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How to Become a Certified Spanish Teacher in Arizona

Arizona has over a million Spanish speakers living in the state, making Spanish teachers a necessity for student success both within and beyond the classroom. Find out how you can get certified as a Spanish teacher in Arizona!

Spanish Teacher Career Overview

In Arizona, there are 1.29 million Spanish speakers living in the state. For this reason, Spanish educators have never been more important, enabling students to communicate effectively with those living in their immediate communities. In order to become certified as a Spanish teacher in Arizona, educators must complete rigorous coursework and pass a series of exams. Ongoing professional development and passion for Latin culture are also important for Spanish instructors to experience success in their careers.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited college or university;


Coursework in Arizona and U.S. Constitution

Exams Required Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) or National Evaluation Series™ (NES) Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary;
NES Spanish
License Validity Period Provisional secondary education license issued for two years with option for a one-time two-year extension;
Standard secondary certificate valid for six years (must be renewed every six years thereafter)
Certification Renewal Process Provisional secondary education licenses nonrenewable;
Standard secondary certificates renewable after six years with completion of 180 clock hours in professional development program;
Applications submitted either online or through the mail
CEU Credits Required for Renewal N/A
Average Salary in Arizona (2018) $43,560 (middle school);
$48,610 (high school)*
Estimated Job Growth 2016 – 2026 8% (middle and high school)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); data used reflects middle and high school teachers in general and not Spanish instructors specifically

Special Skills & Characteristics

Spanish teachers in Arizona typically teach in either middle school or high school settings. Because of this, educators must have the desire to work with young adults and effectively manage more outspoken and boisterous student populations. Additional characteristics of a successful Spanish instructor include the following:

  • Passion for Latin culture beyond language immersion and fluency
  • Phonetic knowledge and ability to coach novice Spanish speakers for improved accuracy and linguistic competency
  • Ability to annunciate clearly and simplify difficult pronunciations

Teachers must also be committed to lifelong education as languages continue to develop and adopt modern words and definitions.

Educational Requirements

All Arizona educators must receive at least a bachelor's degree in education from a regionally accredited college or university. During their coursework, they must complete studies in both the Arizona and U.S. Constitution. Aspiring instructors must also complete an approved secondary education Teacher Preparation Program. Alternatively, they may present a Verification of Teaching Experience form verifying completion of two years of professional teaching experience and required coursework.

Exam Requirements

Teachers may choose to take either the AEPA or NES Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary in order to receive a provisional secondary education license. In addition, Spanish teachers must prove their subject-matter expertise by passing the NES Spanish exam. Teachers must earn a passing score of at least 220 on both NES assessments which include 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 other assessments, either written and/or spoken, and must be completed within three hours. In order to successfully pass the AEPA, teachers must earn a score of at least 240, this test also includes 100 multiple-choice questions and two other assignments; one written and one oral, and must be completed in four hours.

Certification Requirements

Spanish teachers can become provisionally certified in Arizona after submitting evidence of their bachelor's degree; complete Teacher Preparation Program; coursework in the Arizona and U.S. Constitution; and passing scores on the AEPA/NES Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary and NES Spanish exam. Provisional certifications are nonrenewable and must be converted to standard secondary education licenses. Standard licenses may only be issued to teachers who have:

  • Completed all requirements for the provisional secondary education license
  • Held a provisional secondary education license for at least two years
  • Completed 45 clock hours or three semester hours of research-based systematic phonics instruction from an accredited institution or provider
  • Received a passing score on the performance portion of the AEPA

Standard secondary education licenses remain valid for six years and may be renewed every six years thereafter.

Certification Renewal

Provisional secondary education certificates are nonrenewable; however, teachers may apply for a two-year extension one time in order to satisfy the requirements for a standard license. Standard secondary education licenses remain valid for six years, and teachers may apply for renewal once every six years through online or mailed application. In order to qualify for renewal, teachers must provide evidence of having completed 180 clock hours of a professional development program.