Saint Martin’s University College of Education and Counseling Psychology offers certification for two types of educational professionals: Teachers and Administrators. Teacher candidates can participate in one of four tracts – Elementary Education, Elementary and Special Education, Secondary Education, or Added Endorsement – and choose from 24 different endorsements. Administrative students can choose to participate in one or both tracks: Principal and/or Program Administrator.

While certification occurs at the end of the program, students should monitor their progress for endorsement and program completion throughout their program with the help of their advisor and the CECP Certification Specialist.

Endorsements Offered:

  • Bilingual Education
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Drama/Theatre Arts
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English Language Arts
  • English Language Learners
  • French
  • Health/Fitness
  • History
  • Japanese
  • Mathematics
  • Middle-level Humanities
  • Middle-Level Mathematics
  • Middle-Level Science
  • Music: Choral
  • Music: General
  • Music: Instrumental
  • Reading/Literacy
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Special Education


Each endorsement has a corresponding competency exam. These exams need to be passed in order to be recommended and issued teaching credentials in the state of Washington. You can register for your WEST-E/NES exam HERE. Exam cost can vary from $50 to $155 depending on the exam.

What is the difference between these exams and the WEST-B?   
The WEST-B is a basic skills test for educators as a pre-qualifying exam for entrance into a teacher education program in the state of Washington. This exam is taken during your entrance into the program, the WEST-E/NES is taken as you exit the program to show that you have learned the required material to teach your chosen subject(s).

What is the difference between the WEST-E and the NES?   
The WEST-E stands for “Washington Educator Skills Tests – Endorsement” and is a Washington-specific designated exam for showing that a candidate knows the materials necessary to teach their chosen subject(s). The NES stands for “National Evaluation Series.” The State of Washington is trying to move from a Washington-specific exam system to one that is nationally administered. This process takes time so some exams are still administered as WEST-E while others have made the switch to the NES. The list of WEST-E and NES exams can be found on their website.

As of January 1, 2014, the edTPA is required to be recommended for certification through a Washington educator preparation program. The cost of the edTPA is integrated into the tuition for the internship course so that financial aid may be utilized. Here is what edTPA has to say:
“edTPA is a performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by teacher preparation programs throughout the United States to emphasize, measure and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom. For each handbook field, the placement is a Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade classroom. edTPA is a subject-specific assessment that includes versions for 27 teaching fields. The assessment features a common architecture focused on three tasks: Planning, Instruction, and Assessment. Aspiring teachers must prepare a portfolio of materials during their student teaching clinical experience. edTPA requires aspiring teachers to demonstrate readiness to teach through lesson plans designed to support their students' strengths and needs; engage real students in ambitious learning; analyze whether their students are learning, and adjust their instruction to become more effective. Teacher candidates submit unedited video recordings of themselves at work in a real classroom as part of a portfolio that is scored by highly trained educators. edTPA builds on decades of teacher performance assessment development and research regarding teaching skills and practices that improve student learning.”

Taking Classes at Other Institutions to Meet Endorsement Requirements
Taking classes at other institutions and transferring them in to meet endorsement requirements is totally possible, however, any and all courses need to be documented and approved by the Certification Specialist, your advisor, and the Dean of CECP. Courses also need to be from a regionally accredited institution. Please contact the Certification Specialist and complete this form (endorsement waiver/substitution form).

Certification File Reviews
Certification File reviews are conducted prior to internship and upon program completion. Please email the Certification Specialist at to request a file review other than at these times. Please note: Requests will not be accepted during high traffic certification times including mid-December to mid-January, May, and August.

The Recommendation
When an institution, such as SMU, concludes that a student has completed their program and is ready for state certification, their process is known as a recommendation. The Certification Specialist goes into the OSPI eCertification system and tells OSPI that the student has finished the program and that they recommend they be issued their state credentials. OSPI is the one to actually issue the candidate’s certificate.

When you are at the end of your program and have turned in all materials, please complete the Application for Certification (teacher candidates only – administrative candidates’ program completion is sent to the Certification Specialist directly from the program faculty). Upon receipt of the application (or program completion confirmation from the faculty head in the case of administrators) the Certification Specialist will conduct a file review to confirm completion and, if all has been submitted, a recommendation is made to OSPI and an email is sent to you, the student, with your next steps. These next steps will take you into eCertification to complete your application and pay OSPI’s fee. OSPI takes the application from there.

OSPI’s Fees:

  • Residency Teacher Application - $74
  • Intern Substitute Certificate Application - $44
  • Emergency Certification Application - $44

All of my classmates have been recommended but I have not-
Recommendations are processed on a first-come-first-served basis. If your classmate completed their application for certification sooner than you they will receive their recommendation sooner. If you have not completed the application for certification you will not be in the queue to be reviewed. Recommendations are also not sent to OSPI in batches, they are inputted individually. If one student is recommended and the Certification Specialist is pulled away from their reviewing process for a walk-in student, project, or meeting, there will of course be some time in between when your classmate was recommended and when your recommendation gets entered.