Become a Teacher in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary:$68,920
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary:$62,340
Vacation Weeks per Year:9
Pupil/Teacher Ratio:13.04
Expenditure per Pupil:$20,269

Teacher salaries are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

810 1st Street NE, Ninth Floor
Washington, D.C. 20002 
(202) 727-6436

Washington D.C. Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage area is defined by the U.S. Department of Education as “an area of specific grade, subject matter or discipline classification, or a geographic area in which … there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary school teachers.” The Department allows states to identify their own teacher shortage areas, but encourages them to follow a prescribed methodology based on unfilled teaching positions, teaching positions filled by instructors with irregular certifications, and positions filled by teachers certified in other subject areas.

  • Art
  • 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

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Washington D.C.

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/19/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Washington D.C., teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Washington D.C. teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Washington D.C. Teaching Credential

To earn your Washington D.C. teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program.

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in D.C.

All states require that certified teachers have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Washington D.C. only requires that teachers’ bachelor’s degrees be earned at an accredited college or university and meet the qualifications for credentialing listed above.

Step Two: Teacher Certification Programs in Washington D.C.

To earn your teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in the District of Columbia can be found on the website of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education.

Step Three: Required Tests for Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. requires its teachers to attain passing scores on the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators and the Praxis Subject Assessments.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

Sponsored Programs

Alternative Teacher Certification in Washington D.C.

The District of Columbia offers a Post-Baccalaureate certification alternative that involves intensive on-the-job training and mentoring. The D.C. Teaching Fellows program helps a variety of professionals earn their credential while teaching at high-need schools in the D.C. area. The program is focused on bringing in energetic and talented teachers to help close the achievement gap in D.C. Participants undergo an intensive eight-week training program before entering the classroom and are enrolled in the The New Teacher Project Academy during their first year.

The Mid-Atlantic Region Troops to Teachers program is another route to alternate teacher certification in Washington D.C. The program is designed to assist retiring military personnel pursue rewarding second careers in public education.

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Benefits of a Master's Degree in Washington D.C.

It is no longer enough to just have years of experience for teaching. After the No Child Left Behind Act, Every Student Succeeds Act, and other academic quantification measures, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on their results in the classroom. A master's degree in the field of education can give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor.

After a master’s program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security as well as higher pay. Even a first-year teacher in D.C. can receive an annual salary bump of $3,616 for holding a master’s instead of just a bachelor’s, according to the District of Columbia Public Schools. And this salary increase grows with each year of experience.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

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Certification Reciprocity in Washington D.C.

Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. Learn more about teacher certification reciprocity on Or, for more specific questions about reciprocity in Washington, D.C., contact the Washington D.C. State Board of Education. 

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Financial Aid in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. residents are eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the TEACH Grant, which offer financial aid to students in return for agreements to teach in high-need schools.

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Washington D.C. Teacher Salary and Incentives

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the average teacher in D.C. makes $71,110 per year. This can vary widely, however, depending on level of experience.

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Washington D.C. Teacher Benefits and Retirement

D.C. education job benefits include health insurance, basic life insurance, dental and optical insurance, a teacher retirement plan, and a variety of additional benefits. In general, D.C. teachers are eligible to retire at the age of 62, at the age of 60 with 20 years of service, at the age of 55 with 30 years of service if they were hired before November 1st, 1996, and at any age with 30 years of service if they were hired after November 1st, 1996. For more information, visit the D.C. Public Schools Retirement page

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Professional Development for Teachers in Washington D.C.

Professional development is the impetus of Washington D.C. Public Schools’ LEAP (Learning together to Advance our Practice) program. The district encourages teachers to engage in weekly cycles of development in small, content-specific professional learning communities led by content experts at their schools.

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Washington D.C. Teaching Jobs

The D.C. Public Schools Career Opportunities page is a good place to start for teachers looking to work in the D.C. area. Aspiring teachers can submit a general application and be placed in one of the needed subject areas in the district. 

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