Secondary Education Certification Requirements in Arizona

With an opportunity to teach as you learn, meeting the requirements for secondary education certification in Arizona is within reach, so read on to learn about the educational and testing requirements.

In December 2017, the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association pointed out that there were 1,300 teaching vacancies in Arizona schools. There is a need for highly qualified secondary teachers who hold outstanding content knowledge in their field.

Secondary Education Requirements for Arizona Teachers

Average Salary for Arizona Secondary Teachers (2016)* $48,020 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field Secondary Education and chosen subject
Testing Requirements Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary; subject knowledge exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Teacher Preparation Program Details

The Arizona Department of Education requires secondary teachers to have a bachelor's degree in an approved subject area. These include disciplines such as drama, chemistry, physical education, and history. Some universities may offer programs that combine this subject area education with teacher preparation education. To enter into a teacher preparation program, applicants may have to submit letters of recommendation from university professors who are familiar with their work and professionalism. During the program, future teachers will be exposed to courses in a variety of topics, such as classroom management, instruction, technology in the classroom, and adolescent development. Some Arizona universities require teacher candidates to carry a 3.0 GPA on major courses. To apply for certification at the end of the teacher preparation program, candidates will have to submit their official college transcripts.

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Testing Information

To become certified to teach secondary education in Arizona, candidates have to first take the National Evaluation Series (NES) test called the Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary. Test takers get a maximum of three hours to answer 100 multiple-choice questions, one essay responding to a case study, and one work product. These questions cover a variety of topics, including student development, assessment, and professionalism. Arizona requires a passing score of 220 on this test.

Because secondary teachers focus on one or two subject areas, a subject knowledge exam is also required by the state of Arizona. Tests are available in social sciences, mathematics, biology, geography, and many more. The passing score for these tests is also 220, which reflects the National Benchmark. Candidates holding a degree in their subject area can waive the subject knowledge exam requirement.

Fingerprinting and Background Check

To be cleared to work with young people, teacher candidates have to pass a background check through the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Once they are cleared, they are given a fingerprint card to provide employers as proof.

Constitution Coursework

As part of teacher development, Arizona teachers are required to complete a course in the Arizona Constitution or pass an exam that shows proficiency in the topic. Additionally, they must take a class or related exam regarding the United States Constitution. Both test a future-teacher's knowledge of school policies, learning and teaching standards, and the rights of students and teachers. These tests have to be completed within three years of becoming officially licensed to teach.

Link to Study Materials

To prepare for one of the standardized test necessary for Arizona certification as a secondary educator, below is a link to a study guide that may help.

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