Certificate Renewal for Teachers, Counselors and School Psychologists
Each professional educator is personally responsible for maintaining a valid and current certificate. Principals have an interest, though, in ensuring the professionals in their buildings maintain their certification so they are able to maintain fully staffed schools. Additionally, professional staff may choose to integrate professional development opportunities at the school site with certificate renewal requirements. Information is provided here to assist principals in understanding these variables. (Please note: While every effort is made to keep this page accurate and up-to-date, Washington’s OSPI and PESB webpages should be recognized as the definitive authorities on certification matters.)
Certificated professionals in your school may have one of many different certificate types, each of which has its own renewal requirements.
Staff with Initial level certificates must progress to the Continuing certificate based on the requirements of the appropriate certificated role.
Staff with Residency level certificates must earn the Professional level certificate. This requires the completion of ProTeach
for teachers, ProCert
for ESAs, or National Board Certification
It is critical educators with initial or residency certification understand and make timely progress
toward the requirements of the second tier of certification. Additional certification is mandatory and necessary to sustain teacher and ESA licensure in Washington State. The professional certificate was established in 2000 as the second-tier license for Washington teachers. Teachers who do not earn professional certification in the expected time line have no additional renewal options available to them for five years.
The Professional Certificate is the second tier certificate required for educators with residency certificates. Most applicants receive this certificate after holding a residency certificate and working as an educator in Washington.
For Professional certificates issued prior to September 1, 2014 for Teachers, School Counselors and School Psychologists there are four options for renewing the certificate. (See WAC 181-79A-251.)
- Complete 150 clock hours or equivalent college credit for renewal.
- Or, complete four annual PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate.
- Or, combine completed annual PGPs with clock hours for a total of 150 hours. (e.g. 3 PGPs + 60 clock hours = 150 clock hours.
- Or, possess a valid certificate issued by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or the National Association of School Psychologists.
For Professional level certificates issued after September 1, 2014 for Teachers, School Counselors and School Psychologists, the only option for renewing the certificate is to:
- Complete four annual PGPs during the five-year validity dates of the certificate.
Continuing level certificate holders have four options for renewing the certificate. (See WAC 181-85-075.)
- Continue to use 150 clock hours or equivalent college credit for renewal.
- Or, complete four annual PGPs during the five-year validity date of the certificate
- Or, combine completed annual PGPs with clock hours for a total of 150 hours. (e.g. 3 PGPs + 60 CH = 150 CH)
- Or, possess a valid certificate issued by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or the National Association of School Psychologists
National Board Certification
National Board Certified educators renew their Professional certificate by maintaining a valid certificate issued by National Board for Professional Teaching Standards or the National Association of School Psychologists.
Standard Certificates issued prior to 1987 are un-endorsed, lifetime certificates and do not need to be renewed. These are the undated, un-endorsed “lifetime” certificates.
STEM: Beginning in 2019, renewal applications for professional and continuing teacher certificates must document completion of at least 15 clock hours, or at least one goal from an annual professional growth plan (PGP), with an emphasis on STEM integration to meet this renewal requirement. STEM integration is the authentic combination of at least two of the STEM components (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). See the STEM Renewal Requirement
webpage for more information.
The requirement applies to the following endorsements:
- Elementary Education (K-8) endorsement
- Early Childhood Education (P-3) endorsement
- Mathematics (5-12)
- Middle Level Math (4-9)
- Science (5-12)
- Middle Level Science (4-9)
- Designated Sciences (5-12): Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, Physics
- CTE Teachers
- NBCT with above endorsements
Beginning September 1, 2016, in-service training or continuing education on the revised teacher and principal evaluation systems shall be a requirement for renewal of continuing or professional level certificates, including requiring knowledge and competencies in teacher and principal evaluation systems as an aspect of professional growth plans used for certificate renewal.
For Educational Staff Associates (ESAs)- Suicide prevention training requirement:
Beginning July 1, 2015 all continuing and professional certificates for educational staff associates will include a requirement for suicide prevention training for renewal per RCW 28A.410.226
For More Information
Jack Arend | Associate Director | (800) 562-6100