Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in Arizona

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According to recent 2020 report on the educational job front in Arizona, the number of teaching jobs available are at an all time high. Arizona schools are experiencing crowded classes due to the shortage. For new students wishing to become a teacher in Arizona, this means that you may be entering the field at a good time. Many of the vacancies that are occurring are in the core subjects (such as English).

Teaching English in Arizona will require that you meet a certain set of criteria for education and testing. Once you have completed these requirements, you will be all set to apply for one of the jobs available. The basic steps to become a teacher in Arizona are lined out for you below:

Complete Education and Preparation
Pass Arizona Exams
Get Your Arizona State Certification
Complete Requirements for Renewal



Step 1. Complete Education and Preparation

As your first step to becoming a new English teacher in Arizona, you will want to find a good college or university program that will prepare you for this challenging and exciting career. The Arizona State Board of Education has certain requirements that all new teachers must meet. First and foremost is your college degree. In order to know what degree may be best for you, one consideration is the grade level you’re planning to teach.

For lower grades at the elementary level, you will want to consider a degree that is specific to younger children such as a bachelor’s in early childhood education or elementary education. If you plan on teaching secondary school, your program will consist of more English courses. You will become proficient in this single subject. This typically means that your program will have more courses and require a focus on English as a major with teaching as the career goal.

Teacher Programs

One of the concerns of many new students is the thought of actually learning how to teach. Even if you have a degree in English, it will not prepare you to teach in a classroom. That’s why your degree will have a teaching program portion. This part of your education is going to help you learn all about classroom dynamics, preparing your lessons, and having a general understanding of how people learn new information.

One of the most effective ways to help new teachers take what they are learning from books and apply it to real life is to participate in an internship. The college teacher preparation program will have this built into it. This will give you a chance to know what it really feels like to work in a classroom. Whatever program you decide to attend, be certain that it is approved by the Arizona Department of Education.

Alternative English Teacher Pathways

If you decide that you want to become an English teacher, but you are already established in another career, you may wonder what it would take to switch. If you already earned a master’s degree in English you can apply for an alternative Teacher Intern certification. This will allow you to teach full-time. Once you have completed the requirements, you can start work with full-benefits and a salary.

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Step 2. Pass Arizona Exams

For any teacher seeking certification — whether you are a new college student or you are a returning student seeking a second career — everyone has to take exams. The tests are designed to show that you have learned all the basics for teaching including a level of proficiency in new technology. The exam not only includes English, but also exams in other core subjects, technology, and grade specific subjects as well. Teachers need a certain level of proficiency in all the core areas of learning for the age of children they are teaching.

The tests are broken into several areas. You will find that each one will take practice and study. The test is offered by National Evaluation Series (NES). When you graduate from college or when you are seeking an Intern Certification, this will be the time to apply for your exams. Once you receive your passing results, you can take the final step and apply for your certification.



Step 3: Get Your Arizona State Certification

Now you will be ready to take the final step towards your Initial certification. This will take some time, as there are a number of items you will have to complete including gathering documents and having your fingerprints taken. The process for certification requires that you file an application and submit certain official documents, pay the fee(s) and wait for your certificate to be issued.

  • First choose which level of school you are seeking certification for. The following are the three levels that all have different applications.

  • Next Have your fingerprints taken and receive an Arizona DPS Identity Verified Print (IVP) fingerprint card. Call Arizona DPS at (602) 223-2279 to order what you will need to process the card.
  • Fill out the appropriate application from the above list.
  • Follow the instructions for sending in your documents.

Send everything by mail to:

ADE Certification Unit
PO Box 6490, Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490



Step 4: Complete Requirements for Renewal

Your initial provisional certification will be in force for three years. Once that time is up, you can convert your Initial Certificate to the Standard Certificate that will be good for six years. You will have to have completed 45 hour Provisional SEI Course as well as an additional 45 hour for the Completion Course in order to apply for renewal.

The options for gaining your SEI units are varied. You can always check with your school to find programs that they have developed within the district. You may also find that there are other outlets that have educational seminars and teacher training available. Some of the SEI courses allow for college credit that could be applied towards a degree. Whichever route you go, you will want to keep track of all your hours and make sure that each one will count. If the program you attend isn’t an approved one, your time won’t be valid towards your points.

Some students will take this opportunity to continue in their formal education. By stepping up your degree, you will in effect be investing in your future. Many schools recognize and reward teachers who will become highly educated. Typically the higher education you have, the greater chance for pay increases. Seeking a master’s degree or doctorate may allow you to advance further than you could have gone with the standard bachelor’s degree.



Arizona English Teacher Salaries

Arizona has long been known for being the home to the magnificent Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and other natural wonders. These are some of the things that draw people here each year and why some decide to make Arizona their home. Once here, families soon find other reasons Arizona is a good place to stay. Education is one of them.

The state is making a concerted effort to turn the tide on the current average graduation rate by offering unique programs such as the Grand Canyon Diploma. This is an accelerated public high school program that allows students to graduate early and enter college as early as sixteen. The state’s educational focus is also beneficial for teachers as well. Arizona Department of Education rewards teachers who invest in their own education.

For example, the starting salary for English elementary school teachers in two Arizona cities are as follows:


  • Entry: $ 33,000
  • Experienced: $ 37,177


  • Entry: $ 32,352
  • Experienced: $ 38,441

The experienced English teacher with a master’s degree with an additional twenty-four units of college courses in Phoenix will eventually earn $74, 259. The Entry-level teacher with a bachelor’s degree will earn a maximum of $46,948.

In Flagstaff it’s a little different. The salary increases in steps, over time, and with experience and education as it does in most districts. One difference, however, is the addition of units rewarded regardless of degree earned. Flagstaff offers the highest salary—capping at $61,455— to English teachers who have a bachelor’s degree plus an additional one hundred college units.

More English teacher salary information is available on other major areas in Arizona below:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Flagstaff AZ
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
Estimate Not Released

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