Alternative Teacher Certification in Arizona

Prospective teachers in Arizona who have not followed the traditional path to certification may apply for an alternative teaching certificate. Read on for information on how to obtain an Alternative Teaching Certificate in Arizona. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Alternative Teaching Certificates

Individuals who wish to become certified teachers in Arizona through a non-traditional route can obtain an Alternative Teaching Certificate. This route allows prospective teachers to begin teaching while they make the necessary steps to obtain an Arizona Standard Professional Teaching Certificate. In order to obtain the alternate certification, individuals must be enrolled in a teacher preparation program that is authorized and/or approved by the Arizona State Board of Education.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree; enrollment in a state-approved teacher preparation program
Exam Requirements AEPA subject knowledge exam
Certification Renewal Period Valid for two years; may be extended annually for a max of two consecutive years
Mean Salary (2018) $31,010 (preschool teachers); $44,670 (kindergarten teachers); $44,430 (elementary teachers); $43,560 (middle school teachers); $48,610 (secondary school teachers)*
Estimated Job Growth, nationwide (2016-2026) 7% (elementary school teachers); 8% (kindergarten, middle and high school teachers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Education and Training Requirements

In order to obtain an Alternative Teaching Certificate in Arizona, applicants must possess at minimum a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.

Another requirement for obtaining certification is to enroll in and complete an alternative teacher preparation program. The Arizona State Board of Education must approve these programs, which allow individuals to teach in a classroom while completing around 30-40 credits of coursework on instructional methodology, educational psychology and classroom management.

Some applicants may also need to complete training in structured English immersion, teaching English as a second language, or phonics instruction.

Exam Requirements

Any applicants who want their alternative certificate to reflect the teaching area in which they would like to earn a Standard Professional Teaching Certificate must meet the subject knowledge exam requirements. Applicants with an undergraduate or graduate degree in their teaching area are exempt from this requirement provided they can supply copies of their transcripts.

Application Requirements

To obtain the alternative certificate, prospective teachers must submit a completed application for certification and the associated fees. They must also send a photocopy of a valid Arizona Department of Public Safety Identity Verified Prints fingerprint clearance card. Official transcripts from an undergraduate degree program and a letter verifying enrollment in a teacher preparation program are also required.

Constitution Requirements

The Arizona Department of Education has two additional requirements that must be met within one year or three years in order to keep the certificate valid. Applicants must complete a college course or examination on the Arizona and the United States constitutions.

Most applicants have three years to meet these last two requirements. However, those certified to teach history, law and civics have one year to complete these courses.

Certification Extension Requirements

The Alternative Teaching Certificate can be extended on an annual basis for a maximum of two consecutive years. The certificate may be extended by completing an Application to Extend an Alternative Teaching/Teaching Intern Certificate. A copy of the applicant's fingerprint clearance card must also be submitted, along with a letter verifying enrollment in the educator preparation program and an official transcript or exam score report of the Arizona and US Constitution courses.

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