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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

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Arizona

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4 Program(s) Found
University of Phoenix , Online (campus option available)
  • Provides career services that help students find careers that match their interests and map out a personalized career plan.
  • Offers mentorships and networking opportunities through an Alumni Association of 800,000+ graduates.
  • Has flexible start dates and class schedules.
  • Offers special military rates and special advisors who have a military background.
  • Gives students the chance to earn credits for applicable military training and education.
  • Has 100+ locations and online options.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
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  • A private, accredited distance learning college based in Norcross, Georgia founded in 1987.
  • Ensures that service members, their spouses and veterans can maximize their military education benefits.
  • Gives students the option to customize monthly payments to fit their budgets and lifestyle.
  • Offers all-inclusive tuition: textbooks, learning materials, and academic support are covered in the cost.
  • Allows alumni to enroll in any future program at a reduced rate.
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  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs and Education Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Financial aid is available for students who quality, with more than $1,000,000 through 10 scholarships.
  • Offers 24/7 student services, including financial aid help, course registration, and career counseling.
  • Students may opt in for a two week, risk-free trial period.
  • Active-duty military, veterans, and Veteran’s Administration employees can save 15% on tuition.
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  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
  • Founded in 1949 as a private, accredited, nondenominational Christian university located in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and 33.9% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Encourages students to find their purpose in Christ, with an emphasis on applying Christian values and ethics to the workplace.
  • Provides Student Success Webinars where tutors provide tips and tricks to help make college a little easier.
  • Offers programs in business, psychology, theology, engineering, communications, and more.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 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.
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