Frequently Asked Questions About Educator Certification
In each category below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding educator certification.
Some recent news stories related to Senate Bill (SB) 1159 provided inaccurate information related to the requirement that teachers hold a bachelor’s degree.
SB 1159 does not remove the bachelor’s degree requirement for teaching certificates established in A.R.S. § 15-501(A) or provide additional exceptions to the bachelor’s degree requirement established in A.R.S. § 15-501(F). Instead, SB 1159 amends A.R.S. § 15-553, which relates to alternative teacher training programs administered by school districts and charter schools; these programs are approved by the State Board of Education as “classroom-based preparation programs.”
Under the current state statute, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree to enroll in a classroom-based preparation program. SB 1159 amends state statute to allow a school district or charter school to enroll a candidate who does not have a bachelor’s degree into their classroom-based preparation program if the candidate is enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program at an accredited college or university. However, SB 1159 also requires that:
The candidate “is not a contracted or permanent full-time teacher or the teacher of record for any classroom of students”.
The candidate “does not regularly instruct students without the presence of a full-time teacher, certificated teacher, instructional coach, or instructional mentor unless the candidate possesses other means of certification, including an emergency substitute certificate, substitute certificate, or emergency teacher certificate.”
Please see pg. 9, lines 20-41 on the PDF version of SB 1159, which may be retrieved from the Arizona State Legislature’s website.
Schools need you! ...and it is easy to obtain your certification!
If you have a Bachelor's degree or a high school diploma you may qualify for a Substitute Certificate or an Emergency Substitute Certificate.
Which path is best for you?
I have a Bachelors Degree
If you hold a Bachelor's degree this is the path for you.
Valid Arizona Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint clearance card.
ESC application signed by the superintendent of the hiring district
When applying online, this application must be uploaded as part of the application process.
Once you have completed the above, you are ready to apply online and pay the $60 fee.
The Emergency Substitute Certificate is valid for 2 years or part thereof. For more information click here.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that teachers in Title I schools hold appropriate certification as defined by the rules and statutes in their state. Previous Board of Education rules did not provide adequate guidance to assist local education agencies in determining if a teacher is appropriately certified. To address this issue, the Board approved the Certification Guidelines for Teaching Assignments, a guidance document that clearly defines the required certificate, endorsement, or approved area needed by a teacher to be appropriately certified.
How long does it take to process an application for certification?
During our non-peak times (October – April) the average processing time is 3-4 weeks once all official documents have been received.
During our peak times (May-September) the average processing time can be up to 6-8 weeks once all official documents have been received.
It is recommended that you review all requirements before submitting an application to ensure the required and official documents are submitted correctly, this will help ensure that applications are processed in a timely manner and prevent delay.
Where and how do I submit my official transcripts?
Electronic official transcripts must be submitted directly by your university/college to [email protected].
Paper official transcripts may be mailed to the Arizona Department of Education – Certification Unit, P.O. Box 6490, Phoenix, AZ 85005 by your university/college.
I submitted transcripts with my online application, now I need to resubmit them, why?
Transcripts submitted by the applicant via the online portal are not considered official. For transcripts to be considered official, the Certification Unit needs to receive them directly from your university/college to [email protected] or by mail to: Arizona Department of Education – Certification Unit, P.O. Box 6490, Phoenix, AZ 85005
Arizona requires an Identity Verified Prints (IVP) fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS IVP Card). All questions regarding how to apply, how long it takes to receive your card or how to obtain a duplicate card needs to be directed to them at 602-223-2279 or for more information please visit: Arizona Department of Public Safety.
I have an Arizona IVP Fingerprint Clearance Card, however, when I try to create an account through the online portal (AzEDcert), I receive a message that I do not have a card on file.
At the time of application, Teacher Certification was not indicated or your social security number (SSN) or your date of birth (DOB) was not on file. Please call the Arizona Department of Public Safety at 602-223-2279 to confirm your SSN, DOB, and confirm that Teacher Certification is marked, and finally ask them to refresh their page. Your information will then be forwarded to the Certification Unit within 24-48 hours, you will then be able to create an account and apply online.
How do I know if I have the correct fingerprint card?
There will be an IVP# on the front bottom of the card, if there is no IVP# you have the incorrect card, please call 602-223-2279 for instructions on how to obtain the correct card.
I have an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance card, but I am told I need an IVP Fingerprint clearance card, these are not the same?
Correct, the IVP fingerprint clearance card is required by Arizona Revised Statute: 15-106. If you have the incorrect card, please contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety at 602-223-2279 for assistance.
I have a fingerprint clearance card from another state, will this transfer to Arizona?
My fingerprint clearance card was denied, who do I need to speak with?
Please contact the Arizona Department of Public Safety at 602-223-2279.
Once you meet the requirement for your specific deficiency you will need to have official transcripts or certificates of completion (for CTE Certificate holders only) submitted to the Certification Unit and apply via the AzEDCert Portal or you may apply by mail to correct the deficiency, print the Application to Remove a Deficiency, and submit the application with a check or money order for $20.
If you are unsure of your deficiency, please refer to your certificate as it will be identified in the right-hand column or refer to the evaluation that was mailed with your certificate.
I have a deficiency on my certificate, how do I remove it?
I have an out-of-state exam; will Arizona accept it?
Out-of-state exams will be accepted to meet the Professional Knowledge and/or the Subject Knowledge exam requirement as long as it has been identified as an equivalent exam in Arizona. To determine if your out-of-state exam is accepted click on Out-of-State Equivalent Exams.
If you are submitting a Praxis exam and it is on the list of Out-of-State Equivalent Exams, you will then need to contact Praxis and request that your exam results be reported to the state of Arizona, please provide code 8517. This will take 5-6 business days, then you will need to contact our office.
Can I become certified in Arizona with my out-of-state certificate/license?
Yes, the Arizona Department of Education Certification Unit may issue a comparable teaching, administrative, or professional non-teaching certificate to an applicant who holds a valid, comparable certificate in another state and is in good standing in that other state.
Temporary or non-renewable certificates will not qualify for reciprocity in Arizona.
Please visit our Reciprocity webpage for more information.
I need a copy of my certificate; how do I obtain one?
Please follow the link to print the application and mail it to the address on the form along with a check or money order for $20. This service is not available through our online portal at this time.
We are unable to print expired or lapsed certificates, however, you may request a verification of certification by emailing [email protected]. This letter will list all past certificates, approved areas, and endorsements.
Can I print a copy of my certificate from the online portal?
No, this service is unavailable, please follow the steps above to obtain a copy of your valid certificate.