Competency Based Endorsements

Competency Based Endorsements

Earn credit for experience and training you’ve already received!

Get an endorsement at your own pace and with less money!

What is the benefit of earning an Endorsement and/or Master of Education?

  • Time – Courses are taken one at a time so you can progress at your own pace and on your own schedule.  
  • Job Security – Teachers with additional endorsements in English Language Learners, Bilingual Education, or Reading are in demand and may qualify you for leadership positions in your district
  • Compensation – Teachers with a Master’s degree earn, on average, $10,000 more per year in the State of Washington. Total cost for a Master’s program through the competency-based option is under $15,000. This is an investment that provides significant returns.

Washington State requirements

  • Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, all classroom teachers using state ELL funds must hold an endorsement in English Language Learner or bilingual education. 
  • Beginning in 2020-21, school districts will be required to train teachers to provide appropriate assessments and interventions for all students identified with dyslexia.

How does a competency-based program work?

In a competency-based model, students move through the sequence of courses required for the endorsement independently. There are no online or face-to-face courses. Instead candidates demonstrate mastery of the competencies through portfolio assignments and proctored exams.

Competency-Based Endorsement Program Specifics

Class Days and Format: Designed for individuals working in the Education field. Designed for those with some experience or training in the content area, students move through the sequence of courses required for the endorsement independently. There are no online or face-to-face courses. Instead, candidates demonstrate mastery of the competencies through portfolio assignments and proctored exams.  This program is self-paced, with the courses being taken one at a time.

Regions and School Districts Served: Heritage University primarily serves South Central Washington schools in Education Service Districts 105 and 123, but accommodates students throughout Washington State and nationwide.

Heritage University exists on Yakmumamí Tiichám (the land of the Yakama People).  We acknowledge and honor with gratitude the land and the first peoples who have stewarded it throughout the generations, and recognize their continuing connection to the land, to the water, and to their ancestors.

Location – Since there are no face to face classes, the competency based programs are not limited by physical location.  You can pursue the program from anywhere.

Admissions – A Bachelor degree is prerequisite for both the Endorsement and Masters in Education programs which are offered at a graduate level. 

Financial Aid– Unfortunately, the Competency-Based Endorsement program is not eligible for Federal Financial Aid;however, the Competency Based M.Ed may be eligible for Financial Aid.  

How to Apply

Step 1: 

Complete the Heritage University Application

Step 2: 

Complete the Additional Endorsement Program Application

Step 3: 

Decide when you want to start your program.

Frequently Asked Questions

The course driven endorsement, whether synchronous or asynchronous, is the traditional class model.  Students will have schedule of classes with instruction at set times or which can be viewed and tasks completed outside of the class schedule.

In a competency-based model, students move through the sequence of courses required for the endorsement independently. There are no online or face-to-face courses. Instead, candidates demonstrate mastery of the competencies through portfolio assignments and proctored exams.

A micro-credential represents a portion of course equivalence to one credit. For instance, RDG 502 has two micro-credentials: History and Theory of Reading and Dyslexia. To demonstrate mastery of the competencies for each micro-credential, students complete a portfolio assignment and take an online proctored exam.

In the course driven endorsement, assignments and courses are awarded standard letter grades and/or point values.

In the competency-based model, courses are graded as pass/fail. Each portfolio assignment has a rubric for scoring purposes. Each online proctored exam contains 20 multiple choice questions and five short answer/essay responses. Students must successfully complete all assessments for each micro-credential, in order to receive a grade for the course.

Schedules can vary but the courses are offered in a synchronous and asynchronous format over three semesters Fall, Spring and Summer.  The courses are listed below.

RDG 502: Theoretical Foundations of Reading (2)

RDG 504: Literacy through Children and Adolescents’ Literature (2)

RDG 505: Beginning Literacy (2)

RDG 506: Instructional Methods in Reading, Writing and Communication (2)

RDG 507: Assessment and Diagnosis of Reading, Writing and Communication (2)

RDG 509: Content Area Literacy (2)

RDG 573: Reading /Literacy Internship (2)

ENG 538: Applied Linguistics (2)

BLE 520: History and Theory of Bilingual Education (2)

BLE 522: ESL in the Content Areas (2)

BLE 526: Literacy and the Bilingual/ESL Student (3)

BLE 527: Instructional Methods in Teaching Bilingual/ESL (3)

BLE 530: Educational Linguistics (2)

BLE 532: Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices (2)

BLE 572: Practicum (2)

SPED 525: Introduction to Special Education (3)

SPED 533: Behavior Management and Positive Behavior Support (3)

SPED 536: Curriculum and Instruction Strategies for Students with High Incidence Disabilities (3)

SPED 537: Curriculum and Instruction Strategies for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities (3)

SPED 538: Assessment and Evaluation of Students with Disabilities (3)

SPED 568: Special Education Law (2)

Total = Credits 16 Total = Credits 16 Total = Credits 17
Course Sequence for Competency-Based Endorsements
Reading ELL
RDG 502- 2 credits BLE 527- 3 credits
RDG 505- 2 credits BLE 522- 2 credits
ENG 538- 2 credits BLE 520- 2 credits
RDG 506- 2 credits BLE 532- 2 credits
RDG 509- 2 credits BLE 530- 2 credits
RDG 507- 2 credits BLE 526- 3 credits
RDG 504- 2 credits BLE 572- 2 credits
RDG 573- 2 credits
Total : 16 credits Total: 16 credits

This program is self-paced and allows for rolling enrollment options. In this way, students can enroll in a course as soon as the previous course is completed. There is no need to wait for the beginning of a semester to begin a course. Similarly, students have the ability to wait between courses if they are not prepared to move forward.

This depends on the state in which you live. In Washington State, after you complete the coursework you will need to take the following assessments: NES Essential Components of Elementary Reading Instruction (104), the English Language Learners (051), or the WEST-E Special Education (070) . For more information, please visit the Washington Educator Skills Test website at: If you live in another state, please contact us at 509-865-8650 for state-specific information.

ABSOLUTELY! The credits from the ELL/BLE and Reading endorsements are designed to contribute to our Master’s in Inclusive Education: Dyslexia, ELL, and Cultural Competence. If you complete both endorsements for 32 credits, the only additional requirement for the Master’s Degree is a three-credit research sequence.

Required: Students must hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. While not required, it is preferable that a student be working as a P-12 classroom teacher while pursuing the endorsement options.  Candidates have to complete the Heritage University Application and a College of Education Endorsement/M.Ed application. Students are not required to take any entrance exams.

Students need access to the internet and a webcam/headphones. This is especially important  to fulfill testing requirements in the competency-based model.

The cost for your exam and portfolio assessments is included in your tuition; however, should you need to repeat an assessment, additional fees ($125) will apply.  You will contact your advisor to schedule your exams when you are ready, at which time you will receive access information.  Please plan to have a webcam (i.e. webcam is one word) installed in/on your device to permit remote proctoring of exams. Detailed instructions will be provided prior to your scheduled exam.

The cost of an endorsement depends on how you pursue the endorsement program.

Heritage University graduate tuition rate for individual participants pursuing the class in a traditional face to face, synchronous online or asynchronous online is $811 per credit and the program of courses takes a year to complete..  Total cost for 16-17 credits = $12,976 – $13,787.

Districts or combined district partnerships with 15 or more participants can have the program offered on your campus or in your area at a discounted rate of $9,000 -$9,500 (total tuition only cost) verses regular HU cost of $12,976—$13,787 per participant.

The cost per credit for the competency-based program is $437.50. This reflects a discount of $373.50 per credit. Total discount for the endorsement is $5,976-$6,349.50. This includes testing fees for the first attempt. If a student fails the test and/or portfolio, a retesting fee of $125 will be assessed. Students will pay for each course as they progress through the program. In this way, the payment schedule is individualized to each student based on course enrollment.

Career Options

Bilingual Teacher of ELL Specialist
Reading Specialist
Teacher Training Specialist
General Education Teacher

State/Territory Licensure Information

Endorsement Offerings

English Language Learners

Bilingual Education


Special Education

Program Faculty & Staff

Faculty/Staff Headshot

Livia Castilleja

Certification Officer

Rick Cole

Rick Cole

Associate Professor

Shari Foster

Shari Foster

Graduate Programs Coordinator

Gloria Jones-Dance

Gloria Jones-Dance

Assistant Professor

Paul Landry

Paul Landry

Associate Professor

Claudette Lindquist headshot

Claudette Lindquist

Executive Director, HUELC

Yusuf Incetas

Koray Lynx

Associate Professor

Margarita Magana

Margarita Magana

Director, Outreach & Recruitment

Faculty/Staff Headshot

Kristen Maxwell

Adjunct Faculty


Joanie Monroy

Associate Professor

Faculty/Staff Headshot

Dr. Marisol Rodriguez-Price

Associate Professor

Faculty/Staff Headshot

Ed Rousculp

Adjunct Faculty

Kari Terjeson

Kari Terjeson

Chair, Department of Teacher Education


Raquel Vijarro

Office Assistant

Contact Us for More Information

At Heritage, we’re here for you.

When you’re ready to take the next step, give us a call. Our helpful staff is available to answer your questions and help you through the process.