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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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  • 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.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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Give your career a boost with an education from Southern New Hampshire University. We offer certificates, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in over 100 programs in a wide variety of subjects.
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•        Ranked among the top 20 Regional Universities in the West in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

•        Listed as one of America’s Best Colleges by Forbes Magazine in 2014.

•        More than 97% of tenure-track faculty holds a terminal degree in their field.

•        Student to faculty ratio of 15:1, and 47.5% of classes have fewer than 20 students.

•        Accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best Regional Universities in the West by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available for students who qualify.
  • Offers more than 70 majors and programs, as well as several off-campus internships.
  • 94% of students in the 2014-2015 academic year qualified for financial aid.
  • Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
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