How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

There are more than 60,000 certified teachers in Arizona, and many students aspire to become an Arizona certified teacher and join their ranks. These teachers instruct more than 1 million students per year in a diverse set of topics as well as make sure their students can pass comprehensive examinations. Becoming a teacher in Arizona typically requires at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with some positions requiring additional education. Certified teachers can teach in most of the more than 2,200 schools in the state, though special certification may be required for those who wish to work with certain demographics, such as English language learners.

Education Requirements

Most forms of Arizona teacher certification require at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Some students choose to complete these at online teaching schools in Arizona, though it is more common for students to study at traditional institutions because they provide increased access to teaching practicum programs, which allow students to teach in classroom settings and gain experience before acquiring their degrees, as well as other student teaching resources. A prospective teacher’s bachelor’s degree does not need to be in education, as many schools may lack undergraduate education programs, though students with other degrees will be required to complete teacher education preparation that is not included in their majors in order to gain teaching certification.

Arizona Teaching Certification

Arizona teaching certificates include a provisional and a standard early childhood education certificate (birth through grade 3), an elementary education certificate (grades 1-8), or a secondary education certificate (grades 7-12).

Required Tests

Candidates for teacher certification must pass a test of subject knowledge and a test of professional knowledge administered by Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA). Complete details about these tests is available on the Arizona Department of Education website. Beginning March 1, 2013, National Evaluation Series (NES) tests will replace some of the AEPA subject knowledge tests for Arizona teacher certification. Both NES and AEPA tests will be administered by computer beginning in spring 2013.

State Certification Reciprocity

An out of state candidate may be issued a reciprocal provisional teaching certificate if he or she holds a valid comparable early childhood education, elementary education, or secondary education certificate from another state. Many NES tests are now accepted by the Arizona Department of Education to fulfill the testing requirements for many Arizona teacher certificates.

Helpful Resources