Certification FAQs

Certification FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)


What are the requirements to become certified to teach in Arizona?
To be certified to teach in Arizona, you will need a bachelor’s degree, completion of a teacher preparation program (such as one of the certification programs in the College of Education), passing scores on the required Arizona Educator Exams, Arizona IVP fingerprint clearance, and fees. The requirements for certification in Arizona are explained in detail by the Arizona Department of Education.

How do I start the certification process if I have completed a teacher preparation program at the UA?
There are two steps to obtaining your Arizona certification once you have completed a teacher preparation program at the UA; 1) obtaining an Institutional Recommendation (IR) from the U of A and 2) submitting it and the other required materials to the state for your certificate.

The College of Education recommends individuals who have completed the Teacher Preparation Program for certification to the state. The Institutional Recommendation form facilitates the certification process. The IR request form and instructions are available online or in the COE Office of Student Services, EDUC 2nd floor Room 247. Students typically receive this form during the Professional Development day prior to the student teaching semester.

The Institutional Recommendation Form is submitted to the Certification Officer in the Office of Student Services. The Officer verifies that you have successfully completed a teacher preparation program and that your degree has posted. The Certification Officer enters your information into the official IR form. Once completed, this form is provided to you to take to the Arizona Department of Education; you must complete the Criminal History portion.

Once you obtain your IR form, you must follow the instructions on the form to submit the IR, exam information, your fingerprint card, and the appropriate fees to the state for certification. You can also hand carry the materials to one of the state ADE offices listed on the IR form.

What is Certification Day?
The Office of Student Services arranges to have Department of Education certification officers come for one day to issue certificates on the spot. Certification Day is generally scheduled during the week after finals end in May. Students can typically obtain their IR form on that day, and can bring all required materials with them to obtain their certification from the Arizona Department of Education in the Student Services area.

How do I get fingerprint clearance?
You must have your fingerprint clearance card prior to being admitted into the teacher preparation program. Students are encouraged to utilize the online service FieldprintArizona.com for this process; more information can be found here. If you are currently out-of-state, you may contact the Office of Student Services to have a paper form mailed to you.

What are the Arizona Educator Exams?
Individuals who complete education degree programs at the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University who wish to teach in Arizona must pass appropriate Arizona Educator Exams. The state is in the process of switching from the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) to the National Evaluation Series (NES). Students seeking certification in early childhood education still complete the AEPA exams; all other certificates require the appropriate NES exams. The required exams for each certification area are listed on the Arizona Department of Education website.

What if I plan to teach in another state?
Teachers who apply for certification in another state will most likely find the process easier if they are already certified. We recommend that students pass the appropriate Arizona Educator Exams or contact the Department of Education in the state in which they plan to teach for recommendations.  Certification Map

What tests do I need to take for Arizona certification?
The required exams for each certification area are listed on the Arizona Department of Education website.

Where do I find study guides for the tests?
Study guides are available from the NES website and the AEPA website

What material is on the tests?
The study guide contains the test objectives and some sample questions. You should plan to study before taking your exams!