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Employment FAQ

SPS Employment FAQ

General Employment FAQ

When will I hear back regarding my application? When did they interview and has it been filled? Who do I need to get in touch with?

All applications are reviewed by the hiring department. The most-qualified applicants may be invited to participate in additional selection activities such as tests or interviews. Please be patient. After the position closes, we carefully review all applications received. This may take several weeks, and the actual selection and hiring process may last from four (4) weeks to several months. If you are selected to move forward in the application process, the hiring department will contact you with further information. You can view your status for jobs you applied for inside your profile in the NeoGov application system. Once logged in, click on your name at the top right of the screen, then select “Applications.” Your status will be shown for every job applied to.

I don’t have a certificate. Can I be a substitute teacher?

We support emergency substitute certificates for hard-to-fill schools and subject areas. If you would like to become an emergency substitute, please fill out the online certificated substitute application. Please email us at or call 206-252-0215 for more information.

What is the process to become a teacher in Seattle, and in the state of Washington?

All teachers in Seattle Public Schools must have a teaching certificate. Washington state issues the Residency Teacher Certificate to most first-time applicants for a regular teaching certificate.

The candidate must have:

  • Earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from any regionally accredited college/university.
  • Completed any state’s approved teacher preparation program. This would be either an approved program through a regionally accredited college or university, or an approved alternative-route program.


If you have not completed a state approved program, individuals may verify at least 3 years of K-12 teaching experience outside Washington, and hold a regular certificate in another state.

  • In Washington there are 21 colleges/universities approved by the Professional Educator Standards Board to offer educator preparation programs.
  • Out-of-state applicants must pass a basic skills test (WEST-B) within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit. See teacher assessments.
  • Out-of-state applicants must pass an endorsement content knowledge test (WEST-E) within 12 months of receiving a temporary permit. See teacher assessments.

The first certificate issued is the Residency Certificate (First Issue), which is valid until the holder is reported as employed by a Washington school district as a teacher with 1.5 FTE or more experience. This certificate must then be reissued with a three year expiration date.

Visit our Job Opportunities page to apply for open positions that match your teaching credentials.

Certificated employee FAQ

Is a teaching certificate required to teach in Seattle Public Schools?

Yes. A current Washington State Teaching Certificate with appropriate endorsements is required to teach in Seattle Public Schools. A current Educational Staff Associate Certificate (ESA) is required for school nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, audiologists and therapists.

Will my certificate from another state transfer to Washington? Does Washington have reciprocity with other states?

Washington requires that all teachers new to the state complete an application packet for their certificates. Information about this process can be found at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website or by calling 360-725-6396.

Does a teacher have to register his/her new certificate with Seattle Public Schools?

Yes. Every teacher, including substitutes, must register his/her Washington certificate with Human Resources before beginning a teaching assignment. Additionally, every teacher is responsible for registering all subsequent certificates with the district. You may email with a PDF of your certificate from the OSPI website to have it registered in our system.

What is the difference between a teaching certificate and a Career and Technical (CTE) or vocational certificate?

A teaching certificate requires fulfilling educational requirements, whereas some vocational education certificates can be obtained through industry experience.

What is the difference between endorsement and category?

Endorsements are designated subject areas in which a teacher is qualified to teach. These endorsements are determined and granted by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) when a teacher applied for certification.

Categories are subject areas or grade levels identified by Seattle Public Schools within these endorsements. Categories provide a greater level of specificity within endorsements. For example, you can have a K-8 endorsement, but only select to have a category for grades 1-3 (E5 is the category), which will limit the grade levels in which you can be assigned. You can have an unlimited number of categories as long as you hold the proper endorsement for the category.

What is the difference between leave replacement, provisional and continuing contracts?

Non-continuing, leave replacement contracts are offered to teachers filling in for another teacher who is on a medical leave. Mid-year, principals are required to evaluate leave replacement teachers and make recommendations for their conversion to provisional status.

Provisional contracts are issued to teachers with fewer than two years of satisfactory performance in Washington Public Schools. A leave replacement contract lasting one year can be converted to a provisional contract and fulfill the first year of provisional employment for new teachers. After a second successful provisional contract year, teachers receive a continuing contract. One-year contracts are converted to second year provisional contracts if the teacher new to Seattle has had one-year of teaching experience in another Washington Public School. One-year teachers with additional Washington Public School experience are converted to a continuing contract.

Conversions are based upon recommendations from the principal and capacity to staff at the school.

How do you apply for regular teaching positions?

In late-fall, SPS posts “Teacher Pools” by subject area to which all interested external candidates should apply. Applicants in the Teacher Pool will receive regular updates on the hiring process, hiring timelines and anticipated needs, information sessions, career fairs and more.

Later in the spring, available positions are listed on the SPS Job Opportunities Page. One application serves to apply for all positions including substitutes. When you apply to individual positions, you will be asked to answer supplemental questions. Please review each job announcement to determine if additional materials are required.

How long are certificated vacancies advertised?

Certificated vacancies must be advertised for at least one week. However, positions may be left open until filled.

Classified employee FAQ

How do classified employees apply for advertised positions?

All available positions are listed in one place – just click the Job Opportunities link on the Careers  home page. One application serves to apply for all positions including substitutes. When you apply to individual positions, you will be asked to answer supplemental questions. Please review each job announcement to determine the minimum qualifications and if additional materials are required. Important updates and announcements about special circumstances or activities are posted on the Careers home page.

How long are represented classified jobs advertised?

Open positions must be advertised for at least 1 week. Positions are often advertised for an extended period and marked “open until filled” if fewer than six applications are received in the first week.

How often do classified employees receive pay?

Classified employees are paid on the first working day each month, provided they began work by the 15th of the previous month.

Is a Washington State certificate required to be an instructional assistant (IA) with Seattle Public Schools?

Currently, IAs must have completed 72 quarter hours of college course work or pass the Paraprofessional Praxis exam and have one year of paid related work experience. However, in September 2019, all paraprofessionals must have a General Paraprofessional Certificate issued by OSPI. More details on that will be shared when known.

When can a newly hired classified employee expect to receive medical benefits?

Employees who are .5 FTE or more are eligible for benefits. An employee whose start date is prior to the 15th of the month is eligible to receive benefits on the first day of the following month as long as the paperwork is turned in by the 20th of the month. If hired after the 15th and paperwork is submitted, the benefits coverage would begin the first of the second month of employment.