How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

The certification process for teachers in Arizona can differ based on an individual’s prior education. In order to pursue teaching certification and obtain a certificate, certain qualifications must be satisfied. Outlined below are the recommended steps you can follow.

Step 1: Get Educated. Gain Experience.

Officially, teaching at the secondary level (grades 6-12) requires a bachelor’s degree or completion of an accredited teacher preparation program.

Simply put, there are two main avenues to fulfilling the education component of the certification process.

Many students do take the traditional route by completing a bachelor’s degree in education directly after high school, but others seek to enter the profession later in life.

If you earned your bachelor’s degree in another discipline, UA’s Teach Arizona master’s degree is alternative route to becoming a teacher, allowing you to meet the education requirements in a flexible, partially-online format.

The state of Arizona requires 30 semester hours of education courses, in addition to 8 semester hours minimum of practicum. In addition to coursework, Teach Arizona also provides one full year of student-teaching experience at a public school, which will fulfill this practicum component.

Step 2: Receive Clearance.

Since you’re a current or aspiring childcare provider, the state must verify your credibility and criminal record. Before you can begin your fall internship in the Teach Arizona master’s degree, you must have an Arizona Department of Public Safety IVP fingerprint clearance card, which you can find here.

Step 3: Take Exams.

It is recommended that you take the NES/AEPA Content Knowledge Exam as soon as possible upon acceptance into an alternative teaching certification program. At the end of the fall semester, you’ll register to take the NES Professional Knowledge Exam. Your summer and fall coursework in the Teach Arizona program does an excellent job at helping you prepare for your exam.

Step 4: Complete SEI Endorsement.

In order to teach in the state of Arizona, you will need to submit a Structured English immersion (SEI) endorsement. You have one of three options:

  • Submit an official transcript documenting a three (3) semester hours State Board approved SEI course or comparable SEI training from another state. Teach Arizona includes an approved SEI course to adhere to this requirement.
  • Submit a certificate of training documenting completion of forty-five (45) clock hours of State Board approved SEI training or comparable SEI training from another state.
  • Prove your exemption from this requirement with documentation of Full English as a Second Language (ESL) or Full Bilingual Education endorsement.

Step 5: Submit Your Application.

Once you’ve received your Institutional Recommendation from the University at the end of the program, you can submit your application for teaching certification to the Arizona Department of Education with the relevant application fee. For more information, visit the Arizona Department of Education website.


Preparing for a career change or applying for a teaching certificate can be confusing, and you may have some questions about what your decision can do for your career. The following answers should give you an idea of the advantages of obtaining a teaching certificate in the state of Arizona.

Is there a difference in salary when teaching without a master’s degree?

A teaching salary depends on many factors, including your work location, the grade level and subject(s) you are teaching, and the amount of experience you have. UA Teach Arizona students spend a full year gaining experience in one classroom. Some students transition directly from student teaching into positions within that school. Others have found rewarding jobs in districts throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area.

Earning a graduate degree can also lead to better long-term career prospects. A master’s degree is often required for administrative roles or teaching at the community college level.

What are the benefits of getting certified?

Teaching certification opens doors to more expanded career paths in education. Although some private schools may accept instructors without a certificate, earning your official credential will allow you to pursue public school positions. As a certified instructor, you’ll also be able to specialize your knowledge based on the subject you’ll be teaching without losing the flexibility of moving up or down a grade at the secondary school level. You’ll also learn the latest pedagogical methods, incorporating technology, effective lesson planning, and classroom management skills that you can take to the job on day one.

UA is here to help you on your journey to becoming a better teacher. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions about the certification process for teachers in Arizona. We will guide you every step of the way so that you can lead your students along their own path to a quality education.


Request Information

To learn more about our Teach Arizona Online Master of Education Program and download a free brochure, fill out the fields below. You can also call (888) 658-1845 to speak to one of our Admissions Counselors.

* All fields are required. Your privacy is protected.

The University of Arizona respects your right to privacy. By submitting this form, you consent to receive emails and calls from a representative of the University of Arizona, which may include the use of automated technology. Consent is needed to contact you, but is not a requirement to register or enroll.