Alternative Teaching Certification in Washington DC

The Washington D.C. Office of State Superintendent of Education recognizes that not all candidates for certification are able to complete traditional programs for certification. Some potential candidates may hold full-time jobs and are looking to enter the Field of Education.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in Washington DC.

For these candidates, alternative methods of certification exist.

Alternative Certification Requirements

Education Requirements

In order to enter an alternative teacher certification program, all candidates must have bachelor’s degrees. These degrees are typically in content specialization areas, such as:

  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • French
  • General Science
  • German
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish

During their preparation programs, alternative certification candidates gain an understanding of how to teach their specialized content areas. Usually, these programs ingrain candidates with the content and teaching knowledge at a quicker rate than traditional routes.

The OSSE offers two kinds of alternative teacher certification:

Regular I License
Offered to currently employed teachers in the DC area who are also enrolled in teacher preparation programs. The license is valid for two years and is not renewable.

Transitional License
The OSSE also offers a transitional license to candidates with degrees in content areas or those who have out-of-state teachers’ licenses. These licenses can only be offered at the request of an employing school district.


In order to earn a Regular I license in D.C., candidates must pass PRAXIS I and PRAXIS II examinations.

The PRAXIS Core Academic Skills Test measures a candidates understanding of basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills. Potential teachers must show they have the problem-solving and comprehension skills necessary to become effective educators.

Candidates seeking Regular I licenses must also pass PRAXIS II examinations in their specified content areas. Each PRAXIS II test has different scoring and content requirements. For more information on passing scores and specific tests, click here.

Experience Requirements

During alternative teaching programs, candidates are given many opportunities to gain first-hand experience in the classroom through student teaching and internships.

School districts that hire Regular I and Transitional license seekers also typically provide mentoring programs to ensure a candidate is fully prepared to lead a classroom.

Applicants of Regular I Licenses must also submit employment verification forms to show they are employed and gaining experience at their school districts.

Document and Application Requirements

Candidates who meet all previously listed requirements are prepared to submit their applications for certification.

Regular I License

Applicants seeking a Regular I certification must complete an F-4 Form.

Applicants must list all pertinent contact information, educational information, and examination results in their applications. Along with their completed applications, candidates should include:

  • Official Transcripts sealed in a university or college envelope
  • Official PRAXIS, SAT, ACT, or GRE score reports verifying passing scores
  • An official copy of your arrest and criminal history record issued within the previous 12 months
  • An employment verification form.
  • Application processing fee of $50 in a money order or cashier’s check payable to “DC Treasurer”

Candidates for Regular I licensing must complete all required application information and submit their packets to their certifying official of their college or university. Certifying officials will verify their enrollment in an education program and forward the application to the OSSE.

Transitional Certification

In order to receive application information on transitional teacher certification, candidates must contact their employing school districts.

Criminal History Background Check

All applicants for teacher certification in D.C. must submit to background checking and fingerprinting. Candidates seeking Regular I and Transitional licenses may contact the District of Columbia Public Schools Office of Human Resources to obtain fingerprinting and background checking information.

Candidates should visit the office at:

DCPS Office of Human Resources
1200 First Street
N.E. Washington, DC 20002

More information on background checking and fingerprinting may be found here.

Contact Information

If you’re interested in learning more about alternative teacher certification in D.C., contact the OSSE at or call them at 202-741-5881.

For more information on alternative teacher certification, click here.