How to Become a Teacher in Washington, D.C.

There are few choices in life that can actually affect hundreds of others, but becoming a teacher is one of those choices. Each day you have the opportunity to touch the lives of each and every student with which you come into contact. Your students will then go on to touch the lives of many others as they move forward in life. However, before you can make such a difference you must take the steps to become a certified teacher.

Choose What You Want to Teach

When you start a certified teaching program, you will most likely be required to choose a topic, grade, or type of students you would like to work with. Those who prefer to work with younger children tend to focus on Elementary studies. Elementary school teachers teach multiple subjects to the same group of students throughout the day. On the other hand, those who have a liking towards a specific subject area (Math, Social Studies, English, etc.) will most likely enjoy working at the secondary school level (middle school or high school). Secondary school teachers usually just teach one subject to different groups of students throughout the day. The decision you make will determine classes, placements, and projects you complete throughout your course of study. To begin your course of study in Washington D.C., try the following link to learn even more about becoming a certified teacher: Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Washington, D.C.

In order to earn teacher certification in Washington D.C., one must attend and graduate from an accredited college or university in order to obtain a Bachelor's Degree at a minimum. In addition, teacher candidates must complete and accredited Educator Preparation Program. Those who know from early on that they want to teach might complete a blended or joint Degree and Educator Preparation Program. However, many people earn their degree ahead of time (often, in an unrelated field) and later go on to completing an Educator Preparation Program after deciding to switch career paths.

Complete an Educator Preparation Program

In order to become a teacher in Washington D.C., one must complete the required coursework for a teaching license through an accredited Educator Preparation Program at a college or university. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is the current accrediting body for educator preparation programs. Any college or university should provide verification of current accreditation upon request. A list of accredited programs in Washington D.C. can be found on the Directory of Approved Educator Preparation Programs.

For the most part, the majority of people gain a teaching license in conjunction with a Bachelor's Degree. In other words, many people enroll in joint programs which blend together the requirements for a degree and an educator preparation program. Additionally, some colleges and universities may even offer a joint Teacher Education and Master's Degree program. This specific information can be obtained from a school counselor or advisor as needed.

Though each teacher education program will vary to some degree, they will all contain classes to prepare the future teacher to handle a classroom, curriculum, and student needs. This will not only include classes on subject specific topics and how to teach to the appropriate grade level, but classroom management techniques, lesson plan preparation, and humanities classes. One will also have to complete student teaching, observation hours, and testing as part of the program. Passing scores will vary among states and districts, but will be known by the college which you attend.

Alternative Teacher Certification in Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. currently offers two separate routes to alternative certification.

Teach for America

One way in which to become a teacher through alternative routes is the Teach for America program. For more than 25 years, Teach for America has helped over 50 thousand people from a variety of backgrounds (career changers, college students, etc.) become inspirational teachers. Through TFA, candidates will work in a classroom for at least two years in a low-income community. All needed information can be found at the official site https://www.teachforamerica.org/

DC Teaching Fellows

Additionally, Washington D.C. offers another alternative route through DC Teaching Fellows. DC Teaching Fellows is designed specifically for people who do not have prior experience as a licensed teacher. The program provides an accelerated path into teaching. There are specific requirements for this program that must be met. Some of the requirements include the possession of Bachelor's Degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher, never having obtained a professional teaching license, being able to legally work in the US, and more. To learn more, visit the official site for DC Teaching Fellows: http://tntpteachingfellows.org/dc

Pass the Required Tests for Washington, D.C.

Prospective teachers in Washington, D.C. who wish to become certified must be able to pass the required Praxis Series exams: Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) Tests and Praxis Subject Assessments (formerly the Praxis II tests).

Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests measure a teacher candidate's basic knowledge and skills in the following areas: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. These tests are needed prior to Level I or Level II licensure in the District of Columbia. Passing scores on these tests are often required prior to admission or within the first two years of an education program. In order to find out specifics, this should be discussed with a college counselor or program advisor.

Praxis Subject Assessments

The Praxis Subject Assessments must be taken based on the specific subject or level a candidate wishes to become licensed in. These tests assess subject-specific content knowledge, as well as subject-specific teaching skills.

The scores are all submitted with the licensure form and fee in order to gain and maintain a teaching license. Specific score and state information can be found at https://www.ets.org/praxis/dc/requirements

Apply for Your Washington, D.C. Teacher Certification

After completing all the requirements, you will be able to apply for your teaching license in Washington, D.C. by providing proof of the following:

Application Requirements for Regular II Teacher License

  • Complete online application through the Educator Credential Information System (ECIS) portal
  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Verification of successful completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Passing scores for the required exams in applicable subject areas (Basic Skills, Content Knowledge, Pedagogy/Principles of Learning and Teaching)
  • More information regarding requirements and other licensure types can be found at http://dcps.dc.gov/node/1842

Contact Information

Office of the Superintendent of Education (OOSE)
Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Specialized Education
Educator Credentials Office
810 First. St. NE - Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 741-5771
Email: osse.asklicensure@dc.gov

District of Columbia Public Schools
1200 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202)442-5885
Fax: (202) 442-5026

Finding a Teaching Job in Washington, D.C.

Once you have become certified and licensed then you can begin looking for a job in Washington DC. There are three options for teaching and/or subbing in DC, these include public, private, and charter schools.

Public School

Teaching in a public school means you will be working for the state and must meet all the necessary requirements. You will typically be observed in the classroom at set times throughout the first few years until tenure is gained. There are usually more state jobs available, but pay rates will vary by district. Public schools are open to all students. Each public school district sets up curriculum for their schools. However, education and testing standards are usually set up by the state.

Private School

Teaching at a private school means working within the school's chosen curriculum. Private schools are not funded by the public; they are often supported by private funds and tuition. Depending on the institution, hours and pay scales can vary greatly from school to school or even within the district. Private schools are separate from public schools and may choose their own curriculum and set requirements for teachers and other staff. Although private schools are not required by the government to hire certified teachers, most private schools prefer to do so anyway.

Charter School

The third option is a charter school. A charter school is not government funded, but it is publicly funded. It is a public school that is established by teachers or other community members. There are two types of charter schools: independent charter schools and affiliated charter schools. Affiliated charter schools are connected to the district in which the school resides. Although they are more autonomous than a public school, they must still abide by certain rules and regulations. While charter schools are held accountable for academic results, they must also meet the criteria of their charter. Charter schools may be more competitive in hiring, but are likely to pay less than traditional public schools.

To find teaching jobs in the Washington D.C. area, check out the following links: DC Jobs, District of Columbia Public Schools

Teacher Shortage in Washington, D.C. by Subjects or Discipline (2014-2015)

The following list of teacher shortage areas in Washington, D.C. has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2014-2015 school year

  • Career and Technical Education
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • English Language Arts and Reading
  • Foreign Languages
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Home Economics
  • Mathematics
  • Military Science
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education

Number of Public School Teachers By Grade

The table below lists the number of public school teachers in Washington, D.C. by grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Pre-kindergarten & Preschool Teachers746
Kindergarten Teachers371
Elementary Teachers1,858
Middle & High School Teachers2,295
Ungraded Class Teachers655

Data obtained from the State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data 2013

Number of Private School Teachers By Grade

There are more than 70 private schools with an estimated 1,800 private school teachers in Washington, D.C.. The table below details the number of teachers by grade level during the 2011-2012 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Elementary School Teachers643
Middle & High School Teachers497
Combined K-12 School Teachers668

Data obtained from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) 2012

Continue Your Education and Professional Development

Those who are beginning teachers in Washington D.C. will be assigned a mentor teacher that will be considered a ‘master teacher' in their field. This mentor will meet with the new teacher periodically, offering advice and help when needed. Additionally, all teachers should continue to grow and learn through professional development. Most schools require a set number of professional development hours, but this is typically determined by the district. Further information about the mentoring program, as well as professional development, can be found at http://dcps.dc.gov/page/teacher-professional-development

Employment and Teacher Salary in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. is home to many outstanding teachers who have a passion for lifelong learning.  Within the District of Columbia, there is a lot of variation in regards to a public school teacher's salary. However, the beginning average can range from about $46,000 to about $61,000. All certified applicants are welcome to apply to begin teaching. Learn more about the different careers within the field of teaching and how they play out in Washington, D.C.

Total Employed

3,910

Salary Range

$45,540 - $104,870

Elementary school teachers have a salary range between $45,540 to $104,870 a year in Washington, D.C.. There are around three thousand employed elementary school teachers. Read about what it takes to become an elementary school teacher.

Elementary School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria21,820$67,790

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Elementary School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2021)

Total Employed

580

Salary Range

$43,630 - $108,730

English teachers have a salary range between $43,630 to $108,730 a year in Washington, D.C., with over 580 employed in the state. See details on how to become an english teacher.

English Language and Literature Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria1,520$72,410

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for English Language and Literature Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1123)

Total Employed

2,550

Salary Range

$38,150 - $88,350

As a high school teacher in Washington, D.C. you can expect to make between $38,150 - $88,350. There are around two thousand employed high school teachers. Take the next step and learn to how to become a high school teacher.

High School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria12,700$69,860

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for High School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2031)

Total Employed

260

Salary Range

$65,970 - $136,500

In Washington, D.C., a history teacher's salary may range from $65,970 to $136,500. There are around 260 employed history teachers. Get more information about becoming a history teacher.

History Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria620$85,320

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for History Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1125)

Total Employed

210

Salary Range

$31,870 - $64,870

Kindergarten teachers in Washington, D.C., can earn between $31,870 to $64,870 a year. There are around 210 employed kindergarten teachers. Read about what it takes to become a kindergarten teacher.

Kindergarten Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria2,160$61,970

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Kindergarten Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2012)

Total Employed

8,080

Salary Range

$31,870 - $157,550

As a math teacher in Washington, D.C. you can expect to make between $31,870 - $157,550. Washington, D.C. is home to about eight thousand math teachers. See our guide on how to become a math teacher.

Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria830$89,750

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1022)

Total Employed

550

Salary Range

$32,080 - $95,220

P.e. teachers have a salary range between $32,080 to $95,220 a year in Washington, D.C.. Washington, D.C. is home to about 550 p.e. teachers. See our guide on how to become a p.e. teacher.

Coaches and Scouts
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria3,310$49,850

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Coaches and Scouts (SOC Code: 27-2022)

Total Employed

1,050

Salary Range

$21,450 - $51,680

In Washington, D.C., a preschool teacher's salary may range from $21,450 to $51,680, with over 1,050 employed in the state. See details on how to become a preschool teacher.

Preschool Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria6,650$34,470

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)

Total Employed

1,170

Salary Range

$41,730 - $130,060

As a school administrator in Washington, D.C. you can expect to make between $41,730 - $130,060. Washington, D.C. is home to about a thousand school administrators. Take the next step and learn to how to become a school administrator.

Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria930$56,020

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program (SOC Code: 11-9031)

Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria3,900$101,290

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School (SOC Code: 11-9032)

Total Employed

1,330

Salary Range

$44,070 - $95,350

School counselors in Washington, D.C., can earn between $44,070 to $95,350 a year, with over 1,330 employed in the state. See our guide on how to become a school counselor.

Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria4,630$66,270

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (SOC Code: 21-1012)

Total Employed

1,200

Salary Range

$57,620 - $106,300

School librarians have a salary range between $57,620 to $106,300 a year in Washington, D.C.. Washington, D.C. is home to about a thousand school librarians. Read about what it takes to become a school librarian.

Librarians
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria3,340$73,990

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Librarians (SOC Code: 25-4021)

Total Employed

810

Salary Range

$47,550 - $97,190

In Washington, D.C., a special education teacher's salary may range from $47,550 to $97,190. Washington, D.C. is home to about 810 special education teachers. Interested in becoming a special education teacher?

Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria3,020$67,890

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School) (SOC Code: 25-2052)

Special Education Teachers (Middle School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria3,230$83,480

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Middle School) (SOC Code: 25-2053)

Special Education Teachers (High School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria1,730$76,220

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (High School) (SOC Code: 25-2054)

Total Employed

350

Salary Range

$20,450 - $44,130

In Washington, D.C., a substitute teacher's salary may range from $20,450 to $44,130. Washington, D.C. is home to about 350 substitute teachers. Read about what it takes to become a substitute teacher.

Substitute Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria14,020$29,280

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Substitute Teachers (SOC Code: 25-3098)

Total Employed

2,540

Salary Range

$23,000 - $36,430

In Washington, D.C., a teaching assistant's salary may range from $23,000 to $36,430. There are around two thousand employed teaching assistants. Interested in becoming a teaching assistant?

Teacher Assistants
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Washington, Arlington, Alexandria16,020$29,090

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Teacher Assistants (SOC Code: 25-9041)

Largest School Districts in Washington, D.C.

School DistrictSchoolsTeachers
District of Columbia Public Schools1293,374

Data obtained from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey 2014