Alternative Route to Certification for School Employees (ARCSE)

About the program

The Alternative Routes to Certification for School Employees (ARCSE) is a one-year certification program designed specifically for candidates working in partner school districts as paraeducators, instructional assistants, or teachers under limited certification (i.e., conditional or emergency), in which their employment overlaps their teaching endorsement.

Candidates in the ARCSE program become effective teachers 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.

Coursework and internship

The program includes 24 core credits taken at the 6000-level. A Teacher Development Plan (TDP) will add another 23-24 credits taken at the 5000-level. The program is 47-48 credits total.

  • Fifteen of the 24 credits taken at the 6000-level are reserved for student teaching.
  • Nine of the 6000-level credits are for coursework in core areas including lesson design, professional issues, professional development, and program assessments. 

Credits completed at the 5000-level are based on a Teacher Development Plan (TDP), which is organized by program administrators according to endorsement(s) and prior experience. Partner districts may offer TDP courses, or collaborate with the Center for Professional Education, in developing and staffing courses.

Students may also enroll in regular (6000-level) program courses for meeting TDP requirements. Students enrolled in the ARCSE program earn a Washington Residency Certificate after completing all program requirements and passing program assessments. 

Admission requirements

Applicants must submit the following items to Graduate Admissions:

  • Online application and $50 application processing fee.
  • Official transcript(s) from each college and/or university attended.
  • Personal statement (1–2 pages).
  • Résumé
  • Two letters of recommendation from a) a current school administrator, and b)  a teacher who is familiar with your work with students.
  • Passing WEST-B and scores including 240 on each sub-test: reading, writing, and mathematics.
    • Applicants may use a combination of SAT, ACT, and WEST-B scores to meet the WEST-B requirement (reading writing, mathematics). Please contact Graduate Admissions if you have questions.
    • Minimum SAT scores required: Math: 515, Reading: 500, Writing: 490.
    • Minimum ACT scores required: Math: 22, Reading: 22, Writing: 8.
  • Passing the State Endorsement Test.
    • Those endorsing in designated world languages or bilingual education must also pass oral and writing proficiency tests (OPI and WPT) in their language area.
    • Several NES study guides are located on the main floor Reference section of SPU’s Ames Library.
  • Verify endorsement readiness.
    • Endorsements are the content and grade levels a teacher is prepared to teach. The Professional Education Standards Board (PESB) provides a comprehensive list of all endorsements offered at SPU.
    • 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 Kristi Kanehen, certification officer. Complete the Endorsement Verification form only after contacting Kristi Kanehen. On the form, indicate that you have been in contact with her and list your “Approved Plan of Study” if one has been developed.
  • Moral Character and Personal Fitness Policy form (found in the online application).

Applicants with complete files submitted by the deadline are screened for interviews, held on the SPU campus in March. Invitations to interview are sent by email. 

Enrollment policy

  • Students must be continuously enrolled in required SPU courses to earn this certificate, or until officially withdrawing from the program. Exceptions to continuous enrollment must be approved by the program director.
  • Students may be granted a leave of absence for up to four quarters by the program coordinator. Once the leave of absence has expired, the student will either enroll in graduate coursework or be dropped from the program.
  • University academic policy requires continuous enrollment to remain admitted in a graduate program. After four quarters of non-enrollment, students will be placed in “inactive status” and will need to reapply for admission.
  • If a student decides to no longer pursue a residency teaching certificate, the student may officially withdraw from the program and SPU by notifying the program coordinator and the associate director of graduate programs.


Admissions materials should be directed to Graduate Admissions. If you have questions about graduate education or certification programs:


School of Education Graduate Programs