Alternative Routes to Certification

What is ESD-U?

Since the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) was founded in 2002, it has worked to ensure that Washington State educators are well trained and ready for the modern classroom. The Educator Pathways program within PESB has made it a priority to provide Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification in an effort to end the teacher shortage and diversify the current teacher population.  PESB has authorized ESD 112 to provide pathways to certification that support a “Grow Your Own” focus in partnership with local districts.

ESD-U, approved by PESB to provide alternative route certification, and operated by ESD 112, is a residency-based, flexible program that offers a Route 2, 3, or 4 alternative route to certification for currently employed classified and emergency substitute instructional employees. The alternative routes can be defined as the following:

  • Route 2:  Employed classified instructional staff with baccalaureate degrees seeking certification with endorsements in a locally-determined shortage area.
  • Route 3:  Individuals with baccalaureate degrees seeking certification. Priority shall be given to those seeking endorsements in a locally-determined shortage area.
  • Route 4:  Individuals with baccalaureate degrees for whom the district will secure a conditional or emergency substitute and employ (as teacher of record if on a conditional certificate) while seeking certification with an endorsement.  
Learn more about ESD-U by viewing the participant handbook.

Areas of Certification

  • Reading
  • English Language Learners
  • Special Education
In future years, we will also offer endorsements in elementary education, math, science, early childhood education, and early childhood special education. Endorsement "retooling" pathways are offered to currently employed, licensed teachers in partnering districts.

Related Pages


Thank you for your interest in ESD-U at ESD 112.  We are forming a list of interested applicants and will add your name for future communications.  Please click the applicant interest form link below and fill out a brief survey. We plan to release application materials in late fall of 2017 for our first cohort to attend classes in the summer of 2018.  

District Resources:
ESD-U Info Meeting Agenda
ESD-U Informational PowerPoint
ESD-U Information Sheet
ARBG PDF Block Grant Application
District MOA Due 10-4-17

ESD-U PESB Path Image


Mike Esping, Director of Educator Effectiveness and Early Career Development

Alissa Jolly, Secretary II

Malena Goerl, Secretary II

Chelsea Jacobson, Certificated Employment Manager