Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource

To become a certified teacher in Arizona, candidates must meet the requirements set forth by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Certification Unit. The main steps for traditional teacher certification include:

  1. Complete a bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component.
  2. Complete a student teaching placement.
  3. Pass the required teacher certification exams.
  4. Apply for a teaching certificate or license.

Continue reading to learn more about the traditional certification pathway in Arizona, including information about renewing your certificate, adding subjects or grades, and license reciprocity.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a Teacher in Arizona
Teacher Certification Renewal
Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate
Teaching License Reciprocity
Related Licenses
Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
Arizona School District Requirements
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

The following process is for teachers looking to become licensed via the traditional route. If you are a bachelor’s degree holder who has yet to complete a teacher preparation program, check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in Arizona.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program.

To qualify for a Standard Professional PreK-12 Teaching Certificate, the first step is to complete a bachelor’s degree. The major of your bachelor’s degree should be in the grade level and subject you wish to teach. The degree program should also include an educator preparation program (EPP) from an Institution of Higher Education (IHE) approved by the Arizona State Board of Education (the Board).

You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs on our Arizona schools page. You can also read about two important accreditations to consider, institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, on our teaching schools guide.

2. Complete a student teaching placement.

All Board-approved EPPs include a capstone experience, a 12-week student teaching experience or internship, and some may offer more opportunities for student teaching. The field-based experience should relate to your desired certificate area and be performed under the direction of a supervising educator and a program supervisor.

3. Pass the required Arizona teacher exams.

Arizona requires prospective teachers to take the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) to be certified. The tests you take will depend on your requested subject area, but most areas require a Professional Knowledge Exam and a Subject Knowledge Exam. You can see which exams are required for your certificate by reviewing the ADE Certification Requirements page.

4. Apply for Arizona teacher certification.

Once the above steps are completed, you can apply for the Standard Teaching Certificate online through the Arizona Department of Education Educator Certification System (AzEDCert) or by mailing a paper application. Your application should include:

  • Arizona Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint clearance card
  • Official transcripts
  • AEPA exam scores
  • Application fee
Guide to Other Teaching Pathways

Arizona Teacher Certification Renewal

Arizona Standard Teaching Certificates are good for 12 years and are renewable with proof of 180 professional development hours. Renewals can be completed online through AzEDCert or a paper application. For more information about renewals, visit the ADE educator certification renewal page.

Adding Subjects or Grades to a Teaching Certificate

Arizona teachers may wish to add an endorsement or subject area to their certificate. Requirements vary by endorsement or subject area, but teachers must prove subject knowledge through a combination of required coursework, teaching experience, and a passing score on the associated AEPA. Some areas, such as the Full Moderate/Severe Disabilities PreK-12 Endorsement and the Reading Endorsement, 6-12, additionally require a supervised practicum.

For more information, visit the ADE Endorsement Requirements page or the ADE Approved Area Requirements page.

Arizona Teaching License Reciprocity

Out-of-state teachers can apply for an Arizona Standard Teaching Certificate under reciprocity rules if they have a valid, comparable teaching certificate in good standing. They might also qualify to add approved areas or endorsements if they have a valid, comparable endorsement in another state. To apply via reciprocity, teachers can use AzEDCert or a paper application. They must submit:

  • Valid IVP fingerprint card
  • Out-of-state certificate/license
  • Official transcripts
  • Application fee

For more information, review the ADE Reciprocity page. You can learn more about transferring a teaching certificate or license between states on our guide to certification reciprocity.

In addition to teaching certificates, the ADE also issues credentials in administrative, supervisory, and professional areas. The requirements for these certificates vary widely.

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE), K-12 Certificate: Allow holders to teach a CTE program in one area of expertise such as agriculture, computer science, or business. You can qualify for a CTE Certificate with a combination of a bachelor’s degree and experience or with experience only.
  • School Psychologist, PreK-12 Certificate: Allows holders to assess and provide consultation and intervention to students in a school environment. To qualify, you must have a master’s degree with specialized training in school psychology and 1,200 hours of supervised internship with at least 600 hours in a school setting.
  • Supervisor, PreK-12 Certificate: For personnel whose primary responsibility is administering instructional programs or supervising personnel. You must have a master’s degree, three years of teaching experience, and have completed a program in educational administration with an administrative practicum or experience. You must also pass the AEPA Supervisor, Principal, or Superintendent exam.

For more information, you can visit the ADE Certification Requirements page.

Arizona Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in AZ through 20302*

According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Arizona has a student-to-teacher ratio of 23:1.3 During the 2017-2018 school year, there were over 2,300 public K-12 schools in the state, with a student population of 1.1 million and over 47,000 teachers.3 You can visit the Arizona Education Association (AEA) for information about policy updates and local employment opportunities.

Job prospects for Arizona teachers through 2030 are expected to exceed national averages overall. Arizona preschool teachers are expected to see the most growth, at a rate of 39.7% (compared to 18.4% nationally).2 Kindergarten teacher growth is also expected to exceed national averages at 16%, compared to 13.9% nationally.2 Growth for high school teachers is expected to be 16.2% in Arizona versus 13.7% nationally.2

The table below provides a detailed comparison of job growth prospects and salary levels for Arizona teachers.

TypeNumber Employed in AZ4Average Annual Openings in AZ2Average Annual Salary in AZ4National Average Salary5AZ Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302National Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302
Preschool Teachers8,1901,28039.7%$33,970$28,550$36,260
Preschool Teachers, Special Education3004022%$53,440$47,490$59,780
Kindergarten Teachers2,83038016%$51,930$45,890$58,830
Elementary School Teachers25,1902,02015.3%$51,180$45,280$59,160
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Special Education2,72031016.5%$55,680$48,160$64,200
Middle School Teachers8,6201,01015.4%$52,110$46,280$57,770
Middle School Teachers, Special Education78014015.4%$54,890$46,890$62,040
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education1014.3%
Secondary School Teachers19,8301,30016.2%$59,490$47,930$65,290
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,01017015.3%$57,280$47,670$65,030
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education7508014.7%$59,600$49,800$65,680

*The estimated job growth average is based on projections for mainstream kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Projections for other categories, such as special education and career and technical education, may be higher or lower than the average.

Teacher Shortages in Arizona

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2023-2024, Arizona designated the following shortages:

Arizona had 2,890 vacancies during the 2022-2023 school year.7 A further 5,036 teachers were considered underqualified for their positions, including teachers assigned to classrooms outside their certification field on a temporary or emergency basis.7

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 page, 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.

Additional Resources

Arizona Teacher Interviews

Related Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

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 or higher from a regionally accredited university or college. You must also pass a background check and apply for the state’s Substitute Certificate. The Substitute Certificate is good for six years and allows a candidate to substitute in K-12 classrooms for a maximum total of 120 days in a school year. With a high school diploma or associate degree, you can become an Emergency Substitute Teacher (EST) with a particular school or school district.

Question: How many private schools and private school teachers are in Arizona?

Answer: During the 2019-2020 school year, there were 402 private schools in Arizona, with 59,171 students and 5,631 teachers.8 Private schools in the state are not required to be accredited or licensed, and private school teachers are not required to be certified. Each school sets its own teacher requirements, so check with individual schools for more details.

1. Arizona Department of Education: Educator Certification: https://www.azed.gov/educator-certification
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2017-2018: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arizona: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_az.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Teacher Shortages in the United States, Tuan D. Nguyen et al.: https://teachershortages.com/
8. National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey, 2019-20: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/TABLE15fl1920.asp