Learn About Teaching & Teacher Licensing in Arizona

How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

teaching-usa-arizona-teacherYou want a rewarding and fulfilling career enriching the minds of our future so you’ve decided to become a teacher.

Now you need to know how and what is required to get you started. There are many options to obtaining a teaching certificate and each state has their own individual guidelines.

This is what you need to know to become a teacher in the state of Arizona.

Provisional Certificates

The first step is to earn a provisional certificate which is effective for your first three years of teaching. There is an option to extend this certificate one time only for another three years, however it’s non-renewable.

Provisional certificate areas of interest available:

  • Early Childhood Education (Birth-Age 8 or Grade 3)
  • Elementary Education (Grades 1-8)
  • Secondary Education (Grades 6-12)
  • Pre-K-12 Physical Education
  • Special Education
  • Arts Education
  • Adult Education

Requirements for a provisional certificate include all of the following:

  • A bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college, transcripts are required
  • Completion of a teacher prep program, which includes subject area-specific practicum (see above options)
  • Passing scores on either the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) or National Evaluation Series (NES) in both professional knowledge and subject knowledge of your chosen area
  • Arizona fingerprint clearance card
  • Structured English Immersion (SEI) endorsement*

*Must provide transcript with three semester hours of a state-approved SEI course or certificate of completed training of 45 hours of state-approved SEI training.

One of two additional requirements that must be fulfilled within three years from your start date include:

  • Completing approved college courses or passing the required exam in Arizona Constitution and U.S. Constitution

However, if your subject area of choice is history, government, social studies, citizenship law or civics these requirements must be completed within the first year of teaching.

Standard Certificate

Once two years of teaching have been completed, you can start the process of acquiring a standard certificate. While your provisional certificate is still current, either the District Superintendent or Personnel Director needs to sign off on the conversion form to verify you’ve completed two years of full-time teaching. Also at this step, a full Structured English Immersion endorsement is required. This includes three more semester hours of state-approved training in SEI.

Renewing Your Arizona Teaching Certificate

The standard certificate must be renewed every six years. You’ll need to provide documentation or transcripts of 180 hours of professional development activities, or 12 semester hours of education courses completed. This ensures educators keep their knowledge and practices current by learning new teaching strategies and curriculum.

Most districts offer in-house professional development at staff meetings or during other optional times, so it is convenient to earn the required hours in the time frame allowed. Earning an advanced education degree can be advantageous for certificate renewal and your location on the pay scale.

What if I Have a Teaching Certificate from Another State?

If you want to transfer into teaching in Arizona from another state, you’ll need a reciprocal certificate. Requirements include:

  • Valid certificate in subject area from another state
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college
  • Arizona fingerprint clearance card
  • SEI endorsement
  • Completion of constitution courses
  • Passing scores on either the AEPA or NES in both professional and subject knowledge of your chosen area **

Emergency Substitute Certificates

Emergency substitute certificates are granted on a temporary one-year-only basis in the event of an open position or specific need for employment and the individual does not meet all the requirements for a provisional. Emergency certificates require:

  • Associate’s degree or high school diploma
  • Request form completed by the District Superintendent
  • Fingerprint clearance card
  • $60 fee paid to the Arizona Department of Education

If you wish to just become an intermittent substitute teacher, a bachelor’s degree and fingerprint clearance are needed.

These requirements were revised in June 2015 and are regularly updated. If you need more specific details or have any questions, contact the Arizona Department of Education. Arizona colleges and universities can also familiarize you with teacher education programs.

Source: Arizona Department of Education
*A certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards may take the place of the testing requirement.

**Several states have comparable exams to the Arizona exam. Visit the Arizona Department of Education website to see if your previous state is on the list.


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