Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Arizona

Early Childhood Education in Arizona

Arizona, a southwestern desert state, is in need of passionate teachers to improve the face of education across the state. It came in 43rd in the nation in Education Week’s 2013 annual ranking, receiving an overall state grade of “C-“. Although it received low markings in many education categories, it earned a “B+” for Standards, Assessments, and Accountability. The state is ranked 47th for child well-being and 49th for preschool opportunities  in 2013, with two out of three students not enrolled in early childhood education prior to entering school. However, Arizona’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) unit is working together with Head Start and other preschool programs, as of 2013, to improve early childhood education statewide. While Arizona has some way to go to strengthen its education system, there is still a vast range of opportunities for individuals seeking a teaching career in the state.

The Certification/Licensure Process for Teachers in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Education provides extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.

An Early Childhood Educator Certificate for teachers of children from birth through third grade is available. A Provisional Certificate is available to applicants who have completed a teacher preparation program or alternatively at least 37 semester hours of early childhood education coursework, or who hold a certificate from another state. Applicants with at least two years of successful teaching experience under a Provisional Certificate may convert to the Standard Certificate.

An Elementary Certificate for teachers of grades one through eight is also available. Similarly to the Early Childhood Certificate, applicants who have completed either a teacher preparation program or at least 45 semester hours of elementary education coursework, or else who hold a certificate from another state are eligible for a Provisional Elementary Certificate. Applicants with at least two years of successful teaching experience under the Provisional Certificate may convert to the Standard Elementary Certificate.

There are also some alternative pathways to teacher certification primarily for teacher-interns, career changers, and veterans.

View the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact the licensing department, should you have any further questions about the licensing/certification process.

Arizona’s ECE Degree Programs

There are over 20 early childhood education degree programs in Arizona.

is a public research university offering bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (birth through age eight) and elementary education (grades one through eight). It also offers a variety of master’s degrees options, including one in early childhood education (birth through age eight).

is a private Christian university that offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in early childhood education (birth through age eight) and elementary education (grades one through eight), as well as a few doctoral degree options.

is a tribally controlled two-year Navajo college that offers associate degrees in early childhood education (birth through age eight) and elementary education (grades one through eight), as well as a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (grades one through eight).

is a private liberal-arts college offering a bachelor’s degree and Post-Degree Teaching Certificate in both early childhood education (birth through age eight) and elementary education (grades one through eight), as well as a K-through-eight reading endorsement and early childhood education endorsement.

Finding Arizona Teacher Jobs

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. The Arizona Education Employment Board posts certified and classified open teaching positions in Arizona’s schools. Aspiring teachers can create an online application, view job vacancies, and obtain key recruitment information. School Spring also features jobs and employers in the Arizona area.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Arizona’s Teacher Associations

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Arizona that share similar visions.

The Arizona Education Association (AEA) aims to improve the profession, as well as local public schools. The biggest professional association in the state, with over 20,000 members, it provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.

The Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children (AZAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. It strives to help children from birth through age eight, as well as their families. There are over a dozen local affiliates. The organization is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

There is also a variety of organizations for teachers based on specific areas of interest, including the Arizona Reading Association (ARA), Arizona Association of Teachers of Mathematics (AATM) and the Arizona Science Teachers Association (AZSTA).

Educator Blogs in Arizona

AZCentral.com covers hot topics, issues, and events in Arizona’s schools, as does the education section of the Arizona Daily Star. There are also Arizona teachers who share insightful information through their personal blogs.

Simply Kinder is written by a self-described “data-driven” kindergarten teacher who believes in checklists and structure, as well as cooperative learning structures.

Confessions of a Teaching Junkie is written by a teacher of 27 years who loves creating lessons and collaborating with other educators.

How to Change a Life is written by an elementary school teacher who blogs about her journey to become a better teacher.

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