Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for offering clock hours online

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March 9, 2020


As communities within our state prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) is issuing guidance to clock hour providers for contingency planning. PESB is the state agency that oversees policy related to clock hours and clock hour providers. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington, we would like to address areas of concern, and answer any questions relating to our policy.

Clock hours are a unit of currency for continuing education. They can be used towards obtaining and renewing certificates for a variety of educator roles.

Offering clock hours online

Existing PESB policy allows for clock hour courses to be delivered in online and remote settings. To offer clock hours for online learning, providers must ensure these provisions are met:

  • Prior approval: Courses must be approved by the local clock hour committee prior to the course being offered. Clock hours may not be approved or offered retroactively.
  • Registration: Participants must register prior to taking courses, and providers must keep records of this. Providers may use online registration systems.
  • Attendance: Providers must have the ability to track the attendance of participants. This may be done with an online system.
  • Evaluations: Clock hour providers must provide course evaluations to all participants, and, to the extent possible, collect these evaluations. Evaluations may be provided and completed online.
  • Clock hour forms: Clock hour documentation, including SPI form 1125 or acceptable alternatives, can be mailed or emailed to participants upon completion of the course. 

Regardless of where the learning takes place, providers need to ensure the participants understand how the system works and the steps necessary to earn and record the clock hours. In designing instruction, providers need to consider their participants’ technology related skills and access to the internet.

Approval of clock hour courses

Courses are approved by local clock hour committees, which may meet online. The committee must keep records on course approval, and make these records available to OSPI staff for review if requested. 

Prior to offering a course, the local clock hour committee must approve:

  • Date(s) of course
  • Number of clock hours being offered
  • Course objectives and program agenda
  • Relation to clock hour standards in WAC 181-85-202
  • Instructors and their qualifications
    • Individuals may not serve as the instructor for a course in which that individual is also the only participant.

Become a clock hour provider

Clock hour providers must apply each year for approval. Applications are now being accepted through the OSPI certification office, with a deadline of August 20, 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. Apply for approval.

School districts are already considered to be approved clock hour providers and do not need to apply, but do need to follow all clock hour policy. 

Accredited colleges or universities, non-profit or not-for-profit organizations, ESDs, state-approved private schools, and local, state, or federal agencies may apply to serve as clock hour providers. 

More information 

  • Questions regarding clock hour implementation? Contact the OSPI certification office at or (360) 725-6400.
  • Questions regarding clock hour policy? Contact PESB associate director for preparation and credentialing, Maren Johnson
  • Additional information on clock hours
  • OSPI has created a website to share information and guidance on coronavirus for school districts, educators, and families. Visit their website