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Essential Work: Requirements vs Rewards

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This information comes from primarily from the WA Dept of Health and the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), RCWs and WACs. Nurses and teachers are highly regulated by the state of Washington. Police and property owners are not. All roles except property owner must be a US citizen or otherwise legally able to work in the US. Information about police is from the 20-21 Police Guild bargaining agreement with Olympia.


Police officer:  GED plus valid WDL, passing scores on Public Safety and psychological and physical ability exam. Polygraph and criminal background check, legal ability to possess a firearm.

Registered nurse: Recommendation from completed approved nursing program per WA Administrative Code Passing score on National Council Licensure Examination for critical thinking skills and readiness to begin practice as an entry-level nurse.

Teacher:  Proof of clean background check, proof of BA degree (transcripts) and completion of approved teacher prep school. Passing scores on content exams. Completed application for certification in WA.

Property owner:  Start-up money or access to credit


Police officer: Annual salary paid to a beginning recruit pending certification from current Olympia Police Guild Agreement with the City of Olympia.

Registered nurse:  Figure derived by annualizing hourly wage scales posted online for staff nurses at local hospitals. This may be a high estimate.

Teacher: Base salary for a first-year teacher from current Olympia School District bargaining agreement.

Property owner: Estimated AGI for an individual whose livelihood is from renting out 30 houses in the Olympia area.


Police officer:  Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission Awards certification after hiring, upon completion of 770 hours of training at the WA Basic Law Enforcement Academy. Certification continues indefinitely unless there is a 24-month break in service.

Registered Nurse:  Initial license awarded by the WA Dept. of Health Nursing Commission upon completion of approved course work and passage of NCLEX. Required to renew annually on DOB. Within a 3-year cycle,must document 45 clock hours of Continuing Education and 531 hours of active practice to show continued possession of skills and judgment necessary to practice safely and ethically (WAC 246-840-220).

Teacher: SPI Office of Professional awards initial certification to applicants who submit proof of a BA degree, recommendation from a completed WA-approved teacher prep program, completion of basic sills and content area test and fingerprints leading to a clean background check. To maintain certification, each teacher must complete 100 clock hours or equivalent college credits every 5 years and other courses required under WAC181-79A-030.

Property owner: None


Police officer:  None specified

Registered Nurse:  None specified

Teacher: RCW28A.405.100 adopted in 2010 requires that certificated teachers be evaluated for professional performance capabilities at least once every 6 years. The TPEP- Teacher & Principal Evaluation Program is intended to promote teacher accountability and improvement. An employee whose work is unsatisfactory is notified of deficiencies and provided with a program for improvement. The program can result in probation.

Property Owner:  None

The definition of “median income” is that half the households make more, and half make less than that amount. (The above information comes from charts at Thurston Regional Planning Council)




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