Emergency teacher certificate available to meet assessment requirements


March 17, 2020

BULLETIN NO. 03-2020


( X ) Action required


( X ) Informational



Washington State is currently experiencing a rapid outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), impacting our communities in a number of ways. On Friday, March 13, Governor Inslee announced his order to close all K-12 public and private schools for six weeks. 

In response to these closures, the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) has filed emergency rules allowing teachers to be eligible for an emergency certificate. 

OSPI will issue the emergency certificate upon recommendation from a candidate’s educator preparation program. Programs may recommend candidates for an emergency certificate if the candidate has completed all program requirements, including coursework and clinical practice, with the exception of one or more of the assessment requirements. 

This emergency teacher certificate is valid for one year, and may be reissued for one additional year upon program recommendation. A teacher could practice with this certificate anywhere in Washington State as it is not district specific.

Once a candidate has completed all assessment requirements, their preparation program can then recommend them for residency certification. 

Which assessments are included in this policy change?

The basic skills, content knowledge and performance assessments are included in this policy change. This includes the edTPA, WEST-E, WEST-B, and NES.

What role does the preparation program play in this emergency certificate?

Programs are required to inform, advise, and support candidates on assessment requirements while they hold the emergency certificate, just as they are for other candidates who have not completed their program. 

Programs can recommend a candidate for this emergency certificate if the candidate has completed all requirements for program completion, with the exception of one or more of the assessments. A candidate whose clinical practice hours have been waived or reduced under recent PESB emergency rule would still be eligible for this certificate.

What options are available for completing clinical practice (student teaching)?

PESB has filed emergency rule allowing educator preparation programs to review a candidate’s course work, field experience, work experience, and alternative learning experience. Based on this review, the preparation program may then waive or reduce in length the clinical practice and course work if they determine the candidate has the required knowledge and skills.

Clinical practice can take place in educational settings through remote instruction, online learning, at alternate locations, or as part of an extended school year.

How do I apply for this emergency certificate? 

Please contact your preparation program. Once your program recommends you for the certificate, you will need to complete the application through the OSPI Certification Office. 

How can I get information about my certificate?

Educators can contact the OSPI certification office at cert@k12.wa.us or (360) 725-6400. Certificate information is also available online, and in individual eCertification accounts.

Questions on policy can be directed to PESB at pesb@k12.wa.us

How is this emergency certificate different from a conditional certificate?

Conditional certificates are only available at district request, and only allow the individual to serve in that specific school district. 

This emergency teacher certificate is available at the recommendation of a preparation program, and allows the individual to serve anywhere the state. Unlike the conditional certificate, the emergency certificate requires the candidate to have met all preparation program completion requirements with the exception of one or more of the assessment requirements.

Individuals who are not eligible for emergency certificates may be eligible for conditional certificates. Find out more about conditional certificates.

I already registered for the edTPA. How long is my registration valid? 

edTPA registrations are valid for 18 months. Candidates may submit edTPA portfolios within 18 months of their registration dates, for both initial submissions and retakes. Programs may guide their candidates to submit their portfolio on an appropriate submission date depending on their situation. As necessary, Pearson can extend registrations for candidates impacted by COVID-19. Please contact Pearson customer service for more information. 

Are testing centers currently open?

Beginning Tuesday, March 17, Pearson has suspended test delivery at all U.S. and Canada based Pearson VUE-owned test centers for 30 days until April 16, 2020. As a result, most test appointments in this timeframe have been cancelled.

The WEST assessment website has guidelines on test center closings and related information on test appointment cancellations and rescheduling procedures. 

Additional guidance and resources

PESB has created a page on our website housing all press releases, guidance, and resources concerning the novel coronavirus outbreak. View our website.