Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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When should I apply?

The Tacoma Public Schools' online application system is available for submitting and/or updating at any time with our without applying for a specific open position. Once you have completed an online application, you are able to click apply at any time to attach your application to a specific job posting.​

How do I apply for an open position?

Start at the Careers homepage to browse all available positions. For more detailed instructions about how to apply, see the Applicant Instructions.

When do you interview for positions that are shown as open until filled?

Interviews for open positions can take place at any time.​

Do I have to apply online?

Yes. All applicants must apply via our online system. 

If you do not have access to a computer at your home, you can access one at a local library (locate a local library near you) or you can make an appointment for assistance by calling Employment Services at 253.571.1250. 

Access our online application system » 

If you need assistance applying online, please refer to the Applicant Instructions.​

How do I know that my application was received by Human Resources?

After applying for a job, you will receive an e-mail indicating that your application has been received and that we are processing it.​

When are open positions posted?

Open positions are posted throughout the year.​

What are Applicant Pool postings?

Some positions are posted as an Applicant Pool position in order to obtain a list of general, qualified candidates. These postings are not for specific locations. We encourage you to apply to all Applicant Pools for which you are qualified and interested in. 

Applicant Pool postings are open year round.​

How long do jobs stay open?

The length that a job posting stays open is dependent on several factors. Typically all postings are open for a minimum of 5 working days.​

What do I need to do to get released from my contract with my current school district employer?

If you are under contract with another district, you must obtain a written release from your employer before you can be eligible to receive an official job offer and employment contract from Tacoma Public Schools.​

What if I need an accommodation to complete the application materials?

To request an accommodation during the application process, contact Employment Services for assistance at 253.571.1250 or refer to the Applicant Instructions.​

Do I need to be a citizen of the United States to work for Tacoma Public Schools?

We hire both United States citizens and aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States in accordance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (Title 8, US Code, Section 1.324A). 

All new employees are required to submit a completed Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9), issued by the US immigration and Naturalization Service, along with specific documentation proving eligibility to work in the United States.​

Which district skill tests are required for open positions?

Some Tacoma Public Schools job postings, including most office professional and professional technical positions, require a skills test as part of the candidate screening process. 

If you are deemed a candidate who may be interviewed for a specific open positions that requires testing as an additional screening tool, you will be contacted by Human Resources to schedule an appointment to test for that position. 

Testing may last up to two hours and will consist of one or more of the following, depending on the requirements for the position:

  • Math (with use of calculator)
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Filing
  • Microsoft Word 
  • Microsoft Excel 
  • Accounting or data entry

Are you actively recruiting minority applicants and applicants with disabilities?

Yes. As part of our Staff Diversity Plan and our District goals, we continue to place a major emphasis on attracting, recruiting and hiring qualified, minority candidates. We encourage disabled applicants to apply for employment in our District.​

Where can I learn more about Benefits?

The Sound Partnership is a self-insured Health and Welfare Trust in the State of Washington. It provides insurance and wellness benefits to approximately 3,600 eligible Tacoma Public School employees and their families. 

For more information about Benefits, visit The Sound Partnership website. ​

How can I find out the salary for a position?

Find salary schedules on the Human Resources website » 

The salary and/or hourly rate for a posted position can be found on the posting. You can reference the posted salary against the salary schedules on the HR website. Tacoma Public Schools provides a competitive compensation package that includes salaries, benefits and working conditions.​

How will I be notified regarding an interview?

If you are selected as a candidate for an interview, you will be contacted directly by the school or department Hiring Manager responsible for the position. Every effort will be made to provide prior notice several days before an interview; however, it is important to note that during peak hiring seasons it is not always possible to provide a 24 hour notice.​

Will I be able to work in a smoke-free and safe environment?

Our District complies with state law, which prohibits the use of tobacco on all school district property (Policy 4215). We are also committed to providing a safe environment; both weapon (Policy 4210) and drug free (Policy 5201). 

Find all Tacoma Public Schools Policies » 

Employee wellness information (i.e., tobacco cessation assistance) is available on The Sound Partnership website.​

How do I reset my password?

Get instructions for resetting your password »


Is a teaching certificate required to teach in Tacoma Public Schools?

Yes. A valid Washington State Teaching Certificate with appropriate endorsements is required to teach in Tacoma Public Schools. A valid Educational Staff Associate Certificate (ESA) is required for school nurses, psychologists, counselors, social workers, audiologists and therapists.​

Will my certificate from another state transfer to Washington? Does Washington have reciprocity with other states?

No. Contact the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for more information by visiting the OSPI website or calling 360.725.6396.​

What is an endorsement?

Endorsements are designated areas that a Washington State teacher has been qualified to teach through OSPI.​

How do you apply for regular teaching positions?

Start at the Careers homepage or jump straight to the Certificated page.​

What is the difference between one-year, replacement and continuing contracts?

A certificated one-year or replacement employment contract is considered to be a non-continuing employment contract, which ends at the completion of the specific assignment. One-year/replacement contracts may be issued due to employee leave, grant funding, collective bargaining guidelines or requirements, or because of other circumstances. 

A certificated continuing employment contract is issued for one year at a time; however, employment is considered to be continuing into the next school year unless a reduction in force is in effect. Collective bargaining requirements will be followed during a reduction in force process.​

Does a teacher have to register his/her new certificate with Tacoma Public Schools?

Yes. Every teacher, including substitutes, must register his/her Washington certificate with Human Resources before beginning a teaching assignment. Additionally, every teacher is responsible for registering all subsequent certificates with the District. 

Please bring your original copy to the Human Resources Office, Employment Services. An HR Staff member will stamp your original certificate and make copies. 

A copy will be placed in your personnel file after updating information on the HR database.​

What if I do not have a current State teaching certificate?

An offer of employment is contingent upon the ability to obtain a valid Washington State teaching certificate prior to the first day of employment.  

Information regarding certification is available at the Office of State Superintendent of Public Information (OSPI) or at the Education Service District (ESD) 113. 

Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Education Service District 113

What is the difference between a teaching certificate and a Career and Technical (CTE) or Vocational certificate?

A teaching certificate requires fulfilling educational requirements, whereas some vocational education certificates can be obtained through industry experience. For more complete information, contact:

Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction


How do I apply for a classified position?

Start at the Careers homepage or jump straight to the Classified page.​

How long are classified jobs advertised?

Classified vacancies must be advertised for at least 5 work days. Positions may be left open until filled.​

Is a Washington State certificate required to be a paraeducator with Tacoma Public Schools?

Paraeducators do NOT require a teaching certificate. However, paraeducators must meet the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal requirements. Paraeducators can meet that requirement through one of the following paths:

  1. Proof of having earned an Associate's Degree or at least 72 quarter credits (100-level class or above) from an accredited college or university
  2. Proof of scoring at least 461 on the ETS Paraprofessional Assessment Exam​


How do I apply to be a substitute?

Start at the Careers homepage or jump straight to the Substitutes page.​

Do substitute teachers in Tacoma need certificates?

Yes. Tacoma Public Schools requires all substitutes to have teaching certificates. ​

Do substitutes qualify for unemployment insurance during school year breaks or holidays?

For information regarding unemployment benefits, contact Employment Security Department headquarters in Olympia via the ESD website or at 360.902.9500​

What is the pay rate for substitutes?

Find salary schedules on the Human Resources website »

Are substitutes eligible to enroll in Professional Development classes?

Yes. See Professional Development listings for appropriate classes.

If I work as a substitute one year, will I remain active on the substitute roster the following year?

At the end of the school year, you will be sent a notice from Human Resources inquiring of your intent to substitute for the next school year. If you do not respond prior to the beginning of the next school year, your employment as a substitute will automatically be terminated.​

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