Find an Education Path For Teaching in Arizona, AZ

Once you have decided to pursue a career in the teaching profession, the next steps depend on the level of education you have completed.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

The information below will offer guidelines to follow as you discover the necessary steps toward becoming a teacher in Arizona.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

The Arizona Department of Education is involved with the nationwide College and Career Transition Initiative that partners with high school groups, such as the Future Educators of America, to provide students with opportunities to explore careers in education. Participating in Arizona’s Future Teachers activities, while earning a high school diploma or a GED prepares students to enter a variety of institutions of higher learning that lead to a teaching career in Arizona. Admission into most Bachelor’s degree programs requires students to have a high school diploma.

  1. Find out about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees in education.
  2. Decide what content area and age-level you want to teach.
  3. The Arizona Department of Education suggests that you talk with high school and college advisors to determine what type of college would offer the best route toward an Education degree.
  4. Aspiring teachers can enroll at a two-year or community college and earn transferable credits, an Associate’s degree or certification in the field of Early Childhood Education.
  5. Explore the possibility of attending a four-year college where you can earn a Bachelor of Education degree in the subject area or grade level you hope to teach.
  6. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help with making a decision about which school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree …

Many community colleges in Arizona offer lower division classes and Associate’s degrees that provide beginning coursework in education. Some two-year colleges also partner with four-year colleges to offer transfer degrees that allow students to smoothly transition to a university. Attending a community college, taking general studies and education classes, and earning an Associate’s degree will help you make progress on the road toward becoming a teacher in Arizona.

  1. Investigate state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs and find out which ones accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact schools of interest to request more information.
  2. Arizona is committed to improving the preparation of future teachers and has developed an Associate of Arts in Elementary education (AAEE) degree that offers general education and teacher education coursework that is transferable to education programs leading to a Bachelor’s degree at many Arizona universities
  3. Aspiring teachers who have completed classes at an Arizona community college or another two-year college may have acquired necessary prerequisites to enroll in coursework for a Bachelor of Education degree program.
  4. Some community colleges offer certificates in programs, such as Early Child Care & Education, that focus on developing skills and knowledge that will prepare professionals for teaching childcare centers and preschools. The Early Care Specialist program leads to a Certificate of Completion and qualifies certificate holders to begin work as assistant teachers, lead teachers and early care management positions.
  5. Arizona’s Early Childhood Associates Degree for Certified Family Care Providers and the Child Development Associate degree are designed to prepare students for careers in early childhood education.
  6. Students who plan to enter the early childhood workforce directly after graduation from a community college can take the courses required to earn an Early Childhood Education Certificate, which qualifies them to work in preschools and childcare centers, caring for children under five years old.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

Teacher certification in Arizona requires a Bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution. Some Bachelor’s degree programs in teacher education incorporate the teacher certification requirements for the State of Arizona into a curriculum that offers the essential skills students need to become teachers. If you want to teach in Arizona and already have a Bachelor’s degree, the next steps toward being issued an Initial Teaching Certificate, depend on your undergraduate major.

  1. A Bachelor’s Degree in Education that included an accredited Teacher Preparation Program will fulfill academic and teacher preparation requirements. Student teaching is an important aspect of any Bachelor’s in Education program, and successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for Initial Teacher certification.
  2. All prospective teachers in Arizona are required to take and pass the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA). Most candidates for certification must take one or more subject-knowledge tests, depending on what subject and grade level they wish to teach. Arizona educator preparation programs may require students to take and pass the AEPA Basic Skills test, but passing this test is not a requirement for an Arizona teaching certificate.
  3. Majoring in Liberal Arts and receiving a Bachelor’s degree is a major step toward certification as an Elementary school teacher. Many certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary schools.
  4. If you received your Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree in the content area you want to teach, you may have already satisfied the academic requirements recommended by teaching certification programs. Majoring in a specific subject that is typically taught in secondary schools prepares individuals to teach classes in that content area.
  5. Arizona teaching candidates who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in a major other than Education, or who have not finished a Teacher Preparation requirement, must complete a Teacher Preparation Program from an accredited or Board of Education-approved institution. Some of these are Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation programs and some are combined with Master of Education programs. 

  6. Once all academic, experiential and assessment requirements have been completed, the next step is the application process that will lead to your certification as an Arizona educator.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or Are in a Master’s Degree Program

There are different types of master’s degrees offered in Graduate Education programs approved by the Arizona Board of Education. In some degree programs, the academic coursework is completed in conjunction with a Teacher Preparation Program. If your Master’s degree major is not Education, a post-baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Program must be completed before you can begin the application process. Having a Master’s degree gives you a few different options as to the direction you can take as you journey toward your goal of becoming a certified Arizona educator.

  1. The university you attend might offer Master of Education degrees (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education. These programs provide advanced courses in teaching methods and curriculum. Some universities offer Master of Arts degrees with a major in Teaching and Teacher Education. There is also an intensive one-year M.Ed. program with certification, which simultaneously gives the student a master’s degree and teacher certification.
  2. You may want to begin your teaching career right after graduation. If you have successfully completed all of the coursework, passed all required tests, and fulfilled the student teaching requirement, the next step is to apply for your Initial teaching certificate. Contact the Arizona Department of Education and request information and an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to pursue a doctorate degree. Educational Doctoral Programs available in Arizona include: Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and a Doctoral Specialization in Science Education. Consult with your Graduate school advisor about which Doctoral programs will be best for your career.