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The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource

To become a certified teacher in Arizona, candidates must meet set requirements based on the grade level and subject(s) to be taught. The Arizona Department of Education Certification Unit oversees the teacher certification process within the state, which is outlined on this page for those who want to learn how to become a teacher in Arizona.

How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

To obtain Arizona teacher certification, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Additionally, the state’s department of education requires specific coursework based on the desired teaching area of focus. Arizona uses a two-tier system in which educators first apply for the Initial 3-Year Provisional Certificate appropriate to the area of teaching focus and then advance to a 6-Year Standard Certificate. In addition, requirements for educator certification in Arizona are highly specific based on grade level. There are also alternative routes for becoming a teacher in Arizona. For information about becoming a teacher in Phoenix, read more on our How to Become a Teacher in Phoenix page.

Early Childhood Education, Birth to Grade 3

To qualify for initial licensure in Early Childhood Education, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree plus either an approved teacher preparation program focusing on early childhood education or have completed a bachelor’s degree with 37 semester hours of early childhood education courses plus at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

Elementary Education, Grades 1 through 8

To be eligible for initial licensure in Elementary education, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree plus either a teacher preparation program focused on elementary education or 45 semester hours of education courses plus at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

Secondary Education, Grades 6 through 12

The requirements for initial licensure in Secondary Education are completion of a bachelor’s degree plus either a teacher preparation program in secondary education or 30 semester hours of education courses in addition to at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

After two years of successful teaching under a provisional license or earning National Board Certification, candidates may apply for the renewable Standard certificate in their licensure area. You can read more about these requirements, as well as review requirements for specialty areas such as physical education and STEM subjects, through the Arizona Department of Education.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Arizona

Projected Job Growth

18%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in AZ through 202215

To become a certified teacher in Arizona, it’s imperative to complete a teacher preparation program at a school that is either approved by the Arizona Board of Education or holds regional accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US. These six agencies are overseen by the US Department of Education. You can find a list of approved educator preparation programs through the Arizona Department of Education.

Additionally, programs may be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP was formed through the merger of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation is considered a distinguished marker of excellence in teacher training.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Arizona.

Arizona Teacher Outlook
The Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics has forecasted an average of 510 annual openings due to growth and 494 annual openings due to replacements for elementary teachers, 205 annual openings due to growth and 204 annual openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 207 annual openings due to growth and 380 annual openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers.3 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 47,600 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Arizona, excluding special education.3 The average salary for elementary school teachers in Arizona is $43,050, for middle school teachers $44,270, and for secondary school teachers $47,270.3 Another source of relevant information is the Arizona Education Association which provides information on issues regarding education and teaching in the state of Arizona.

Arizona Teacher Education Requirements

Those pursuing traditional Arizona teacher certification must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and complete an approved teacher preparation program. Both the bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program completed must be at a regionally accredited institution. If a school attended is located in Arizona, it is highly recommended that that school be on the Arizona Board of Education’s approved programs list. Candidates who attend schools that do not meet these accreditation standards will be required to complete additional education at appropriately approved schools to make up any deficits.

Arizona Teacher Testing Requirements

arizona-state-sealTo ensure that all certified teachers have the necessary knowledge to teach in Arizona, all applicants must pass a test of subject knowledge as well as a test of professional knowledge. These exams are written to be specific to the grade level(s) and subject endorsement(s) the candidate is seeking. You can find a list of required exams for each grade level and subject area through the Arizona Department of Education.

Additional Arizona Teacher Certification Requirements

All aspiring teachers applying for an Arizona educator certificate must complete a criminal history records check. This background check must be completed through the Arizona Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AZAFIS). Note that fingerprint cards for educators must completed through the Identity Verified Print (IVP) clearance card.

Arizona Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once you have completed all the requirements for Arizona teachers licensing as stipulated by the Arizona Department of Education, you must apply for a license. Candidates must submit:

  • An Arizona Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint card
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school
  • Passing score on the appropriate Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Arizona
  • Payment of non-refundable application fee

Completed applications should be mailed to:

Arizona Department of Education
Certification Unit
PO Box 6490
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490

Visit the Arizona Department of Education for further details on Arizona teacher certification.

Arizona Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 8,570 $25,640
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 270 $47,340
Kindergarten Teachers 3,140 $42,200
Elementary School Teachers 24,070 $43,050
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 3,050 $46,310
Middle School Teachers 5,680 $51,100
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 1,280 $43,930
Secondary School Teachers 13,800 $47,270
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 2,320 $47,760
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 1,080 $48,460

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

Arizona School District Requirements

If you would like to learn more about the specific requirements for becoming a teacher in Arizona cities, navigate to the city page below. On this pages, you will find a step-by-step description of how to become a teacher in Phoenix’s public school district, information on substitute teaching in the city, and private and charter school information.

Arizona Teacher Interview

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Arizona

Question: How do you become a substitute teacher in Arizona?

Answer: To become a substitute teacher in Arizona, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university or college. You must also pass a background check and then apply for the state’s substitute certificate. The substitute certificate allows a candidate to substitute in K-12 classrooms for a maximum total of 120 days in a school year.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Arizona Department of Education, Certification Unit: http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/
2. Arizona Department of Administration, Office of Employment and Population Statistics: https://laborstats.az.gov/
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arizona: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_az.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm