Becoming a Teacher at SPU

Tammy Shih

The SPU School of Education has a long-held reputation as one of the premier teacher education programs in the state and in the region. We will prepare you for a career by helping you integrate academic training, Christian faith, and professional practice as an educator. You will benefit from an outstanding faculty, opportunities in the diverse urban setting of Seattle, and our commitment to equipping graduates of both competence and character.

Undergraduate Teacher Education

One of the distinctives of Seattle Pacific's undergraduate teacher education program is its academic rigor. Another, is that you can complete a bachelor's degree and the teacher certification process in four years.

Whether you want to be certified with an endorsement to teach elementary school, secondary, pre-kindergarten through secondary, or special education, you will complete the requirements for the Residency Teacher Certification in the School of Education while completing a bachelor's degree at SPU. Your chosen academic major will match your teaching endorsement.

Earning a Residency Teacher Certificate at SPU identifies you as someone of significant academic achievement.

Residency Teacher Certification Program

The professional program leading to a Residency Teacher Certificate at Seattle Pacific consists of four quarters of study:

  • Foundations Quarter
  • Methods Quarter
  • Integrated Quarter
  • Internship Quarter

Each of these quarters builds upon the preceding quarter, supporting a developmental approach to teacher preparation.

Foundations Quarter

You will gain a broad base of knowledge in the first segment of the Residency Teacher Certification Program. During the Foundations Quarter, you will be introduced to the theory and background of teaching, and you will observe this theory being applied by completing a community service experience.

As a teacher candidate, you will also be required to reflect on the application of educational theory through discussion and writing. During the Foundations Quarter, you will meet with the certification office to plan your certification program, as well as participate in an interview as part of the application process to the Residency Teacher Certification Program.

Methods Quarter

During the next phase of the program, Methods Quarter, you will begin to apply the content knowledge that you have gained for your intended endorsement by completing methods coursework and spending time in a school setting.

Integrated Quarter and Internship Quarter

The Integrated Quarter and Internship Quarter will provide an opportunity for you to synthesize your knowledge of educational foundations, subject matter, methodology, classroom management, assessment, and student development. During the Integrated Quarter, you will continue to integrate content and methods as you split time between the university classroom and your internship setting.

During the Internship Quarter, teacher candidates are full time in the internship setting and also participate in a capstone seminar where they reflect through discussion and writing on the professional and ethical aspects of being a teacher.

You may choose to pursue Residency Teacher Certification with an endorsement in elementary education, a secondary content area(s), music, art, theatre, or special education.

Academic Majors and Certification

SPU students who desire to become teachers major in a discipline, other than Education, that will lead to an endorsement. Once you declare your major, a faculty advisor in your major area will assist you in developing an academic plan of study to complete your major.

Certification With Elementary Education Endorsement

If you plan to pursue Residency Teacher Certification with an endorsement in Elementary Education so you can teach at the elementary school level, you must select Integrated Studies as your major. The College of Arts and Sciences faculty, in collaboration with School of Education faculty, developed the Integrated Studies major specifically to prepare elementary school teachers to teach the content that forms the basis of elementary school curricula. In addition to a common core of courses in all six content areas, you will also select an area of concentration in one of following:  

  • The Arts
  • Health and Fitness
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Social Sciences

Certification With Secondary Endorsement

If you plan to pursue Residency Teacher Certification with an endorsement that will allow you to teach at the middle and high school levels, you should select a major in your desired endorsement area. SPU offers the following secondary endorsements: Biology, Chemistry, English Language Arts, Environmental and Sustainability Education, Family Consumer Science, History and Social Studies, Mathematics, Physics, and Science. You will need to work closely with the certification officer to make sure you meet all the endorsement requirements.

Certification With P–12 Endorsement

Certification in a P–12 endorsement area allows a teacher to teach all grades from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 in that specific endorsement area. Endorsements available to undergraduate SPU students are Visual Arts, Theatre Arts, Music (Choral, General, Instrumental), Health and Fitness, Designated World Languages, and Special Education. You should select a major in your desired endorsement area.

Certification With Special Education Endorsement

To gain certification with a P–12 endorsement in Special Education, you will major in Special Education, the only major housed in the School of Education. Like other teacher candidates, Special Education majors are also required to successfully complete all Residency Teacher Certification requirements.

Teaching Internship

The Teaching Internship is the highlight of the Residency Teacher Certification Program at SPU, and its final phase. This is an opportunity for you to put into action the skills you've learned in class and field work. It is a time for polishing skills, refining your philosophy of managing a classroom, and demonstrating subject-matter knowledge necessary to successfully teach the Washington State Learning Standards.

The internship is based on a co-teaching model, where you will collaborate with a mentor teacher to deliver instruction to students. You will be assigned to an experienced mentor teacher, with whom you will work collaboratively in planning, teaching, and assessing your students. There are specific co-teaching strategies that will be learned and practiced, including an opportunity to "solo" and assume complete responsibility for the instructional program for a period of time.

Washington Educator Skills Tests

There are tests that you will be required to take during the Residency Teacher Certification Program.

First, you must demonstrate proficiency in Basic Skills by providing scores from the Washington Educator Skills Test — Basic (WEST-B)SAT exam or ACT exam. Candidates not achieving passing score in one or more basic skill areas may use the petition process in their application process.

Second, you must complete the Washington Educator Skills Test — Endorsements (West-E) in your intended endorsement area(s). The WEST-E must be passed prior to beginning the Integrated Quarter.

Your Residency Teacher Certificate

When you have successfully completed the requirements of SPU's Residency Teacher Certification Program and the requirements for a bachelor's degree, the School of Education will recommend you to the state of Washington for Residency Teacher Certification. Although Seattle Pacific makes recommendations to the state, the state of Washington issues the certificate, not the SPU School of Education.

As a teacher candidate, you are subject to Washington requirements for the Residency Teacher Certificate. These requirements may be changed by the state and override anything stated here or in the SPU Undergraduate Catalog. You can find updates on state requirements in the School of Education office.

The Residency Teacher Certificate is your initial certification. Check the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the most current information on certificate renewal and second-tier requirements.

Seattle Pacific offers a wide variety of clock hour and credit options for teachers pursuing professional development or the renewal of a teaching certificate. As the largest provider of continuing education credits for teachers in Washington State, The Center for Professional Education offers courses that will equip you to make a positive impact in your school or district –and in the lives of your students!

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