I want to be a teacher

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Pathway 1: Teacher certification
For Aspiring Teachers Starting Their Journey

Thinking about becoming a teacher? What’s your "why?"

  • Do friends say, "You would make a great teacher!"?
  • Is it your dream to become a teacher?
  • Did you have a teacher who inspired you and you want to do the same for others?
  • Do you enjoy making a difference in the lives of young people?
  • Looking for work/life balance?

Do any of these ideas resonate with you? Great teachers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and undergraduate degree paths. Some thrived in their own P-12 experience, and are looking for ways to improve that experience for others. Whether you’ve been envisioning this career for years or you’re just starting to imagine yourself as a teacher, the School of Education at UW Tacoma will meet you where you are and provide you with the skills, knowledge, and support it takes to begin a rewarding career as a teacher!

Teachers are in demand

Right now, in Washington State and across the country, we are experiencing a shortage of qualified teachers. We especially need teachers that reflect the growing diversity of students in our classroom. It's a great time to earn your teacher certification! New Washington State starting salary for teachers is a minimum of $40,000 per year with the potential to increase up to $90,000 or more per year over the course of your career.


Justina Johnson, Director of Academic Equity and Access at Tacoma Public Schools, is an alumna of UW Tacoma's teacher certification, M.Ed., and principal certification programs.
Justina Johnson, Director of Academic Equity and Access at Tacoma Public Schools, is an alumna of UW Tacoma's teacher certification, M.Ed., and principal certification programs. She taught at Jason Lee Middle School from 1995-2007 and rose to become JLMS Principal before taking on her current administrative role.

Why earn your teacher certification at the UW Tacoma School of Education?

When it comes to teacher certification programs, we know you have lots of options. Here are some of the many reasons candidates in search of a high quality program choose UW Tacoma, School of Education:

  • After completing the first year of our program, you may be certified and able to work as a paid teacher. In the second year of the program, you can earn a master's degree while continuing as a paid, working teacher.
  • You will be prepared to teach in a high need/shortage area. That means you will be in high demand on the job market! You can also take advantage of related federal funding and loan forgiveness programs.
  • Our high quality and extensive field experience in the program builds a strong foundation so you are well prepared to lead your own classroom the following autumn.
  • You will complete your program with the support of a small cohort of dedicated classmates.
  • You will benefit from the extensive resources and superlative reputation of the University of Washington. Go Huskies!


Let the UW Tacoma School of Education help you achieve your teaching dream!


Are you a good fit for a UW Tacoma teacher certification program?

Is a teaching career for you? Prospective students come from a variety of life experiences:

  • Recent graduates: You recently earned (or will soon be graduating with) your bachelor’s degree and are eager to continue on to obtain a master’s degree and teacher certification.
  • Career changers: You're completely changing careers. Maybe you worked in healthcare, engineering, social work or law and want to step forward to pursue your dream of being a teacher.
  • Paraeducators: You know what it's like supporting teachers in the classroom and you're ready to take the reins and become a certified teacher.


What teacher certification programs are available at UW Tacoma?

You may be interested in our Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a focus on kindergarten through 8th grade (K-8). This program provides an introduction and preparation to teaching in all areas of an elementary and middle school. As a student in our M.Ed. program, you will also choose a specialty in preschool through 12th grade (P-12) Special Education or preschool through 12th grade (P-12) English Language Learners (ELL). Learn more about these tracks:


  M.Ed. K-8 with p-12 Special Education Certification

  M.Ed. K-8 with P-12 English Language Learners (ELL) Certification


Are you passionate about exposting students to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers? A Master of Education (M.Ed.) with a focus on secondary (grades 5 through 12) prepares teachers in the field of science or mathematics which is one of the most significant gaps in the teaching corps today. Learn more:


  Secondary Certification in the Sciences or Mathematics


You can do this!