Arizona Teacher Certification
The Arizona Department of Education is responsible for Arizona teacher certification. Arizona offers teaching certificates in elementary education, secondary education, special education, and career and technical education. Arizona also offers administrative, professional non-teaching, substitute, and other certificates. This article will focus on the certification requirements to become an elementary or secondary teacher in the State of Arizona.
Arizona offers the following levels of teaching certificates:
- Provisional Teaching Certificate. Elementary (K-8) and secondary (7-12) Provisional Teaching Certificates are offered. They are valid for two years and are not renewable. They may be extended once for a period of two years.
- Standard Teaching Certificate. The Standard Teaching Certificate is the highest level teaching certificate offered by the Arizona Department of Education. They are offered at the elementary and secondary levels. They are valid for 6 years and are renewable.
Arizona certificates can also have endorsements to teaching certificates that indicate areas of specialization. Endorsements are available in the following areas: art, bilingual education, computer science, cooperative education, dance, dramatic arts, drivers education, elementary foreign language, English as a second language (ESL), gifted, library media specialist, mathematics specialist, middle grade, music, physical education, and reading specialist.
The Process for South Carolina Teacher Certification
The process to obtain a Provisional Teaching Certificate is relatively straightforward. To obtain a Provisional Certificate, an individual must:
- Satisfy the educational requirements of at least a bachelor's degree and one of the following:
- Completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program in elementary education from an Arizona college or university.
- Completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program in secondary education from an accredited out-of-state college or university.
- 45 semester hours of education-related coursework from an accredited institution with at least 8 hours of K-8 practicum or two years of verified full time K-8 teaching experience for prospective elementary school teachers.
- 30 semester hours of education-related coursework from an accredited institution with at least 8 hours of 7-12 practicum or two years of verified full time 7-12 teaching experience for prospective secondary school teachers.
- A valid elementary or secondary certificate from another state.
- Pass the elementary professional knowledge portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (A.E.P.A.) for prospective elementary school teachers, or the secondary education subject knowledge portion of the A.E.P.A. for prospective secondary school teachers. For secondary school teachers, subject knowledge assessments are available in the following subjects: art, biology, business, chemistry, economics, English, French, geography, German, health, history, mathematics, music, physics, political science/American government, social studies, and Spanish.
- Pass the elementary education subject knowledge portion of the A.E.P.A. for prospective elementary school teachers.
- Obtain a valid Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
To obtain a Professional Teaching certificate an individual must:
- Qualify and hold a Provisional Elementary or Provisional Secondary Certificate for two years.
- Have a valid Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
- Have two years of verified full time teaching experience during the valid period of the the Provisional Teaching Certificate. When it has been developed, there will be a requirement to pass the performance portion of the A.E.P.A.
- Elementary school teachers also need to have completed 45 clock hours or 3 semester hours of instruction in research-based systemic phonics.
Any individual who has met all of the criteria for the certificate, but has limited or deficient knowledge of the Arizona or U.S. Constitution will be issued a certificate and have three years to fulfill the requirement unless the individual is teaching history, government, social studies, citizenship, law or civics.
Arizona also has an Alternative Secondary Professional Preparation Program. Enrollment in this program is limited and requires a bachelor's degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, a passing score on the subject knowledge portion of the A.E.P.A., successful completion of an initial summer training program, a "letter of intent" to hire from a school district, demonstration of writing competence, and a valid fingerprint clearance from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Individuals enrolled in this program shall assume classroom responsibilities under a mentor teacher, and participate in a two-year training program outside of the regular classroom. Participants in this program will be issued a 2-year, non-renewable, Teaching Intern Certificate.
Certification for Teachers Certified in Other States
Any individual who holds a valid elementary, secondary, or special education certificate from another state may be issued a one-year, non-renewable, Arizona Reciprocal Provisional Teaching Certificate. During the year of validity of that certificate, the individual will need to pass the appropriate A.E.P.A. tests. Anyone with three years of teaching experience during the valid period of the out-of-state teaching certificate does not have to pass the A.E.P.A. Professional Knowledge Assessment. The A.E.P.A. Subject Knowledge Assessment may be waived if the individual has a Master's degree in that subject. Any individual who is National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certified may also have the two tests waived. Verification to waive the exams must be submitted at the time of application. All individuals will need a valid Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card from the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Arizona also has fingerprint reciprocity with: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Arizona Certificate Renewal
Professional Teaching Certificates may be renewed by:
- Having a valid Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
- Verifying completion of the required professional development activities of 180 clock hours, or 12 semester hours of education coursework, or a combination of the two that meets the 180 clock hours requirement. Each semester hour of coursework is the equivalent of 15 clock hours of professional development. Valid professional development activities include: district, or school-sponsored training designed for professional development; professional education conferences or workshops (to a maximum of 30 clock hours per year); a business internship (to a maximum of 80 clock hours), educational research, serving in a leadership role in a professional organization (to a maximum of 30 clock hours per year); serving on a visitation team for a school accreditation agency (to a maximum of 60 clock hours per year); or completion of the process for certification by the NBPTS.
- Submitting the appropriate application and fee.