepare effective teachers for life-long careers as educators in their local schools.

Eligible Candidates

  • Are currently employed within Tacoma Public Schools, or school districts served by ESD 113, NWESD 189, or PSESD 
  • Have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university 
  • Have passed the WEST-B test (or its equivalent) and at least one content area endorsement test (WEST-E/NES) 
  • Are able to secure two letters of recommendation: one from an administrator and another from a teacher


  • Finishing in one year — the program begins summer and ends spring 
  • Earning a Residency Certificate while remaining employed in a partner district
  • 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 residency teacher certification with potential for conditional and program scholarships
  • Applying knowledge and experience acquired in school settings toward meeting program requirements
  • Having an opportunity to earn 45 credits for placement at BA+45 on the Salary Allocation Schedule

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.