Certification for Special Education Teachers in Arizona

Read for an overview of the five certifications available for special education teachers in Arizona. Get the facts on required education, examinations, and salary expectations. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Info

Special education certifications in the state of Arizona are divided by disability type, covering teaching at all grade levels (from kindergarten through 12th grade). There is also a separate certificate for early childhood special education. Read the table below for a summary of all the relevant details for Arizona special education certificates.

Education Bachelor's degree required
Examinations Professional and subject knowledge examinations required
Certification Standard Professional Certificate for disability type
Certification Renewal Period 12 years
Average Salary for Teachers in Arizona (2018)* Preschool: $42,830
Kindergarten and Elementary: $44,590
Middle School: $44,490
High School: $50,190
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (for all special education teachers nationwide)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Special Education Certifications Available?

The special education certificates available cover teaching to students at all grade levels with the most common disabilities. The first is for students with mild to moderate disabilities, and the second for students with moderate to severe disabilities. Separate certification tracks exist for teachers of the hearing and visually impaired, as well as special education teachers at the preschool and kindergarten levels (early childhood special education). Each of these five standard professional certificates has separate education and examination requirements.

What Kind of Educational Background Is Required?

All Arizona teaching certifications require candidates to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with three separate education pathways: the completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program, an independent evaluation of the candidate's education credentials, and the presentation of an out-of-state teaching certificate in a comparable discipline. While candidates who join state-approved teacher preparation programs will be guided through the required coursework, candidates who completed a bachelor's degree must have completed coursework in a variety of disciplines related to their teaching certification. Examples are legal aspects of special education, instructional delivery, and behavioral management (among many others). Check the Arizona Department of Education website for a comprehensive list of the education requirements related to your special education teaching certificate.

What Are the Examination Requirements?

All special education certificates have two separate examination requirements. The first, known as the professional knowledge examination, involves the completion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) measuring general education knowledge for the selected certification.

The second, known as the subject knowledge examination, measures the candidate's knowledge in the particular certification area (in this case, it would be special education, early childhood special education, or teaching for the hearing or visually impaired). Both examination requirements can be waived with several options, including the completion of a comparable out-of-state examination, a similar certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) or several years of teaching experience. Check the Arizona Department of Education website for more information on these options.

Are There Any Other Requirements?

All certification application forms can be downloaded from the Arizona Department of Education website and must be submitted via mail along with all relevant documents (including college transcripts and examination scores). In addition, candidates must complete a national criminal background check by scanning their fingerprints with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Check the Arizona Department of Education website for instructions on completing this background check. Once a certification is approved, candidates are required to complete several education requirements in the first three years to remain in good standing. These requirements include courses on the United States and Arizona constitutions as well as phonics, dyslexia, and ethics. Make sure to check the Arizona Department of Education website for a list of all applicable requirements.

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