The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (2023)

    Arizona Alternative Teacher Certification
    Teaching Schools in AZ
    Teaching Reciprocity Guide

To become a certified teacher in Arizona, candidates must meet set requirements based on the grade level and subject(s) to be taught. The Arizona Department of Education Certification Unit oversees the teacher certification process within the state, which is outlined on this page for those who want to learn how to become a teacher in Arizona.

How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

To obtain Arizona teacher certification, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and typically must complete a teacher preparation program. Additionally, the Arizona Department of Education requires specific coursework based on the desired teaching area of focus. Arizona uses a two-tier system in which educators first apply for the Initial 3-Year Provisional Certificate appropriate to the area of teaching focus and then advance to a 6-Year Standard Certificate after earning teaching experience.

Requirements for educator certification in Arizona are highly specific based on grade level. There are also alternative routes for becoming a teacher in Arizona.

The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (1)

The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (2)

Early Childhood Education, Birth to Grade 3

To qualify for initial licensure in Early Childhood Education, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree plus either an approved teacher preparation program focusing on early childhood education or have completed a bachelor’s degree with 37 semester hours of early childhood education courses plus at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

Elementary Education, Grades K through 8

To be eligible for initial licensure in Elementary education, candidates must have completed a bachelor’s degree plus either a teacher preparation program focused on elementary education or 45 semester hours of education courses plus at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

Secondary Education, Grades 6 through 12

The requirements for initial licensure in Secondary Education are completion of a bachelor’s degree plus either a teacher preparation program in secondary education or 30 semester hours of education courses in addition to at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

For all endorsement areas, after two years of successful teaching under a provisional license or earning National Board Certification, candidates may apply for the renewable Standard certificate in their licensure area. You can read more about these requirements, as well as review requirements for specialty areas such as physical education and STEM subjects, through the Arizona Department of Education.

Quick Guide

  • I want to be a teacher in Arizona, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
  • I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Arizona’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
  • I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
  • I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
  • I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Arizona

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in AZ through 20262

To become a certified teacher in Arizona, it’s imperative to complete a teacher preparation program at a school that is either approved by the Arizona Board of Education or holds regional accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the US. These six agencies are recognized by the US Department of Education. You can find a list of approved educator preparation programs in Arizona through the Arizona Department of Education. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Arizona schools page.

Additionally, programs may be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP was formed through the merger of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). CAEP accreditation is considered a distinguishing marker of excellence in teacher training.

Arizona Teacher Education Requirements

Those pursuing traditional Arizona teacher certification must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and complete an approved teacher preparation program. Both the bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program completed must be at a regionally accredited institution. If a school attended is located in Arizona, it is highly recommended that that school be on the Arizona Board of Education’s approved programs list. Candidates who attend schools that do not meet these accreditation standards will be required to complete additional education at appropriately approved schools to make up any deficits.

Arizona Teacher Testing Requirements

The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (3)To ensure that all certified teachers have the necessary knowledge to teach in Arizona, all applicants for teacher certification must pass a test of subject knowledge as well as a test of professional knowledge. These exams are written to be specific to the grade level(s) and subject endorsement(s) the candidate is seeking. You can find a list of required exams for each grade level and subject area through the Arizona Department of Education.

The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (4)

Additional Arizona Teacher Certification Requirements

All aspiring teachers applying for an Arizona educator certificate must complete a criminal history records check. This background check must be completed through the Arizona Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AZAFIS). Note that fingerprint cards for educators must completed through the Identity Verified Print (IVP) clearance card.

Arizona Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once you have completed all the requirements for Arizona teachers licensing as stipulated by the Arizona Department of Education, you must apply for a license. Candidates must submit:

  • An Arizona Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint card
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school
  • Passing score on the appropriate Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Arizona
  • Payment of non-refundable application fee

Completed applications should be mailed to:

Arizona Department of Education
Certification Unit
PO Box 6490
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490

Visit the Arizona Department of Education for further details on Arizona teacher certification.

Arizona Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

There are about 2,309 public schools in Arizona, with an estimated 1,123,137 K-12 students enrolled in public schools during the 2016-2017 school year.3 With about 48,220 public school teachers, Arizona has a student-teacher ratio of 23:1.3

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast 1,740 average annual openings for elementary teachers, 820 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 1,400 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Arizona through 2026.3 The average salary for elementary school teachers in Arizona is $44,430, for middle school teachers $43,560, and for secondary school teachers $48,610.4 Another source of relevant information is the Arizona Education Association which provides information on issues regarding education and teaching in the state of Arizona.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers6,820$31,010
Preschool Teachers, Special Education310$42,830
Kindergarten Teachers3,040$44,430
Elementary School Teachers22,510$44,430
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School2,850$44,590
Middle School Teachers11,330$43,560
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,560$44,490
Secondary School Teachers17,200$48,610
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,390$50,190
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education820$51,430

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Arizona

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Arizona broadly has the following shortages5:

  • English as a Second Language (Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language), Pre-K-12
  • Language Arts (English), 6-8
  • Mathematics (Basic and Advanced Mathematics), 6-8
  • Science (Biological Sciences, Physical Science, Physics), 6-12
  • Social Studies (History), 6-8
  • Special Education (Cognitive Disabilities, Early Childhood, Emotional Disabilities, Hearing Impairment, Intense Intervention, Severely and Profoundly Handicapped), Pre-K-3
  • Special Education (Cross Categorical), Pre-K-12

Arizona School District Requirements

If you would like to learn more about the specific requirements for becoming a teacher in Arizona cities, navigate to the city page below. On this pages, you will find a step-by-step description of how to become a teacher in Phoenix’s public school district, information on substitute teaching in the city, and private and charter school information.

  • Phoenix

Arizona Teacher Interview

  • Former President, Arizona State Music Teachers Association, Chyleen Lauritzen

The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (5)

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do you become a substitute teacher in Arizona?

Answer: To become a substitute teacher in Arizona, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university or college. You must also pass a background check and then apply for the state’s substitute certificate. The substitute certificate allows a candidate to substitute in K-12 classrooms for a maximum total of 120 days in a school year.

Question: How much do Arizona teachers make?

Answer: According to the BLS, elementary school teachers in Arizona earn an average of $44,430 per year, middle school teachers earn an average of $43,560 per year, and high school teachers earn an average of $48,610 per year.4

Question: What types of teachers are needed in Arizona?

Answer: For the 2021-22 school year, Arizona reports teacher shortages in the following areas: special education, English as a second language (ESL), math, science, special education, language arts, and social studies.5

The Arizona Teaching and Certification Resource (6)

1. Arizona Department of Education, Certification Unit:
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections:
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017:
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arizona:
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas:


How long does it take to complete Abcte? ›

The average American Board student takes 7-10 months to earn their certification. However, we have had students complete the program in 2 months.

Can I teach in AZ without certification? ›

Doug Ducey signed into law SB 1159 to address this pressing need for more educators. The bill received a lot of attention, with news outlets (both local and national) reporting that SB 1159 made it so teachers no longer need a bachelor's degree to teach in Arizona.

How long does it take to get an Arizona teaching certificate? ›

It can take anywhere from six months to six years to become a teacher in Arizona. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, typically taking four years to complete. You must also be enrolled or have completed a teacher preparation program and pass the AEPA/NES exams.

How much does an Arizona teaching certificate cost? ›

Certification fees payable to the state:

Arizona Education Agency Technology Fee | $35. Background Check | $52.20. Intern Certificate | $78. Standard Certificate | $78.

Is the ABCTE exam difficult? ›

For the elementary subject exams, nearly all of our study volunteers passed the Praxis based on the cut score for the most stringent state, but only about 60 percent of them passed the ABCTE exam, which suggests that the ABCTE exam is more difficult to pass.

How many questions are on the ABCTE PTK exam? ›

The PTK exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and one written response prompt for both test delivery methods. You have 150 minutes to answer the multiple-choice questions and 60 minutes to answer the written prompt.

Why is there a teacher shortage in Arizona? ›

We know why teachers are leaving the system: low pay, lack of mentorship, additional duties without compensation, expensive health care, student behaviorial issues with little support for dealing with them. These are reasons the task force identified, as described by The Arizona Republic's Madeleine Parrish.

What is the new teacher law in Arizona? ›

When Governor Ducey signed SB 1159 last summer, it launched headlines relaying the message that educators no longer need a degree to begin teaching in Arizona public schools.

What states accept Arizona teaching certificate? ›

Arizona Teacher Reciprocity Agreements
AlabamaLouisianaNew Mexico
ArkansasMaineNew York
CaliforniaMarylandNorth Carolina
ColoradoMassachusettsNorth Dakota
7 more rows

How much do substitute teachers make in Arizona per day? ›

Salaries by years of experience in Arizona
Years of experiencePer day
Less than 1 year$164
1 to 2 years$149
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years-
1 more row
6 days ago

Do teachers need a degree to teach in Arizona? ›

To become certified as a teacher in Arizona, you will need to earn a bachelor's degree, complete or be enrolled in a teacher preparation program, and pass the required standardized tests.

What is Arizona ranked in education? ›

As for Arizona, it ranked pretty poorly across the board, ranking 48th out of 51. Notably, it found that the state had one of the highest pupil-to-teacher ratios, meaning that classroom sizes were among the highest in the country.

What is the fastest way to get teacher certification in Arizona? ›

The quickest way to apply or renew is online. Please mail any certification correspondence to the following address: Arizona Department of Education - Certification Unit P.O. Box 6490 Phoenix, AZ 85005.

Is Arizona a good state to teach in? ›

Arizona. Topping our list of the worst states for teachers is Arizona. The state ranks last in student-to-teacher ratios, has low teacher salaries that average $50,334 per year and a relatively high cost of living, compared to other states.

What is the rate of teachers in Arizona? ›

Salaries by years of experience in Arizona
Years of experiencePer hour
1 to 2 years$28.97
3 to 5 years-
6 to 9 years$33.77
More than 10 years$38.79
1 more row

What is the hardest credential exam? ›

  • UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) in India. ...
  • Mensa. ...
  • GRE (Graduate Record Examination) ...
  • CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) ...
  • CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) ...
  • GATE Exam (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) ...
  • USMLE Exam (United States Medical Licensing Examination) ...
  • 10. California Bar Exam.
Dec 20, 2022

How do I study for board certification? ›

How to Study for Boards: 10 Tips and Strategies to Prepare for Your Board Exam
  1. Discover your learning style. ...
  2. Plan to continually and consistently put in the time. ...
  3. Start a study group. ...
  4. Avoid burnout. ...
  5. Exercise during your breaks. ...
  6. Take advantage of digital resources to study for boards. ...
  7. Find a better study environment.

What is the passing score for the ABCTE World History exam? ›

The ABCTE exams are based on this blueprint, so consider this a syllabus for what you want to study. Passing Score Proficient: 265 Distinguished: 324 (The number of questions answered correctly is converted to a scaled score ranging from 0 to 500.)

How many questions do you need to answer correctly to pass ABIM? ›

In order to get an ABIM passing score, you need to score at least a 366, which is 64% of questions correct on the ABIM exam. The 2022 ABIM certification pass rate was 87% and the maintenance of certification exam pass rate was 94%.

What is a passing score on ABIM board? ›

How is the ABIM Certification Exam scored? What's the passing score and topic breakdown of the ABIM certification exam? Scoring is based on a standardized scale of 200 to 800, and anything at or over 366 is a passing score. The failure rate on the ABIM certification exam hovers around 1 in 10.

What is a passing ABIM score? ›

To pass the exam, your standardized score must equal or exceed the standardized passing score of 366.

How many teachers have quit Arizona? ›

As of January 2023, 1,873 teachers have severed their employment since the start of the school year. “Since the beginning of our school year, we have about 150 teachers who have left employment, left that's probably around four or 5% of our positions that again, we have to scramble to try to fill,” said Fernandez.

Why does Arizona rank so low in Education? ›

The Arizona Department of Education has identified one issue which may contribute to these low rankings. Apparently, Arizona has an average student-to-counselor ratio of 716:1, when the recommended standard is 250:1. This ratio is coincidentally the worst in the nation.

What state needs teachers the most? ›

Florida has the highest number of teacher vacancies while Utah has the lowest. Learn where your state falls and how officials are working to combat the teacher shortage.

What disqualifies you from being a teacher in Arizona? ›

Misdemeanor or felony convictions for crimes of moral turpitude. Misdemeanor or felony convictions for crimes involving minor victims, including sexual offenses or abuse. Felony drug convictions. Misdemeanor or felony convictions for misappropriation of school property or funds.

What is the minimum salary for a teacher in Arizona? ›

How much does an Entry Level Teacher make in Arizona? The average Entry Level Teacher salary in Arizona is $41,861 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $34,958 and $51,052.

Is Arizona the lowest paying state for teachers? ›

Arizona ranks lowest in teacher salary when adjusted for cost of living and quality of life. The state with the lowest average teacher salary in the US is Mississippi, at around $48,000 a year. However, $48,000 in Mississippi may look very different from $48,000 in New York.

Can I teach in Texas with an Arizona teaching certificate? ›

Individuals who hold a standard certificate to teach in another state or territory, seeking certification in Texas, must first apply for a review of credentials. A standard certificate is defined in TAC §230.111(c). Texas does not have reciprocity with any state.

Can I teach in California with an Arizona certification? ›

Note that you must hold a professional-level credential* from another state or U.S. territory to qualify for California teaching or services certification based on out-of-state preparation. For information on additional types of California certification please visit the Commission's Credential Requirements page.

Can I teach in Arizona with a California teaching credential? ›

The Arizona Department of Education Certification Unit will reciprocate with all states and may issue a comparable teaching, administrative, or professional non-teaching certificate to an applicant who holds a valid, comparable certificate in another state and is in good standing in that other state.

What state pays the most for substitute teachers? ›

The highest-paid state for substitute teachers is Alaska with an average salary of $39,750 per year. What city pays substitute teachers the most? San Francisco, CA pays substitute teachers the most with an average salary of $39,574 per year.

What is considered a living wage in Arizona? ›

Living Wage Calculation for Arizona
0 Children2 Children
Living Wage$17.78$24.00
Poverty Wage$6.53$6.67
Minimum Wage$13.85$13.85

Do I need a degree to be a substitute teacher in Arizona? ›

A Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Official transcript(s) required. A valid Arizona Department of Public Safety Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint card (plastic).

What is the warm body law in Arizona? ›

Let's call it the Warm Body Law. … One that allows folks without any teaching credentials to lead our kids in classrooms across Arizona, as long as those men and women have at least five years of experience in “relevant fields.”

What is an alternative teaching certificate in Arizona? ›

Overview: The Alternative Teaching certificate is valid for two years and may be extended yearly for no more than two consecutive years. The certificate entitles the holder to enter into a teaching contract while completing the requirements for an Arizona Standard Professional teaching certificate.

What do you need to be an elementary teacher in Arizona? ›

To be eligible for initial licensure in Elementary education, candidates must have completed a bachelor's degree plus either a teacher preparation program focused on elementary education or 45 semester hours of education courses plus at least 8 semester hours of practicum.

What is the #1 state for education? ›

Florida ranks number one for higher education for the 7th year in a row. Florida boasts the lowest higher education in-state tuition and fees among all states.

What is the #1 educated state? ›

According to the data, Massachusetts ranks no. 1 on both education attainment and quality of education. The five states with the highest percentage of college degree holders were also the top ten most educated states.

What is the lowest ranked state in education? ›

(WBOY) – A recent study has declared that West Virginia is the least educated state in the nation in 2023. WalletHub compared all 50 states across 18 metrics that examined the key factors of a well-educated population, such as educational attainment, school quality and achievement gaps between genders and races.

How long is AZ teaching certificate? ›

Once you have a Standard Teaching Certificate, it is valid for six years. You must fulfill certain requirements to renew this certificate. These include completing 180 clock hours of professional development or 12 semester hours of education courses verified by transcript and by your school district.

How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Arizona? ›

It can take anywhere from six months to six years to become a teacher in Arizona. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, typically taking four years to complete. You must also be enrolled or have completed a teacher preparation program and pass the AEPA/NES exams.

Does Arizona pay teachers well? ›

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Arizona has bumped up teacher pay, but it's still less than the national average, according to a new report released on Monday. The National Education Association said it crunched the numbers and found the average pay for Arizona teachers in 2021-22 is $56,775, which is ranked 32nd in the nation.

Where do teachers make the most money? ›

1. New York. New York is among the best-paying states for teachers. Reasons include an average annual salary of $92,222 that, although below the state's average income of $107,000, is still more than the salaries paid in other states.

Where is the best place for teachers to live? ›

New York held the No. 1 position partly due to its high rankings in teacher salaries and public-school spending per student — achieving No. 1 in each category. Utah, which carried the second highest ranking in the opportunity category, held the second spot overall behind New York.

What is the highest paid school district in Arizona? ›

1. Phoenix Union High School District. Location: Phoenix. Average teacher salary: $62,782.

What state has the lowest teacher salary? ›

Where teachers are paid the least. On the other side of the pay scale, teachers, on average, earn as little as $47,156 a year in Hawaii, the lowest-paying state. It may be especially difficult to make ends meet on wages that don't keep up with the state's notoriously high cost of living.

What is the average salary for an elementary school teacher in Arizona? ›

The average salary for a elementary school teacher in Arizona is $42,000 per year. Elementary school teacher salaries in Arizona can vary between $18,000 to $58,500 and depend on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

Is American Board Teacher certification legit? ›

The American Board is an approved route for teaching certification in 11 states across the U.S. Many private schools across the country and international schools abroad also accept our certification. Click on a state below to learn more about the requirements to certify in that state.

What is the difference between ABCTE standard and premium? ›

The Standard program provides students with the information they need to learn and pass the subject area exam and the Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) exam. The Premium program provides students with everything included with the Standard program, along with additional study materials and practice tests.

How long does it take to complete Texas Teachers Modules? ›

Time to complete this education training ranges from 7.5 days to 1 year depending on the qualification, with a median time to complete of 3 months. The cost to attend Texas Teachers of Tomorrow ranges from $2,500 to $6,000 depending on the qualification, with a median cost of $4,000.

How many times can you take the American Board exam? ›


Students can retake exams up to three times each. Your first PTK exam and subject area exam costs are covered by the costs of the program. If you need to retake a test, you will be required to pay testing fee of $195 per additional exam.

Does Teach For America pay well? ›

Salaries for new teachers range between $45,000 - $61,000 and Corps members are responsible for meeting all certification requirements in order to legally teach. Approximated Projected Income: Monthly Pre-Tax Salary: ~$3,750 - $5,080.

Is it hard to get accepted for Teach For America? ›

The TFA program is selective and holds a high bar for admission, with an acceptance rate averaging between 11 and 15 percent. This is not meant to be intimidating but to show that preparation is key.

What is the difference between certified and board certified? ›

Ultimately, board certification is a symbol that a doctor has undergone additional training in their area of specialty, proven a high level of expertise in that specialty, and are therefore better qualified to practice in that specialty compared to a non-certified doctor.

What is the best school board in the world? ›

Denmark. Denmark is certainly a top mention when it comes to discovering the best education system in the world, with a whopping 99 percent literacy rate.

What is the difference between teacher made test and standardized test B Ed notes? ›

Teacher made tests can be in the form of oral tests and written tests. A standardized test is one in which the procedure, apparatus and scoring have been fixed so that precisely the same test can be given at the different times and places. Lets learn more about Teachers Made Test vs Standardized Tests here.

Is standard based grading good? ›

Research has shown that Standards-Based Grading can have a positive impact on student performance. Studies have indicated that using this approach can lead to improved achievement, increased engagement in learning, and a better classroom climate.

Is the process of becoming a teacher hard? ›

It is not too hard to become a teacher.

In general, it takes at least a bachelor's degree plus a teaching license to become a teacher. For many, a bachelor's degree in education, teaching, or a similar area will be the standard degree, at least with respect to teaching at primary and secondary levels.

What happens if you fail reading Academy? ›

7. What happens if a participant does not complete or pass on the first attempt? If a participant does not complete or pass the Texas reading Academies on the first attempt, they must enroll again in the next available cohort.

How long does it take for a teacher to become an expert? ›

One theory suggests a five-step process for the development of expertise in any area (Trotter, 1986). These stages are: 1) Novice, 2) Advanced Beginner, 3) Competence, 4) Proficient, and 5) Expert. It generally takes 10 to 15 years to move from novice to expert.

What is the hardest board exam in the USA? ›

What are the hardest test exams in America to pass? The USMLE, the Graduate Record Examination, the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert, Mensa, the California Bar Exam, the MCAT, the Chartered Financial Analyst Exams, the SAT, and IELTS are the toughest tests in America.

What happens if you fail your boards 3 times? ›

After failing three times, though, they'll need to complete a board-approved remediation program before the next retake. test-takers have six attempts to pass in total.

What happens if a doctor fails their boards? ›

A board certification exam is a national exam, given to doctors in a specialty to test their knowledge and experience. If a doctor fails their board exam, they can retake it at a later date.


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