Become a Teacher in Arizona

Arizona Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary:$41,940
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary:$47,060 0
Vacation Weeks per Year:15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio:21.3
Expenditure per Pupil:$7,528

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

1535 W. Jefferson Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-5393

Arizona Teacher Shortage Areas

The United States Department of Education defines a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) as a subject matter or grade level within a state in which there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary teachers.  The shortage may be caused by teaching positions that are unfilled or are filled by teachers who have temporary certification or teach in an academic subject other than their area of preparation. According to a report by the USDE Office of Postsecondary Education, Arizona has the following Teacher Shortage Areas:

  • Foreign Languages
  • General Sciences
  • Geography
  • Political Science/American Government
  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • Special Education

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Arizona

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/3/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Arizona, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Arizona teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Arizona Teaching Credential

Earning a teaching credential requires the completion of a certain amount of undergraduate coursework, an accredited teacher preparation program, and a battery of standardized tests. If you’ve already earned your teaching credential in another state, you may be eligible for an Arizona credential through interstate reciprocity. Learn more about getting your teaching credential at the Arizona Department of Education Educator Certification page.

Learn more about getting your teaching credential.

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in Arizona

All states require teachers to have at least a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, Arizona has some specific coursework requirements based on the level of teaching at which you want to be certified:

Early Childhood Education: 37 semester hours of early childhood education courses, including courses in 8 areas, such as child growth and development, early language and literacy development, developmentally appropriate instructional methods, and typical and atypical early childhood behaviors.

  • Elementary Education: 45 semester hours of education courses.
  • Secondary Education: 30 semester hours of education courses.
  • Special Education: 45 semester hours of education courses, including 21 hours of courses in special education.

All levels of teaching require 8 semester hours of practicum/student teaching.

Step Two: Arizona Teacher Certification Programs

Getting a teaching certificate usually involves the completion of an accredited certification course with both pedagogical theory and classroom practice components. These courses can be completed either on-site or online. More information about teacher certification, including available certificates and accredited teacher preparation programs in Arizona can be found on the Arizona Department of Education website.

Step Three: Required Tests for Arizona

Applicants for teacher certification must pass both a test of subject knowledge and a test of professional knowledge. This can be accomplished by either taking the the AEPA (Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment) Exams or the National Evaluation Series (NES®) assessments for Arizona-appropriate to Elementary or Secondary education.

Read more about teacher certification tests on

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

Sponsored Programs

Alternative Teacher Certification in Arizona

Arizona has some alternate pathways to your teaching certificate. Two of the major alternate certification routes in Arizona are Teaching Internships and the Arizona Teaching Fellows program.

Teaching Internships are available to applicants with a passing score in at least one Subject Knowledge Area of the AEPA (or comparable examination from another state) or a Master’s degree in the appropriate subject area. The Internship involves two years of student teaching and mentoring, resulting in a provisional teaching certificate.

Arizona Teaching Fellows “trains accomplished professionals and recent college graduates to become high-impact teachers in schools serving disadvantaged students in communities throughout Arizona.” Teaching Fellows participate in an intensive summer internship and then teach for 2 years while completing certification coursework in a curriculum designed to prepare Fellows for working with high-need students.

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Benefits of Master's Degree in Arizona

Getting a master's degree in the field of education can give you more classroom experience and a wider range of pedagogical knowledge and skills to increase classroom competency whenever you start work as a teacher.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

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Certification Reciprocity in Arizona

A teaching certificate from other states or through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards may make you eligible for an Arizona credential through interstate reciprocity. Visit the Arizona Educator Certification page to find out more, or contact the Arizona Department of Education to ask about your specific circumstances.

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Financial Aid in Arizona

Arizona residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship, as well as the TEACH Grant, which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree.

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Arizona Teacher Salary and Incentives

Arizona has been one of the lower paying states for teachers over the past decade, but has been steadily increasing over the past few years. As of 2015, the average salary for an Elementary school teacher $41,940, while the average salary for a  Secondary school teacher $47,060. 

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

Learn more about teacher salaries on

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Arizona Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Arizona teachers will receive benefits such as a comprehensive healthcare plan including vision and dental, life insurance, and long-term disability support. Arizona also offers a mandatory state retirement program for teachers with long, successful careers.

Learn more about benefits for teachers.

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Professional Development for Arizona Teachers

The Arizona Department of Education website has a list of professional development resources.

The Arizona Department of Education has adopted the standards of Learning Forward, a program that stresses research and data-based teacher development and community building. The goal of the program is to improve the quality of education for all students through communities of educators dedicated to continuous improvement and sharing best practices.

The State of Arizona Department of Education allows districts to use Title II-A funds for teacher induction and mentoring programs to retain and recruit highly qualified teachers.

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Arizona Teaching Jobs

The Arizona Department of Education has put up a site called the Arizona Education Employment Board where users can search for job openings by district, subject area, public vs. charter and more. The site also allows users to apply online. Jobs can also be found through the Arizona State Jobs website, although it is not exclusively for teachers.

Learn more about finding a teaching job.

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