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How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in Arizona

Read for an overview on the steps required to become a kindergarten teacher in Arizona. Get the facts on all requirements including education, certification, and examinations.

Info for Arizona Kindergarten Teachers

In Arizona, kingergarten teachers must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and a Standard Professional Early Childhood Education Certificate. The certification has several examination, education and training requirements. The table below is an overview of the requirements and salary expectations.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Exam Requirements Professional and subject knowledge required examinations (several options per requirement)
Certification Standard Professional Early Childhood Education Certificate
Certification Renewal Period 12 years
Average Salary (2018) $44,670 (for all Arizona kindergarten teachers except special education)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all kindergarten teachers nationwide)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Get Started on the Pathway to Certification?

Those interested in teaching kindergarten will want to apply for Arizona's Standard Professional Early Childhood Education Certificate as this encompasses children from birth to grade three or age eight. In order to begin the process of obtaining this certificate, one typically completes an Arizona Department of Education-approved teacher preparation program, has a valid out-of-state teaching license, or has completed at least two years of documented teaching experience with children in grade three or below. Those who choose the teaching experience pathway must meet several additional requirements for approved college coursework or training programs. These requirements include courses on research-based early language development, phonics and classroom management (among others). Check the Arizona Department of Education website for more details on these education requirements.

What Are the Examinations Involved?

There are two separate examination requirements for kindergarten teachers. The first requirement is known as professional knowledge, which can be met by taking the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) Professional Knowledge - Early Childhood Education exam. The state of Arizona also admits scores from similar examinations as substitutes for the AEPA test requirement. Candidates with three or more years of early childhood teaching experience or an early education certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) can waive this requirement.

The second requirement is the subject knowledge requirement. The AEPA also has an examination that meets this requirement, which is known as the Subject Knowledge-Early Childhood exam. This requirement can be waived with a bachelor's or advanced degree in early childhood education, three years of early childhood teaching experience, or the completion of a similar out-of-state examination. Additional avenues to waiving the requirement exist and are detailed on the Arizona Department of Education website.

Is Any Training Required?

Though no additional training is required as part of the certification process, the state has several continuing education requirements for those who have been awarded an early childhood education certificate. College courses (or related examinations) must be completed on several topics including dyslexia, phonics, the United States and Arizona constitutions, and ethics within three years of receiving the full certification. For more information on the parameters for these courses, visit the Arizona Department of Education website.

Are There Any Other Requirements?

All certification applicants must pass a fingerprint clearance. Fingerprints will be used to conduct a national criminal background check (which must be cleared before a certification can be awarded). To receive the necessary scans and documentation, visit the Arizona Department of Public Safety website to locate the relevant instructions for obtaining a fingerprint clearance card from Identity Verified Prints (IVP).