ESD 112’s mission has always been to equalize educational opportunities for learning communities through innovative partnerships, responsive leadership, and exceptional programs. It’s in these partnerships and programs that we help districts “grow their own” teachers and provide continued support and professional development.

Not sure where to start? We’ve highlighted some of the programs available to start or continue your journey as an educator.

Become a paraeducator

Paraeducators are valuable members of school staff, working within K–12 settings under the guidance of certified or licensed personnel. They play a crucial role in assisting teachers with classroom instruction and curriculum planning. Given the ongoing demand for paraeducators in many districts across the region, these positions offer promising opportunities for individuals seeking employment in educational settings.

To become a paraeducator, you must meet the minimum employment requirements as outlined by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB). If you don’t meet any of the college requirements, a qualifying score on the Education Testing Service (ETS) paraeducator assessment will make you eligible. If you’re interested in taking this test, ESD 112 offers online scheduling for in-person testing as well as links to testing resources.

Testing is available year-round and is the perfect choice for recent high school graduates looking to start work as a paraeducator in a local school while working towards a bachelor’s degree!

Learn more about Paraeducator Testing & Training>

Paraeducator certification

Once hired in a district, all paraeducators must complete the paraeducator certificate program, which offers standards-based training for all instructional paraeducators in Washington State. We offer professional development courses for the Fundamental Course of Study (FCS) and General Paraeducator Certificate, and courses that can be applied to the optional Advanced Paraeducator Certificate.

Courses are offered year-round and available for enrollment through your district or pdEnroller.

Learn more about Paraeducator Certification >

Paraeducator & Explorer Program

Not quite sure if teaching is right for you? The Paraeducator and Explorer Program (PEP) is designed to give current paraeducators and individuals exploring the teaching profession a glimpse into the ESD-U teacher certificate program while earning clock hours toward the General or Advanced Paraeducator Certificate requirements. A bachelor’s degree is not required to be admitted into this program so this could be a great steppingstone while finishing your degree.

PEP cohorts run once per year alongside the ESD-U program. Applications are currently open and due by June 30, 2024.

Learn more about PEP >

Ready to become a teacher?

ESD-U is a teaching certification program, approved by PESB, that offers alternative routes to certification at an affordable rate and an efficient pace from any location in Washington. The one-year, hybrid program offers certification in Special Education, Elementary Education (K-12 options), and a dual endorsement in English Language Learner & Elementary Education.

This program requires a bachelor’s degree and works especially well for individuals with bachelor’s degrees who are already working in the classroom, connected with a school as a coach or volunteer, or are looking to change careers to become a teacher.

The initial teacher certification program runs yearly and is now accepting applications for its 2024-25 cohort, due by May 5, 2024. Applications submitted by this deadline will have priority in grant awards.

Learn more about ESD-U Initial Teacher Certification >

Adding an endorsement

In addition to initial teacher certification, ESD-U offers retooling endorsements for currently certified teachers in Washington state. The 2024-2025 cohort endorsement areas include Special Education, English Language Learners, Elementary Education, and Reading.

This program runs yearly alongside the initial teacher certification program and is now accepting applications for its 2024-25 cohort, with applications due by May 5, 2024. Retooling candidates can apply for a competitive, conditional scholarship through the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), of up to $3000.

Learn more about adding an endorsement >

First year educator support & mentoring

Beyond certification, ESD 112 supports new teachers through the Beginning Educator Support Team (BEST) program, pairing them with experienced mentors for in-classroom support. This initiative ensures a robust foundation, combining coaching and professional development to empower teachers for a successful start to their careers in the classroom.

Learn more about BEST >

Continued growth & development

Clock hours are required for most teachers, administrators, and ESE certificate holders in Washington State, serving both for salary placement and certification maintenance. ESD 112 is an approved provider of clock hours, offering courses that fulfill state certification requirements.

Learn more about certification requirement courses >

ESD 112 is committed to empowering educators at every stage of their journey, positively impacting the lives of students across Washington State. Through our comprehensive programs and dedicated support, we strive to foster excellence in education and contribute to the success of our learning communities.