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There are multiple pathways to becoming a teacher in Arizona, depending on the grade level or subject that you're looking to teach. Various specific combinations of educational experience are required for each grade level specialty, with the main differences resting mainly on the specific types of college coursework required.

Teachers seeking certification to practice in Arizona at any grade level are required to complete the appropriate application for certification, pay the associated fee and submit a valid copy of their plastic Arizona Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint card. Aspiring teachers must also pass a professional knowledge exam called the NES Assessment, complete a state-approved Structured English Immersion (SEI) training course and earn passing scores on any applicable subject knowledge portions of the Arizona Educator Exam.

Successful applicants receive a provisional certificate in their chosen grade level. Provisional teachers can apply for a standard certificate after meeting certain work experience requirements.

What is Your Area of Interest?

Outside of the standard grade-level specialties, teachers in Arizona can choose to specialize in arts, adult, JROTC, Native American Language and other areas of practical concentration. Educators who take on one of these fields also choose the grade level in which they want to become certified to teach, so application requirements for these occupational areas of interest tend to be less rigorous than those necessary for general elementary, secondary or early childhood teaching certification.

Education Requirements

A few education requirements are common among the various exams. For instance, all prospective teachers must earn a high school diploma, and a college education that has ended in a bachelor's degree or higher is required before any application for Arizona teaching certification can be considered.

Requested amounts of college coursework differ from grade level to grade level. For example, early childhood teacher certification requires 37 semester hours of courses in early childhood education, while elementary teachers must take 45 hours of courses specific to their grade level and high school teachers need 30 hours of courses in secondary education. Completion of an approved teacher preparation program or a valid teaching certification from another state may stand in for these requirements.

All grade levels also call for courses or exams on the Arizona and U.S. Constitutions, and eight semester hours of teaching practicum are required unless the candidate has at least two years of relevant experience in a professional teaching environment.

Alternate Route

The Arizona Alternative Pathways to Teacher Certification Program can help non-traditional candidates who are looking to become educators. A bachelor's degree is still required, as well as SEI training, subject knowledge proficiency, enrollment in an approved teacher preparation program and a valid Arizona IVP fingerprint card. If a candidate meets these requirements, a one-year Teaching Intern Certificate can be awarded and the certificate holder can seek a teaching contract. Visit the Arizona Department of Education for more information on these or other teaching certification requirements.

Candidates looking to eventually work as a college professor or lecturer should talk to an administrator about graduate school. A master's degree or Ph.D. is usually required for teaching positions in higher education.

Sources:

"Certification Requirements," Arizona Department of Education, Educator Certification, http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/certificate-requirement/

"Alternative Pathways to Teacher Certification," Arizona Department of Education, Educator Excellence Section, September 1, 2012, http://www.azed.gov/highly-qualified-professionals/files/2011/09/altpathdesc.pdf

"Teaching Certificates," Arizona Department of Education, Educator Certification, http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/certificate-requirement/teaching-certificate/

Teaching Schools in Arizona

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Want to be a Teacher or Educational Administrator? Learn why GCU could be the best place to start! Here's why:
  • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate education programs, including TESOL, early childhood ed, elementary ed, secondary ed & more.
  • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both. We also offer evening classes!
  • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
  • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
  • Financial Options: Numerous financing options available, including scholarships for academic achievement.
Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
  • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
  • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
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3 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor?s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
  • Online Courses
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1 Program(s) Found
  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Ranked as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked 27th among the Best Colleges for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.A private university that features small class sizes.
  • Conducts undergraduate science research in state-of-the-art laboratories.
  • Has degree programs in global entrepreneurship and international business, sports administration, and intercultural human rights.
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