Certification and References

Certification and References

An important culmination of your teacher preparation program involves receiving your state Residency Teaching certificate and landing that first teaching job. This page provides information to help with both. You’ll also find information on adding endorsements and substitute certification.

Washington State Teacher Certification

Residency Certification

These forms will be explained in detail during your Professional Seminar.  Certification paperwork is due during your last semester in program; typically about six weeks before graduation (see your planner for specific dates).  With your paperwork you’ll need to include a check made out to Northwest University for certification fees. Certification fees include: a $33.00 transaction fee, $35.00 for the first endorsement, and $15.00 for each additional endorsement.  After initial certification, anytime additional certificates are issued or current certificates are changed, OSPI will require the $33 transaction fee in addition to the certificate fee.

Testing Requirements for Residency Certification

Passing the WEST-E/NES Content Knowledge Exam in your endorsement area is required before you can be recommended for certification. Please use the links below to register and prepare for the exam.

WEST-E Test Information and Registration
WEST-E Test List and Preparation Recommendations

Adding Endorsements

Endorsements can be added to your certificate through three pathways:

  • Pathway 1 – Selected endorsements whose instructional methodology and content-related skills are compatible with an endorsement already held may be added by: Passing the WEST-E in the desired endorsement; and verifying at least 90 days of teaching experience in the endorsement already held.
  • Pathway 2 – Endorsements available via Pathway 2 may be added by: Passing the WEST-E in the desired endorsement; verifying at least 90 days of teaching experience in the endorsement already held; and passing a college-administered pedagogy assessment in the desired endorsement.
  • Pathway 3 – Complete a full endorsement program.

The ‘Pathways to Endorsement’ link below details how endorsements can be added to your certificate based on the endorsements you have already received.

Intern Substitute Certification

The Intern Substitute Certificate is no longer issued by the College of Education office.

This certificate allows you to substitute teach for your mentor teacher during full-time student teaching. The process for this certification must be initiated by the school district in which you are student teaching. It is processed and fees are paid through the E-Cert system.

We will be sent an approval request when the application is processed. The certificate will be issued through the E-Cert system.

Professional References

Reference Requests

Letters of reference from important supervisors/observers during your field experience are necessary and will become important aspects in your job application process.  You’ll need letters of recommendation from your Mentor Teacher, your NU Supervisor, and your Mentor Principal.  The link below provides a request-template you may use to send out your letter requests.  All reference letters should be returned by the writer to the College of Education office in hardcopy form.

Recommendation Letter Mail Request

As you apply for teaching positions, you will be asked to provide letters of reference.  Please contact the College of Education office to request letters (whether confidential or otherwise).  Our office can mail them directly to potential employers or, with permission from the recommender, provide you with copies for electronic upload during the application process.

*Note: The College of Education does NOT have authority to mail out your official transcripts. Transcripts can be requested through the Registrar’s Office.