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Teaching Certifications in Arizona, AZ


There are several different types of educational certifications that can be obtained in Arizona, and this article will focus on the various teaching certifications. Teaching certifications include Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, Special Education, Arts Education PreK-12 (Art, Drama, Dramatic Arts, Music), Career and Technical Education.

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Basic Qualifications

Each certification has different requirements, however all certifications share some requirements as detailed below:

  • Bachelors Degree from a state accredited University
  • Completion of a state accepted teacher preparation  program
  • Successful Completion of Basic Skills Examination
  • Complete State and Federal Fingerprinting
  • Complete State and Federal Background Check

Early Childhood (Birth through Kindergarten)

Requirements for an Early Childhood Teacher Certification are as follows:
a. Completed Application for Certification

b. Appropriate fee (See Application for Certification)

c. One of the following:
A photocopy of your valid Arizona IVP fingerprint card (plastic) issued on or after January 1, 2008.
OR
A photocopy of your valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card (plastic) issued prior to January 1, 2008.

d. A Bachelor’s or more advanced degree from an accredited institution.  Official transcript(s) required

e. Follow either option I, II, or III:

I. Completion of a teacher preparation  program in early childhood education from an accredited institution or a Board-approved teacher preparation program.
OR
II. Thirty seven semester hours of early childhood education courses from an accredited institution to include all of the following areas of study and a minimum of 8 semester hours of practicum. Practicum must include a minimum of  4 semester hours in supervised field experience, practicum, internship or student teaching setting serving children birth through preschool  or one year of full-time verified teaching experience birth through preschool  and a minimum of  4 semester hours in a supervised student teaching setting serving children in kindergarten through grade 3 or one year of full-time verified teaching experience kindergarten through grade 3. 

1. Early childhood education courses shall include all of the following areas of study:
a. Foundations of early childhood education
b. Child guidance and classroom management
c. Characteristics and quality practices for typical and atypical behaviors of young children
d. Child growth and development, including, health, safety and nutrition
e. Child, family, cultural and community relationships
f. Developmentally appropriate instructional methodologies for teaching language, math, science, social studies and the arts
g. Early language and literacy development,
h. Assessing, monitoring and reporting progress of young children

2. One year of verified full-time teaching experience with children in birth through preschool may
substitute for 4 semester hours in supervised field experience, practicum, internship or student teaching
setting serving children birth through preschool.  Submit a letter on official letterhead from District
Superintendent or Program Director of a school-based education program or center-based program licensed by the Department of Health Services or regulated by tribal or military authorities to verify teaching experience.
3. One year of verified full-time teaching experience with children in kindergarten through grade 3 in an accredited school may substitute for 4 semester hours in a supervised student teaching setting serving children in kindergarten through grade 3. Submit a letter on official letterhead from District Superintendent or Personnel Director to verify teaching experience.

OR

III.  A valid early childhood education certificate from another state

f. Professional Knowledge Early Childhood Exam

One of the following:
1. A passing score on the Professional Knowledge Early Childhood (#93) portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA).  
2. A passing score on a comparable Professional Knowledge Early Childhood examination from another state or agency. Submit the original score report at time of application.
3. A valid comparable certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  Submit a notarized copy of the certificate.
4. Three (3) years of full-time teaching early childhood education, birth through grade 3.  Submit a letter on official letterhead from the District Superintendent or Personnel Director to verify teaching experience

g. Subject Knowledge Early Childhood Education Exam 
One of the following:
1. A passing score on the Subject Knowledge Early Childhood Education (#36) portion of the AEPA.
2. A passing score on a comparable Subject Knowledge Early Childhood examination from another state or agency. Submit the original score report at time of application.
3. A valid comparable certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  Submit a notarized copy of the certificate.
4. Master's degree from an accredited institution in Early Childhood Education

h. Verification of state approved Structured English Immersion (SEI) training or comparable state approved SEI training from another state to qualify for the Provisional SEI endorsement. Option A if certified before August 31, 2006. Option B if certified on or after August 31, 2006:
A. Verification of one semester hour or fifteen clock hours of state approved SEI training.
B. Verification of three semester hours or forty-five clock hours of state approved SEI training.
NOTE: The Provisional SEI endorsement is valid for three years.  An additional three semester hours of state approved SEI training will be required to qualify for the Full SEI endorsement. Individuals who hold an Arizona Full Bilingual or Full ESL endorsement are exempt from the SEI endorsement requirement. The requirement for a Provisional SEI endorsement may be waived for a period not to exceed one year for individuals who graduate from administrator or teacher preparation programs that are not approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and meet all other applicable certification requirements

i. Arizona Constitution (a college course or the appropriate examination)

j. U.S. Constitution (a college course or the appropriate examination).
NOTE:  If you otherwise qualify for the certificate but are deficient in Arizona and/or U.S. Constitution you have 3 years under a valid teaching certificate to fulfill the requirement, except that if you are teaching an academic course on History, Government, Social Studies, Citizenship, Law, or Civics, you have 1 year to fulfill the requirement/s.

Elementary (grades K-8)

Requirements for an Elementary Teacher Certification are as follows:
a. Completed Application for Certification

b. Appropriate fee (See Application for Certification)

c. One of the following:
A. A photocopy of your valid Arizona IVP fingerprint card (plastic) issued on or after January 1, 2008.
- OR -
B. A photocopy of your valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card (plastic) issued prior to January 1, 2008.

d. A Bachelor’s or more advanced degree from an accredited institution.  Official transcript(s) required

e. Option I, II, or III:

I. Completion of a teacher preparation program in elementary education from an accredited institution or a Board approved teacher preparation program
OR
II. Forty-five semester hours of education courses from an accredited institution including at least 8 semester hours of practicum in grades K-8.  Two years of verified full-time teaching experience in grades Prekindergarten - 8 may be substituted for the 8 semester hours of practicum. Submit a letter on official letterhead from the District Superintendent or Personnel Director to verify teaching experience. Courses which teach the knowledge and skills described in the professional teaching standards such as learning theory, classroom management, methods and assessment are acceptable.
OR
III. A valid elementary education certificate from another state

f. Professional Knowledge Elementary Exam

One of the following:

1. A passing score on the Professional Knowledge Elementary (91) portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA).
2. A passing score on a comparable Professional Knowledge Elementary examination from another state or agency. Submit the original score report at time of application. 
3. A valid comparable certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  Submit a notarized copy of the certificate.
4. Three years of full-time teaching elementary education, K-8.  Submit a letter on official letterhead from the District Superintendent or Personnel Director to verify teaching experience

g. Subject Knowledge Elementary Education Exam  
One of the following:

 
1. A passing score on the Subject Knowledge Elementary Education (01)  portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA).  
2. A passing score on a comparable Subject Knowledge Elementary Education examination from another state or agency. Submit the original score report at time of application.
3. A valid comparable certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Submit a notarized copy of the certificate

h. Verification of state approved Structured English Immersion (SEI) training or comparable state approved SEI training from another state to qualify for the Provisional SEI endorsement. Option A if certified before August 31, 2006. Option B if certified on or after August 31, 2006:

1. Verification of one (1) semester hour or fifteen (15) clock hours of state approved SEI training.
2. Verification of three (3) semester hours or forty-five (45) clock hours of state approved SEI training.

NOTE: The Provisional SEI endorsement is valid for three years. An additional three semester hours of state approved SEI training will be required to qualify for the Full SEI endorsement. Individuals who hold an Arizona Full Bilingual or Full  ESL endorsement are exempt  from the SEI endorsement
requirement. The requirement for a Provisional SEI endorsement may be waived for a period not to exceed one year for individuals who graduate from administrator or teacher preparation programs that are not approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and meet all other applicable certification requirements

i. Arizona Constitution (a college course or the appropriate examination)

j. U.S. Constitution (a college course or the appropriate examination)

Secondary (grades 7-12)

Requirements for a Secondary Teacher Certification are as follows:
a. Completed Application for Certification

b. Appropriate Fee (See Application for Certification)

c. One of the following:
A photocopy of your valid Arizona IVP fingerprint card (plastic) issued on or after January 1, 2008.
OR
A photocopy of your valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card (plastic) issued prior to January 1, 2008.

d. A Bachelor’s or more advanced degree from an accredited institution.  Official transcript(s) must be submitted.

e. Option I, II, or III:
I. Completion of a teacher preparation  program in secondary education from an accredited institution or from a
Board-approved teacher preparation program.
- OR -
II. Thirty semester hours of education courses including at least 8 semester hours of practicum in grades 7-12. Two years of verified full-time teaching experience in grades 7 through Post-secondary may substitute for the 8 semester hours of practicum. Submit a letter on official letterhead from District Superintendent or Personnel Director to verify teaching experience. Courses which teach the knowledge and skills described in the professional teaching standards such as learning theory, classroom management, methods and assessment are acceptable.
OR
III. A valid secondary education certificate from another state.

f. Professional Knowledge Secondary Exam.  
One of the following:
1 A passing score on the Professional Knowledge Secondary (92) portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA). 
2 A passing score on a comparable Professional Knowledge Secondary examination from another state or agency.  Submit the original score report at time of application. 
3. A valid comparable certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.  Submit a notarized copy of the certificate.
4. Three years of full-time teaching secondary education, 7-12.  Submit a letter on official letterhead from the District Superintendent or Personnel Director to verify teaching experience.

g. Subject Knowledge Secondary Education Exam.  
One of the following:
A. A passing score on the Subject Knowledge Secondary Education portion of the AEPA.  Subject Knowledge assessments offered for the following: Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Economics, English, French, Geography, German, Health, History, Mathematics, Music, Physics, Political Science/American Government, Social Studies and Spanish. If a proficiency assessment is not offered in a subject area, an approved area shall consist of 24 semester hours of subject-related courses from an accredited institution.
NOTE:  An approved area in general science is comprised of 12 semester hours of life science courses and 12 semester hours of physical science courses.

Special Educational

There are several different focuses of special education, including-

  • Cross-Categorical
  • Early Childhood
  • Hearing Impaired
  • Severely and Profound Disabled
  • Specialized
    • Emotional Disability
    • Learning Disability
    • Mental Retardation
    • Orthopedic Impairment/OHI
  • Visually Impaired

These certifications have the same basic requirements as the other certifications, however separate qualifications are required for each individual type of special education, contact a local school administrator or visit the Arizona Board of Education's website for details.

Career and Technical Education


There are a few different career and technical certifications that can be obtained including-

  • Agriculture
  • Business and Marketing
  • Education and Training
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Health Careers
  • Industrial and Emerging Technologies

While each specific certification has slightly different educational and experience requirements, the following is required:
a. Completed Application for Certification

b. Appropriate Fee (See Application for Certification)

c. One of the following:
A. A photocopy of your valid Arizona IVP fingerprint card (plastic) issued on or after January 1, 2008.
- OR -
B. A photocopy of your valid Arizona fingerprint clearance card (plastic) issued prior to January 1, 2008.
NOTE:  Effective January 1, 2008, per Arizona State Statute A.R.S. § 15-106, an applicant who applies for a teaching
certificate shall submit an Identity Verified Prints (IVP) Fingerprint card.  "Non-IVP" Arizona fingerprint clearance
cards issued on or after January 1, 2008 will NOT be accepted. 

d. Option I, II, III, IV, V:
I. Bachelor’s degree in field of desired certification:
1. A Bachelor’s or more advanced degree in field of desired certification from an accredited institution.
2. Thirty semester hours of courses in field of desired certification; and
3. Two hundred forty clock hours of verified work experience in field of desired certification.
II. Valid non-CTE Arizona teaching certificate or an Arizona CTE teaching certificate in another content area:
1. A valid Arizona Provisional or Standard teaching certificate.
2. Three semester hours of courses in career and technical education methods or content in field of desired certification; and
3. One year of the most recent teacher evaluation(s) approved by a certificated administrator, or the
administrator’s designee, in a PreK-12 school setting and issued during the term of the Arizona
teaching certificate exhibiting satisfactory performance in the classroom; and
4. Two hundred forty clock hours of verified work experience in field of desired certification's occupational area.
III. Business and industry professional:
1. Six thousand clock hours of verified work experience in field of desired certification occupational area*.
IV. Valid teaching certificate in career and technical education from another state:
1. A valid teaching certificate in career and field of desired certification's education from another state.
V. Bachelor’s degree in field of desired certification's education teacher preparation program:
1. A Bachelor’s or more advanced degree in field of desired certification education teacher preparation program from an accredited institution; and 
2. Two hundred forty clock hours of verified work experience in field of desired certification occupational area.

e. Verification of state approved Structured English Immersion  (SEI) training or comparable state approved SEI training from another state to qualify for the Provisional SEI endorsement. Option A if certified before August 31, 2006.  Option B if certified on or after August 31, 2006:
A. Verification of one semester hour or fifteen clock hours of state approved SEI training.
B. Verification of three semester hours or forty-five clock hours of state approved SEI training.

f. Arizona Constitution (a college course or the appropriate examination).

g. U.S. Constitution (a college course or the appropriate examination).

Note: Contact local school district for specific requirements for each technical certification. It is important to contact each school district you wish to apply in to make sure and meet all requirements.