Arizona Alternative Teacher Certification

All public schools and many private schools in Arizona require educators to be appropriately certified by the state board of education in order to lead a classroom. Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. There are a few options for earning Arizona alternative teacher certification for individuals who hold at least a bachelor’s degree but have not yet completed formal teacher preparation. Those who do not have a bachelor’s degree may wish to read our guide to traditional certification in Arizona. Continue reading to learn more about these alternative pathways to a classroom teaching career in Arizona.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

To pursue alternative teacher certification in Arizona, candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree if pursuing an endorsement in a traditional subject area. However, those who do not hold a bachelor’s degree and have significant experience may be eligible to teach career and technical education or may wish to pursue traditional pathways to licensure. Alternative preparation certificate programs in Arizona can be completed in as little as one year. Candidates may also earn a master’s degree in education, or in a teachable subject that includes an approved certification program, to qualify for an educator’s license.

Teaching Intern/Teacher in Residence Certificate Pathway

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree can receive a temporary license, known as a Teaching Intern Certificate or Alternative Teaching Certificate, while they fulfill the requirements for a regular certification. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, candidates must have either passing scores on the appropriate subject knowledge Arizona Educator Exams or hold a master’s degree in the subject area to be taught. While holding the Intern Certificate and working as a teacher, candidates must fulfill the regular requirements for a Provisional Teaching certificate, which include completion of a Department of Education approved teacher preparation program. Candidates must secure enrollment in a teacher preparation program prior to applying for this type of certificate; a verification letter will be required as part of the application packet. Educators with this certificate must take a college course or pass an acceptable exam in the Arizona Constitution as well as the US Constitution or the certificate may be suspended.

Career and Technical Education Certificates

Candidates who wish to teach career and technical education (CTE) subjects such as agriculture, business and marketing, or family and consumer sciences may be eligible for a Career and Technical Education Certificate. The requirements for this certificate vary based on the CTE instruction area, but for most areas candidates must have at least either a bachelor’s degree in the instruction area plus at least 240 clock hours of work experience. Candidates may also qualify with a high school diploma and at least 6,000 clock hours of verified work experience in the instruction area. This path leads to Provisional certification; candidates must then complete the requirements for Standard certification within three years. For further detail consult the Arizona Department of Education guide to CTE certification.

Testing Requirements for Arizona Alternative Certification

Arizona alternative teacher certification candidates must pass the same exams as traditional pathway candidates. The Arizona Department of Education provides a list of required exams by subject area and grade level.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

If you hold an active, standard teaching certificate in another state, you may apply for a Reciprocal Provisional Teaching Certificate in Arizona. Teachers who meet Arizona reciprocity requirements may be issued a Reciprocal Provisional Teaching certificate, which is valid for three years. After holding the provisional certificate and completing any testing or education deficiencies, teachers may apply for standard Arizona teacher certification.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Arizona

The school-based certification programs below lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree and have been approved by the Arizona State Board of Education (AZSBE) for the preparation of teachers. Since completing a program that has not been approved by AZSBE will not qualify graduates for licensure, be sure that the schools or programs you are considering are appropriately approved and accredited before enrolling.

  • Arizona Christian University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Arizona State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Central Arizona College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Mohave Community College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Northern Arizona University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Ottawa University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Pima Community College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Prescott College* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Rio Salado College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Scottsdale Community College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • University of Arizona* (Alternative, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Arizona Department of Education, Certification Unit: https://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/