Every child in Washington state needs a great CS teacher. Could that be you?
How do I become a K-5 CS teacher?
In Washington state, teaching in K-5 is holistic; teachers don't just teach one particular subject, they teach all subjects. Washington state does not yet programs that specialize in K-5 CS education, and so the best ways to CS in a K-5 context is to:
- Pursue a certification as primary school teacher (see below for a list of colleges and universities offering certifications at different levels). This requires meeting the state's CS competencies standards and passing a state exam run by NES.
- Pursue careers at after school and summer programs that teach computing topics to primary school-aged children.
How do I become a middle or high school CS teacher?
Unlike primary school, middle and high school teachers do teach particular subjects. Therefore, there are many more pathways:
How do I become a higher education CS teacher?
Faculty at colleges and universities do not need to be certified to teach. However, some colleges and universities require a Ph.D., a masters degree, or significant experience teaching CS. Here are some pathways to becoming a CS teacher:
- Review job postings at the state's 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities on the CRA Jobs website. These are typically posted as early as November and as late as February, with most interviews occurring January through April.
- Reach out to CS teachers in higher education listed in our Community page to learn more about careers.
What colleges and universities can prepare me to teach K-12 CS?
Currently, there are only a handful of programs:
- The TeamSTEM program at Central Washington University includes a course on CS pedagogy. This program is intended for undergraduates who want to pursue a career in secondary STEM and CS teaching.
- The College of Education at Washington State University, Tri-Cities is piloting a course on CS pedagogy.
- Whitworth University's School of Education is preparing Master of Teaching programs for both new and current teachers to teach CS for primary and secondary.
Why aren't there more programs that prepare CS teachers?
While higher education prepares a lot of teachers to teach math, science, English, social studies, and other required subjects, most of our state's universities do not yet prepare teachers to teach CS. A 2018 report by CS education experts from around the country recommended the following:
- Schools of education in higher education need to create pre-service programs that teach the content, teaching methods, and state standards for teaching CS.
- States need to supplement these pre-service programs with in-service professional development programs.
Washington state has only just begun these two efforts.