FAQ - Programs Authorized for Field Placement

Authorization for Field Placement Process

What does "Authorization for Field Placement" mean?

"Authorization for Field Placement" (AFP) refers to the process by which out-of-state educator preparation programs gain state authorization for purposes of placing candidates in student teaching and other field experiences in Washington schools. 

Why has the authorization process been created?

Washington’s State Legislature mandates that the PESB will establish policies to support educator preparation programs in preparing future educators who can help all students meet the state’s learning goals. As part of this charge, the PESB approves and evaluates Washington educator preparation programs based on rigorous standards aligned with the needs of Washington schools. 

In recent years, however, an increasing number of candidates have enrolled in out-of-state online programs which do not fall under PESB authority. While graduates of these programs do not directly earn Washington certificates, they can receive a Washington certificate under interstate reciprocity rules. Therefore, the authorization for field placement process has been created to provide assurance that: 

  • Candidates placed in Washington schools will experience well-designed field placements aligned with the needs of Washington students.

  • Out-of-state programs will enter into intentional agreements with Washington school districts to assure that mutual expectations have been clearly established for field placements.

  • All candidates placed in field experience have undergone a Washington state patrol background check and fingerprinting.

What programs are eligible for authorization for field placement?

Regionally accredited institutions offering state-approved educator preparation programs that lead to state licensure or additions to an existing license are eligible to request authorization for field placement (WAC 181.78A.132). Programs that are designed solely for professional development and advancement are not covered. 

What are the benefits of authorization for field placement?

Authorization for field placement is a signal to districts and potential candidates that certain basic principles are being followed by the program when placing candidates in Washington schools.  

What are the requirements for authorization for field placement?

See the Request for Authorization for Field Placement for this information. 

How does an institution become authorized for field placement?

Programs that wish to request authorization for field placement can find the overview and link to application here

PESB staff review the application materials. When the application is determined to be complete, staff place the request for consideration on a PESB regular meeting agenda. If more information is needed prior to consideration of the request by the PESB, staff will contact the institution. 

Applicant institutions will have an opportunity to briefly present their program to the PESB and respond to any questions Board members may have, either in person or by phone. The PESB conducts the final review and makes the approval or denial decision.  

Is authorization for field placement the same as program approval?

No. See a detailed comparison of these differences and similarities.

What happens after an institution has been authorized for field placement?

WAC 181.78A.13 requires that PESB lists these programs on the PESB website. This webpage provides a current list of programs authorized for field placement. In communicating with candidates and others, programs authorized for field placement should describe their status as “authorized to place candidates in Washington public schools” and can link to the PESB site with the list of programs. 

Which programs are authorized for field placements in Washington?

The PESB website lists programs authorized for field placement. This list is updated when additional programs are approved by the PESB.

What is the status of out-of-state institutions that are not authorized for field placement?

Because authorization for field placement is not a legal requirement, non-authorized institutions may continue to operate and seek placements in Washington. Whether a school district chooses to enter into field placement agreements with any program is a district decision. Individuals who intend to gain WA educator certification through any online program are encouraged to review the Pathways to Teaching and OSPI Certification Office websites.

Link to Guidance on Field Experience Agreements

Link to OSPI's Certification Office’s Student Teaching in Washington webpage

Link to Partnerships in Washington