Washington State has recently designed alternative routes to certification for those who have worked in the schools as paraprofessionals and those coming into the profession from another career. Alternative routes to certification along with alternative certificates are becoming increasingly popular as teacher shortages increase and public demand grows for teachers better prepared in their subject areas. When incentives such as signing bonuses and higher pay do not entice enough certified teachers in urban areas, alternative certificates are offered. In its quest for quality teachers, Washington has decided to institute three alternative routes to certification rather than issue alternative certificates to those with no teacher preparation. This article describes these newly developed routes to certification and compares them to the solutions created by other states and large cities facing teaching shortages.



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