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Curriculum, Supervision, & Educational Leadership

College of Education and Professional Studies

Alternative Route to Certification

Applications for a cohort starting January 2020 are due by October 1, 2019

Use current application and note the additional requirements under 'Applying"


Meeting the Need I Is the APT Program Right For Me? | Job Placement Statistics I What Can I Expect? I Course Work Choosing your Internship Route | Endorsements | Tuition & Financial Aid I Inquiry Form | Applying I Contact 

Meeting the Need

Washington has a shortage of teachers in the areas of special education, English language learners, mathematics, and the sciences. While the need for these teachers is widespread across the state, rural districts have the most difficulty recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers. Merely preparing more teachers is not the answer to meet current demands. The solution is to address teacher placement and retention in rural schools.

Central Washington University offers a hybrid online alternative certification program for individuals with a bachelor's degree to teach high need subjects in rural districts across the state.

Is the APT Program Right For Me?

Are you an individual with a bachelor’s degree who would like to obtain a teaching license? Are you interested in teaching in high need subject areas and/or in a rural district in the State of Washington? Are you passionate about educating our nation's young people as a means to creating a more just and equitable society?

If you answered yes to these questions, then our online Alternative Route to Certification (APT) program could be the right choice for you.

Job Placement Statistics

In general, the majority of candidates who complete the Alternative Route to Certification program secure employment in the schools.  Our job placement rate based on graduates from the three previous years is 94%.

What Can I Expect?

You begin the program with an intensive experience taught by university faculty from across the CWU Education Departments. Featured seminars include orientation to teaching, classroom management, exceptional learners, lesson planning, assessment, culturally relevant teaching practices, and English Language learners, to name a few.

After the boot camp, you complete a mentored internship in a school close to where you live. This mentored internship progresses so that you assume more and more responsibility for lead instruction and culminates in six weeks of student teaching. You proceed through the mentored internship at your own pace, completing a minimum of 720 field experience hours (combined observation and teaching), in your endorsement area(s).  Most teacher candidates spend a full year in their internship, dedicating the first quarter to observation, the second quarter to guided instruction or teaching a short lesson segment, the third quarter to teaching one class or prep, and spending the fourth quarter student teaching full time. This progression is flexible and is developed in concert with a university field supervisor and your mentor teacher.

During the internship, you complete online course work designed to supplement the learning that occurs during your school day. You will be asked to complete focused observations, write reflections, read case studies around various education topics, write your own case study, conduct video conferences with peers in your cohort, and more generally, critically reflect on your process of learning to teach. 

During the internship, you will also be required to attend three full day Saturday sessions each quarter. Fall Quarter sessions will be held in Ellensburg, Winter Quarter sessions will be syncronist, and Spring Quarter sessions will be at the CWU Samamish Center.

A capstone of the program is the successful completion of the edTPA, a statewide requirement for certification.  Modeled after the National Board Examination, the edTPA asks you to prepare a learning segment, videotape your teaching of that segment, and then reflect on your teaching practice.

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Course Work

Completion of the program will enable students to apply for their Washington State Teaching Certificate.


ECTL 470: Teaching Seminar
ECTL 480: Curriculum Planning

Fall ECTL 490: Internship
Winter ECTL 490: Internship
Spring ECTL 490: Internship


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For information regarding endorsements and the levels they cover, follow this link to the Professional Educator Standards Board, PESB website.

A candidate can obtain up to two endorsements through our APT Program. Prospective candidates must successfully complete the West E/NES exam for each endorsement in which they are seeking licensure prior to submitting their application. Following is a list of the endorsements we offer.

Note that we do not offer endorsements in either elementary education or early childhood education through this program.

bilingual education* biology business education
chemistry computer science dance
earth science english language arts english language learner*
family & consumer science health & fitness history
library media marketing education mathematics
middle level humanities middle level math middle level science
music: choral & instrumental music: general & instrumental music: general & choral
physics reading science**
social studies special education* traffic safety
technology education visual arts  


* Beginning September 1, 2019 any candidate who seeks to earn any of these endorsements will be required to pair it with a second content area endorsement. The second endorsement cannot be special education, bilingual education, english language learner, or traffic safety.

** Beginning September 1, 2019 for the general science endorsement, only teachers with an endorsement in biology, chemistry, earth and space science, or physics, will be able to add the general science endorsement.

FAQ regarding new certification requirements

Once you obtain your initial endorsement(s), you may add additional endorsements to your certificate. For more information, follow this link to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instructions website.


Choosing your Internship Route

CWU's APT program offers three internship routes in order to accommodate diverse levels of education and experience.  Candidates in each of these three internship routes must already hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited university.

Route 2:

  • As an applicant, you currently work as an instructional aide or paraprofessional. In this route, you could remain employed by your school district in your IA or Parapro role but gradually assume more and more responsibility for lead instruction.  You and the lead teacher adopt more co-teaching roles. Route 2 applicants are advised to consult with their school district before applying.

Route 3:

  • As an applicant, you are a mid-career professional or someone who has decided to change his/her career.  You work alongside a mentor teacher in an unpaid internship and are placed in an internship at a school in your community. It is recommended that Route 3 applicants indicate school district placement preferences upon application to the program. It is also recommended that Route 3 applicants spend some time in the year prior to entering the program observing one or more teachers in a potential placement district. Once accepted into the APT Program, you will receive a Placement Request form to complete.

Route 4:

  • As an applicant, you have been hired on a contractual basis with a school district to teach as the teacher of record in an area of need. Your district has extended a conditional or emergency license (also termed a limited teaching certificate) to you, and you have a window of time to earn your initial teaching residency license.  As an APT candidate, you are assigned a mentor teacher who works with you, but not alongside you, as you have your own classroom of students. You may have an Emergency Teacher Certification.  It is recommended that Route 4 applicants consult with their school district before applying.

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Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition for the program is currently $12,000 or $3,000 each quarter.

The program is financial-aid eligible. To receive financial aid for the summer quarter, you will need to complete a current academic year FAFSA.  For the fall, winter, and spring quarters, you'll complete a FAFSA for that academic year.

We do not have all of the most current information regarding financial aid and strongly suggest that you contact the CWU Financial Aid Office.

Other possible financing:

1. Conditional Loan Scholarships

These are offered by the Washington Student Achievement Council and a specific number of scholarships are allocated to Alternative Certification Programs.  If you qualify for these scholarships, the APT program will let you know.  There is no specific application process. Qualified applicants are awarded scholarships based on a list of state-determined priorities, which include being 1) being a veteran; 2) working as a paraprofessional or instructional aide (route 2); 3) working in public schools characterized focus or priority schools; and 4) seeking endorsement in a high need content area.

2. Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is a federal program offered to teachers in various content area, which forgives loans up to certain amounts in return for teaching in high-need schools. 

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1. Undergraduate Work

   Candidates to the Alternative Route to Certification program must document the following prerequisites by providing unofficial transcript(s) from degree-granting universities along with their application to the APT program:

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. Degrees attained from foreign institutions must be translated and evaluated for U.S. equivalency by an accredited agency.
  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in last thirty credits of college course work.

2. Content Area Knowledge

Candidates to the Alternative Route to Certification program must take and pass the WEST B sub tests (writing, reading, and mathematics) prior to applying to the program. Official score reports should be sent directly to Central Washington University and copies of the score reports should be included in application to the APT program.

As a demonstration of content-area knowledge, candidates to the Alternative Route to Certification program must take and pass the appropriate WEST-E or corresponding NES test in the content area(s) for which he/she seeks endorsement.

Information regarding the WEST-B and WEST-E can be found online at Information regarding the new NES (National Evaluation System) exam can be found online at

When you have decided to apply to the Alternative Route to Certification Program at CWU and have completed the above prerequisites, please submit the following application materials:

3. APT Application Materials

  • application to the 2020-2021 Alternative Route to Certification program - posted fall 2019
  • current application
  • resume
  • two letters of recommendation attesting to your aptitude for the education profession
  • cover letter attesting to your interest in becoming a teacher
  • Character and Fitness Form
  • unofficial transcripts from degree-granting universities
  • score reports of WEST B, ACT, or SAT, as appropriate
  • score reports of WEST E or NES tests, as appropriate


APT application materials should be mailed directly to:

Alternative Route to Certification
Central Washington  University
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7410

4. CWU Application Materials

In addition to your APT application, interested candidates also must apply and be accepted to the Central Washington University Graduate School as we have recently received permission to offer a Masters in Teaching degree. Click here to for application information.


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For additional information contact:

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