5 Best Teacher Certification Program in Arizona 2024

Published On: December 26th, 2023·By ·

Quality teachers are in high demand in Arizona. A survey found that the 2023-2024 school year kicked off with 29.7% of teacher vacancies unfilled, while 53.2% of filled positions were being staffed by those who didn't meet the state's certification requirements. The figures are up from the previous year's 26.6%.

There has never been a better time to answer the call to this crucial vocation and make a difference in children's lives.

Teaching comes with personal benefits, too. The dynamic profession has family-friendly hours, long summer breaks, and provides job stability.

In July 2022, Arizona's governor approved a law allowing people without a bachelor's degree to begin teaching full-time. However, they must complete a certification program and will not be fully certified until the bachelor's degree is completed. Thus, those wanting to have a full education career must get a degree.

In our guide, we'll outline the process of becoming a teacher in Arizona, including why attending the best teacher certification program is essential to your success.

teacher with ceticate

Top 5 Teacher Certification Programs in Arizona

There are numerous teacher certification programs in Arizona, but not all meet modern life's needs or suitably prepare candidates for a successful education career. We've dug through the options and evaluated them for affordability, flexibility, duration, support, services, and career readiness.

Our investigation revealed the top 5 teacher certification programs in Arizona.

1. Teachers of Tomorrow

Teachers of Tomorrow is the nation's top online alternative educator certification program designed to fit around hectic adult lines. Founded in 2005, the program has helped over 80,000 candidates become certified teachers.

High-quality teachers are produced using an up-to-date curriculum made by teachers for teachers. Over 200 staff members support training to ensure participants’ needs are met. The work-at-your-pace program takes an average of a year to complete. In addition, candidates earn an income working in an Arizona school once their coursework is complete.

Arizona Teachers of Tomorrow is 4,485 as of 2023. There are payment plans available.

2. Teach Away

TeachAway offers Klassroom, an alternative teacher certification program. The system is split into two parts: online modules and clinical placement.

The online TCP Core curriculum consists of four modules, each taking 4-8 weeks to complete. Candidates spend an average of 15 hours per week on lessons and coursework.

The clinical placement is conducted over 12 weeks and totals 450 hours. Candidates will be required to keep a weekly logbook of assignments and formal and informal observations of teaching. Candidates are not paid during their placement.

TeachAway’s Klassroom is $5,499 as of 2023 in Arizona.

3. Alliant International University

Alliant International University offers a fully online teacher certification program. The small online classes are supported with hands-on experience and video simulations. New candidates are admitted every eight weeks throughout the year.  The program also includes an internship overseen by a field supervisor.

Participants in the program can begin teaching at an Arizona school for pay 8-16 weeks after starting the program while continuing to complete their professional teaching requirements. Candidates typically take a year to obtain their full certification.

Alliant International University’s 2024 teaching credential fees are $781 per unit, with additional fees for examinations and the application.

4. College of Education – University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers many BA and BS teaching degrees for those interested in the traditional pathway. They also offer Teach Arizona, a master's program for bachelor's degree holders in Arizona to become middle or high school teachers.

To qualify, candidates must hold a degree in one of the state's content areas. Examples include:

  • Math
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Earth Science
  • General Science
  • English
  • Spanish

Those who qualify are entered into a one-year M.Ed program. It begins in the summer, with courses offered in the afternoons and weekends. There are online and Zoom options for those not living near campus. Once the Arizona school year begins, participants are placed in a half-day, full-school-year internship.

The Arizona Teachers Academy covers a participant’s tuition and mandatory fees if the participant agrees to teach in an Arizona public school for a full year after graduation.  Otherwise, the cost is as follows:

  • Summer term: $7,200, plus a $51 fee
  • Fall term: $9,000, plus a $52 fee and an $80 mileage fee
  • Spring term: $5,400, plus a $52 fee and an $80 mileage fee

5. Arizona State University

Arizona State University offers an online educator certification program for candidates already employed on an Arizona Alternative Teaching Certificate or those with a bachelor's degree looking to switch careers.

The program consists of 9-11 classes, depending on your teaching track, each taking 7.5 weeks, for a total of 29 credit hours. The 2023-2024 program charges $$585 per credit hour. Additional fees may apply.

How to Become a Teacher in Arizona

Embarking on a teaching career in Arizona requires obtaining state certification. The process requires candidates to complete the following steps:

  1. Meet the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) requirements. While the state has relaxed its requirements on having a bachelor's degree, a teaching candidate must, at a minimum, be enrolled at an accredited college or university. A bachelor's degree is required to obtain full certification and access career advancement opportunities.
  2. Complete an ADE-approved teacher certification preparation program. These programs can be completed as part of a bachelor's or higher degree program. Alternatively, candidates can use an independent teacher certification program, such as flexible online options.
  3. Complete a teaching residency. Part of completing a teacher certification program is taking part in field service. Arizona does have some options that allow candidates to teach for pay while being under the supervision of a fully certified educator.
  4. Pass the appropriate Arizona exams for your teaching goals. The ADE mandates that candidates pass exams in the Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) and National Evaluation Series (NES). Candidates must take the tests within the series that apply to the grade level, subject, and any specialties they intend to teach.
  5. Pass a background check. To ensure the safety of Arizona’s students and educational staff, all candidates must have a background check through the Arizona Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Fingerprint cards are obtained through the Identify Verified Print (IVP).
  6. Apply for an Arizona teaching certificate. All required transcripts, exam scores, and documentation must be submitted through the ADE.

Types of Teacher Certification in Arizona

Future teachers have many teacher certification options in Arizona. It's essential to know which grades, subject, and any specialty you wish to teach so you can ensure you take a teacher certification program that supports your career ambitions. In addition, your choice impacts which exams you'll need to take to be certified to teach in the state.

Teacher certification options in Arizona include:

  • Early Childhood Education, Birth – Age 8 or Grade 3
  • Elementary Education, 1-8
  • Secondary Education, 6-12
  • Arts Education, PreK-12
  • Physical Education, PreK-12
  • Specialized Secondary Certificate STEM 6-12
  • Athletic Coaching, 7-12
  • Native American Language, PreK-12

Those looking to work in special education should consider the following certification options:

  • Early Childhood Special Education, Birth through Grade 3
  • Mild-Moderate Disabilities, K-12
  • Severe and Profound Disabilities, K-12
  • Hearing Impaired Special Education, Birth-Grade 12
  • Visually Impaired Special Education, Birth-Grade 12

Arizona has the following career and technical education (CTE) certificates:

  • CTE Agriculture, K-12
  • CTE Specialized Agriculture, K-12
  • CTE Business and Marketing, K-12
  • CTE Specialized Business and Marketing, K-12
  • CTE Education and Training, K-12
  • CTE Specialized Education and Training, K-12
  • CTE Family and Consumer Sciences, K-12
  • CTE Specialized Family and Consumer Science, K-12
  • CTE Health Careers, K-12
  • CTE Specialized Health Careers, K-12
  • CTE Industrial and Emerging Technologies, K-12
  • CTE Specialized Industrial and Emerging Technologies, K-12

Administrative certificates in Arizona include:

  • Principal, PreK-12
  • Superintendent, PreK-12
  • Supervisor, PreK-12
  • Interim Principal, PreK-12
  • Interim Superintendent, PreK-12
  • Interim Supervisor, PreK-12

The following subject endorsements can also be obtained in Arizona:

  • Structured English Immersion, PreK-12
  • Art, PreK-12
  • Bilingual Education, PreK-12
  • Dance, PreK-12
  • Dramatic Arts/Theater, PreK-12
  • Early Childhood Education, Birth – Age8/Grade3
  • Elementary Foreign Language, K-8
  • English as a Second Language, PreK-12
  • Library-Media Specialist, PreK-12
  • Mathematics, K-8
  • Music, PreK-12
  • Physical Education, PreK-12
  • Reading Endorsement

Getting Your Teacher Certification in Arizona

Obtaining an Arizona teaching certification requires meeting the educational requirements, completing a teacher certification program, and passing the required tests.

Most teaching applicants in the state have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university. Without one, job options are limited, and there is no pathway for career advancement. State-approved teacher certification programs set their own educational requirements. However, already having a degree will provide a candidate with the most options.

Arizona has two main routes for prospective teachers:

  • Enrolling in a university program. Also known as the traditional route, a candidate enters university intending to become a teacher. Thus, they take courses geared toward their future career and will typically take the teacher certification program connected to their educational institution's program.
  • Enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program or an alternative certification program. Also known as the alternative pathway, the option is typically preferred by those seeking a career change. The option is usually more flexible than the traditional pathway and often allows a person to work for pay while studying.
  • Arizona requires candidates to pass the appropriate AEPA and NES exams. Candidates take the exams that apply to the grade level, subject, and any specialty they wish to teach. For instance, all candidates must take one of the three Assessment of Professional Knowledge tests: early childhood, elementary, or secondary.

Benefits of Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher preparation programs in Arizona are rising in popularity as they are a more flexible and affordable option than the traditional route. The best teacher certification programs in Arizona are set up so that candidates can study online and complete them in a year. They usually allow candidates to work while studying, including paid teaching internships.

In addition, Arizona allows candidates eligible for teaching residencies to work for pay. First, they must secure a teacher position, and then apply for the emergency certificate. It's an excellent option for those who need to support themselves or their family while working towards their full teaching certificate.

What Is the Best Teacher Certification Program in Arizona for You?

Our research revealed that Teachers of Tomorrow is the best teacher certification program in Arizona. As of 2023, the 5,000 AAQEP-accredited program is built upon the belief that every child deserves a great teacher. In just 2022, 7,000 candidates became certified teachers thanks to their accessible, affordable, and flexible system.

Highlights of Arizona Teachers of Tomorrow include:

  • 100% online, work-at-your-own-pace program
  • 1-year average completion
  • Zero application fee
  • Rolling admission
  • Flexible payment plans
  • Wide range of subject areas
  • Paid internship year
  • Personalized service and support
  • Knowledgeable advisors, coaching, and mentors
  • Up-to-date curriculum
  • Resume builder and review services
  • Job fairs

Candidates must be US citizens or have legal permanent residence to apply. They must also have a 4-year bachelor's degree or higher with a 2.0 GPA from a regionally accredited college or university.

Teacher Salary and Job Outlook in Arizona

Arizona's average public school teacher salary is $56,206, but the range typically falls between $46,931 and $68,552. The state ranks 25th for the highest teacher salaries across the country, with a national average salary of $58K. Factors that impact a teacher's salary include:

  • A candidate's education level
  • The grade or subject being taught
  • Number of years working in education
  • The location of the school district.

Public district and charter schools are paid for by federal and state funding. In addition, public schools get local funding, often based on property tax. Consequently, the location of a school district heavily influences how well the school is funded and a teacher's pay range. The highest-paying counties for teachers in Arizona:

  1. Maricopa
  2. Graham
  3. Apache
  4. Santa Cruz
  5. Pinal

Teaching in Arizona is in high demand. The state is in its eighth year of a severe teaching shortage. Classrooms continue to be understaffed, with more than 6,000 of them missing a qualified teacher, and some schools have been forced to operate on a four-day week.

Become a Certified Teacher in Arizona

Becoming a certified teacher in Arizona has become easier and more affordable thanks to teacher certification programs.

The traditional option remains available to those seeking the classic university experience. However, for those hoping to change careers and juggle commitments, such as raising a family, alternative teaching certification programs are faster and offer far greater flexibility, including online options.

Teaching is a rewarding career that makes a positive investment in our country. We at SimpleK12 are always happy to help guide you into becoming one of Arizona's top teachers. What are you waiting for? Start making a difference today.

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