Alternative Routes to Certification

The ARC program is designed for students who have already earned an undergraduate degree and are seeking a certification to teach elementary or secondary school. The program runs for one year, beginning in June, and provides the base tools to become an effective educator in a classroom.

There are multiple endorsement options, which are content based specialties (elementary, history, math, science, world language, etc.) that students will teach upon graduating from the program. Further information on all endorsements can be found on the education website. Depending on state requirements for respective endorsements, students may need to complete additional coursework before entering the program.

Note: Health/Fitness and Music are currently not offered at the graduate level.

The program schedule is designed for students to complete intensive summer coursework, which includes field work, and continuing courses through fall semester with practicum to prepare students for their final spring semester when they will complete 15 weeks of student teaching, which involves facilitating a classroom on their own.

Candidates currently hired on emergency certification can do the internship in their own, qualified classroom.  After the initial year to complete certification, candidates have up to three additional years to complete the Master’s degree.

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Program Overview

This program is offered at the PLU Tacoma campus in partnership with Puget Sound ESD, Bethel School District, Clover Park School District, Franklin Pierce School District, and Puyallup School District.  All candidates will complete the internship in one of these districts.

  • Total Credits: Minimum of 19 for certification, 17 additional for the Master’s Degree (MAE)
  • Program Length: Minimum 9 months to one year for certification, 1-3 years for MAE
  • Program Start: June
  • Routes available at PLU:
    • 2: Current classified staff who hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree
    • 3: Individuals with subject-matter expertise in shortage areas (e.g. career changers)
    • 4: Individuals teaching with conditional certificates employed by a district
  • Program Options: Special Education (p12) with a minimum of one additional endorsement in the following: Secondary Education content area or Elementary Education. Click here for a list of endorsements and requirements.
  • Course List and Cost by Term: Special Education with Elementary or Special Education with Secondary (includes list of additional courses for the master’s degree)
  • Special Education with Secondary Endorsement Schedule; Special Education with Elementary Education Schedule
  • Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid:  Qualified candidates may receive a state funded Conditional Loan Scholarship of $8,000.  The Alternative Routes Conditional Loan Scholarship is a Conditional LOAN scholarship. If, within the allowed time, you don’t complete your certification through an Alternative Routes program or don’t complete your required teaching service, you must REPAY your remaining  balance plus fees and interest. Your loan will be forgiven in exchange for sufficient qualified teaching service (2 years).  More information is available during the application process.

Application Information

Return all items to the PLU Office of Admission. You may begin the application process before testing is complete.  Please fill out this form to indicate interest in the program and receive follow-up communication.

Deadlines: Applications due November 1st, February 1st, March 6.


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75
  • Passing (240) scores on all three sections of the WEST-B Scores or equivalent SAT/ACT Score
  • Must have a passing score on the content test (WEST-E/NES) for your intended endorsements by the beginning of the first summer.  You are strongly encouraged to take the test before beginning the program as candidates may not continue past summer without passing scores.  World Language applicants must also take the written and verbal portions of the ACTFL.

Application Components

  • Graduate Application and application fee.
  • Test scores or date intending to take the test.
  • Two letters of recommendation: Include one specific to your work with young people.
  • Application Essay: What are three values you will bring to your classroom?  500-750 words
  • Resume
  • Official Transcripts from all colleges attended.

The admissions committee will review all files at each deadline.  If selected for an interview you will be contacted with instructions to call and reserve an interview time.


Program Coordinator: Dr. Jan Weiss