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Elementary School Teacher Certification in Arizona

Read for an overview of elementary school teacher certification in Arizona. Get the facts on education requirements, examinations, and other relevant steps toward certification.

Info for Arizona Elementary School Teachers

Elementary school teachers in Arizona must have a valid Standard Professional Elementary (K-8) Certificate. The standard certificate has a 12 year renewal period with mandatory training that must be completed by the third year of certification. The table below is a summary of career and certification facts for Arizona teachers.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Exam Requirements Professional and subject knowledge required examinations
Certification Standard Professional Elementary, K-8 Certificate
Certification Renewal Period 12 years
Average Annual Salary (2018)* $44,430 (for Arizona elementary school teachers)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% growth (for kindergarten and elementary schoolteachers nationwide)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Begin the Certification Process?

To begin the certification process, you must ensure that you have the right education credentials. Beyond the completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, each candidate's transcript must comply with the mandatory coursework guidelines for elementary school certification (this applies to both graduates of regular institutions and graduates of a state-approved teacher preparation program). These guidelines include courses in teaching language, math, science, instructional design and lesson planning (among many others). If you have a bachelor's degree and a valid out-of-state elementary school certificate, you may apply for an Arizona certificate without meeting these coursework requirements. Candidates who did not complete formal teacher preparation must have at least two years of teaching experience at the elementary school level.

What Kind of Examinations Do I Need to Complete?

Although the certification process involves two separate examination requirements, both can be waived with professional experience, an elementary school certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), or the completion of a similar examination in a different state. The first examination, known as the professional knowledge requirement, can be met with a passing score on either the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) or the National Evaluation Series (NES) in professional knowledge. The second examination requirement is called the subject knowledge requirement, and involves testing skills in elementary school-related subjects. This requirement can be met with the AEPA or NES in elementary school subject knowledge.

What Other Steps Are Involved?

Candidates must complete a national criminal background check with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) before submitting their application. The Arizona Fieldprint website has detailed instructions on completing the required fingerprint scan and obtaining a fingerprint clearance card. Once received, this card must be enclosed with your printed application (along with all college transcripts) and mailed to the Arizona Department of Education. Though certification will be granted if you meet all requirements, you will need to complete additional course requirements during your first three years of certification. These requirements include courses on the United States and Arizona constitution as well as phonics, dyslexia, and ethics.

What Kind of Salary Should I Expect?

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated the average annual salary for Arizona elementary school teachers at $44,430. This estimate is lower than the national average, which was calculated at $62,200 in the same year. The BLS expects a 7% growth in job opportunities between 2016 and 2026 for all elementary school and kingergarten teachers nationwide.