How to Become a Teacher in Phoenix
Unlike most major cities in the US, Phoenix does not have a unified school system; as a result, 30 different school districts serving 325 public schools operate within Phoenix city limits.1 The largest is the Deer Valley Unified School District, which serves the northern region of Phoenix. Maps of elementary and high school districts are available on the City of Phoenix website. Teacher certification requirements in Arizona are specific to the age and subject you wish to teach, but all teachers must complete at least a bachelor’s degree and a teacher training program. There are also many private and charter schools throughout the city that often have different hiring requirements. Keep reading to find out more about teaching in this vibrant, southwestern city.
Phoenix Teacher Certification Requirements
To be eligible for public school teaching jobs in Phoenix, you will need to meet state teaching certification requirements. Arizona has a two-tiered system that requires you to complete a bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program in order to receive your initial three-year Provisional Certificate. After you gain the requisite experience, you will become eligible for a six-year Standard Certificate. There are also many requirements specific to the age group and subject(s) you wish to teach. See our Arizona certification page for more information.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can meet the initial certification requirements by completing one of the alternative teacher certification pathways, including a one-year teacher preparation program, a master’s degree in education, or an approved master’s degree in a teachable subject. See our Arizona alternative certification page to learn more about these options.
Teacher Certification Programs in Phoenix
The colleges and universities in the Phoenix metro area that are listed below offer teacher certification programs for first-time teachers as well as preparation programs that can lead to additional endorsements. See our Arizona schools page for further information on teaching programs in the state.
- Arizona Christian University
- Arizona State University
- Ottawa University
- Scottsdale Community College
Phoenix School District Steps for Becoming a Teacher
To become a teacher in Arizona, you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program or complete an alternative teacher certification program if you already have a bachelor’s degree. The Arizona Department of Education has a two-tier certification process with an initial three-year certification and a six-year standard certification. See the certification section for more specific information. Once you have your initial certification, you can apply for jobs. Since Phoenix contains so many different school districts, the steps below describe the application process for Deer Valley Unified School District as an example. Be sure to consult the appropriate school board to determine the necessary steps for each school district in Phoenix.
Step 1: Read individual job posting instructions online.
Jobs for both public and charter schools in the district are posted online through the Deer Valley Unified School District Careers website. Search for postings that match your skills and education and follow the instructions provided in the post to apply. Note that many positions in this district require you to call ahead before submitting an application. If you do not see any relevant postings, you can submit your resume to the Talent Community for future opportunities.
Step 2: Attend an interview.
If your application is accepted, you will likely be contacted by school officials to attend an interview. You may be asked to provide supplementary documents such as references, lesson plans, or a resume at this time.
Step 3: Complete the hiring process.
If you are offered the position, you will likely need to complete administrative and human resources tasks before starting work. The school will give you more information during the hiring process.
Deer Valley Unified School District
20402 N 15th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85027
How to Become a Substitute Teacher with the Phoenix School District
Substitute teacher hiring requirements will vary by district. Here we provide the steps to becoming a substitute teacher in the Deer Valley Unified School District as an example, but be sure to check the requirements individually with other school districts in Phoenix.
Deer Valley Unified School District substitute teaching jobs are coordinated through the school board and you will need to have either an Arizona teaching certificate or a substitute teacher certificate issued by the Arizona Department of Education to be eligible. For the substitute teacher certificate, you will need a bachelor’s degree and an Arizona Department of Public Safety Identity Verified Prints fingerprint card. Submit the application form with your official transcript, a copy of your fingerprint card, and the correct fee for the type of subjects you can teach to apply. Substitute teachers who do not hold a regular teaching certificate can only work up to 120 days during the school year.
Private and Charter School Teacher Requirements in Phoenix
The hiring requirements for private and charter schools in Phoenix vary because each school is able to set its own parameters. State-issued teaching certification might not be required but will often be an asset as it shows you have relevant qualifications and experience. Check individual job postings for the requirements and consider pursuing state certification before you start looking for a job in private and charter schools. There are many excellent private and charter schools in the Phoenix area that hire teachers.
The Largest K-12 Schools in Phoenix
To help you compare the largest public, private, and charter schools in Phoenix, we designed the table below that includes schools that may be hiring qualified teachers.
|School||Type||Grade Level||# Students||Student-Teacher |
|Mountain View Elementary School||Public||PK-8||1,389||15:1|
|Charles W. Harris School||Public||K-8||1,192||23:1|
|Marc T. Atkinson Middle School||Public||6-8||1,262||22:1|
|Estrella Middle School||Public||6-8||1,249||21:1|
|Sevilla West School||Public||4-8||1,148||22:1|
|Trevor Browne High School||Public||9-12||3,070||21:1|
|Desert Vista High School||Public||9-12||2,978||24:1|
|Maryvale High School||Public||9-12||2,856||19:1|
|Academy of Math & Science Desert Sky||Charter||K-8||931||16:1|
|BASIS Phoenix Central||Charter||K-5||898||—|
|Arizona School for the Arts||Charter||5-12||840||14:1|
|Northwest Christian School||Private||PK-12||1,467||18:1|
|Brophy College Preparatory School||Private||6-12||1,300||14:1|
|Xavier College Preparatory Roman Catholic High School||Private||9-12||1,206||14:1|
See Table Notes and References at bottom of page.
Phoenix Teacher Salary and Jobs Outlook
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2018, teachers in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale area earn less across all school settings compared to national averages; however, these salaries are comparable or slightly above statewide averages in Arizona.2,3,4 Phoenix-area secondary school teachers reportedly earn the highest average salaries at $50,880, while kindergarten, middle, and high school teachers all earn between $44,540 and $45,480 on average.2
Teaching jobs in Phoenix are expected to grow through 2026 across all school settings.5 The highest growth rates for Phoenix teachers are projected for middle school teaching jobs (7.4%) and kindergarten teaching jobs (8.4%).5 Elementary and secondary school teachers are expected to see comparable job growth, at 7% and 7.2% respectively.5 Preschool teachers are expected to see the strongest job growth, at 32.8% during the same time period.5
Phoenix Teacher Shortage Areas
The US Department of Education bases some student loan forgiveness programs on teacher shortage areas, meaning that your chances of qualifying for loan forgiveness may be stronger if you are teaching a subject that has been formally identified as a shortage area. You may also qualify for other funding opportunities or a more competitive salary based on your endorsement(s). Note that shortage areas may change from year to year, so you should be sure to check with state education agencies, your selected education program, and your student loan providers about funding options. For the 2020-2021 school year, the following subject areas were recognized as shortage areas in Arizona (statewide):6
- Bilingual Education (PreK-12)
- English as a Second Language (PreK-12)
- English Language Arts (6-8)
- Mathematics (6-8)
- Science-Chemistry (6-12)
- Science-General (6-12)
- Science-Earth and Space Science (6-12)
- Science-Physics (6-12)
- Social Studies-History (6-8)
- Special Education (PreK-12)
- Special Education-Early Childhood
- Special Education-Emotional Disabilities (PreK-12)
- Special Education-Generic (PreK-12)
- Special Education-Severely and Profoundly Handicapped (PreK-12)
Phoenix Teaching Jobs Boards
Many job postings for Phoenix teaching jobs can be found online. Take a look at these job boards as a starting point for your search. You can also check out our jobs board if you are ready to look for jobs in the Phoenix area.
- Arizona Education Association (AZEA): The largest professional association for teachers in Arizona, provides professional development and networking opportunities.
- Arizona Science Teachers Association (AZTA): Provides professional development for science teachers.
- City of Phoenix Education Department: Links and information for Phoenix-area K-12 schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How much do Phoenix teachers make?
Answer: The average salary for Phoenix-area teachers varies by grade level, but ranged from $44,540 to $50,880 in 2018.2
Question: What are the requirements to become a substitute teacher in Phoenix?
Answer: Substitute teacher requirements in Phoenix vary by school, though many require at least a bachelor’s degree and substitute teacher certification through the state of Arizona.
Question: How much are substitute teachers in Phoenix paid?
Answer: Pay for Phoenix-area substitute teachers varies by school. As an example, schools in the Deer Valley Unified School District–the largest school district in Phoenix–pay $90 per day for short-term assignments, and $130 per day for long-term assignments (beginning on the 21st consecutive day).7
Table Notes and References:
1. Niche, Largest Schools in Phoenix: https://www.niche.com/k12/search/largest-schools/t/phoenix-maricopa-az/
1. City of Phoenix, School Districts: https://www.phoenix.gov/education/schools
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_38060.htm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2018, Arizona: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_az.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
5. Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics, Employment Projections: https://www.azcommerce.com/oeo/labor-market/employment-projections/
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas, Arizona, 2020-2021: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Deer Valley Unified School District, Substitute Teacher Information: https://www.dvusd.org/Page/276