The Arizona Revised Statutes have been updated to include the revised sections from the 56th Legislature, 1st Regular Session. Please note that the next update of this compilation will not take place until after the conclusion of the 56th Legislature, 2nd Regular Session, which convenes in January 2024.
This online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is primarily maintained for legislative drafting purposes and reflects the version of law that is effective on January 1st of the year following the most recent legislative session. The official version of the Arizona Revised Statutes is published by Thomson Reuters.
15-501.01. Requirements for teachers; teaching certificates; rules; reciprocity; placement; posting
A. Notwithstanding any other law, all teachers who are certificated pursuant to this section must have a baccalaureate degree and a valid fingerprint clearance card.
B. The state board of education shall adopt rules for the issuance of the following types of certificates for teachers:
1. Standard teaching certificate.
2. Alternative teaching certificate for persons who obtain training pursuant to subsection C, paragraph 1 of this section.
3. Subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate for persons who obtain training pursuant to subsection C, paragraph 8 of this section.
4. Classroom-based standard teaching certificate for individuals who obtain training from a school district or charter school.
5. Career and technical education teaching certificate.
C. The state board of education shall adopt rules to carry out the purposes of this section. The rules:
1. Shall provide for a variety of alternative teacher and administrator preparation programs that allow for variations in program sequence and design to apply for program approval. The state board shall adopt rules pursuant to this paragraph designed to allow for a variety of formats and shall not require a prescribed answer or design from the program provider in order to obtain approval from the state board. Any rules adopted by the state board pursuant to this paragraph shall be substantially different from the rules adopted for the approval of traditional preparation programs and may not unnecessarily restrict a variety of alternative preparation programs from operating and providing instruction in this state. The state board shall evaluate each program provider based on the program's ability to prepare teachers and administrators and to recruit teachers and administrators with a variety of experiences and talents. The state board shall allow universities under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents, community colleges in this state, private postsecondary institutions licensed by this state, school districts, charter schools, professional organizations, nonprofit organizations and private entities to apply for program approval and shall create application procedures and certification criteria that are substantially less restrictive than those for traditional preparation programs. At the completion of an alternative preparation program, graduates shall:
(a) Hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited postsecondary education institution.
(b) If applicable, demonstrate professional knowledge and subject knowledge proficiency pursuant to section 15-533.
(c) Obtain a valid fingerprint clearance card pursuant to section 15-534.
(d) If applicable, complete training in structured English immersion as prescribed by the state board pursuant to section 15-756.09.
(e) If applicable, complete training in research-based systematic phonics instruction as prescribed in paragraph 2 of this subsection.
(f) Demonstrate the required proficiency in the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona as prescribed in section 15-532.
2. Shall require that, within three years after a certificate for elementary education or early childhood education is issued, the certificate holder complete, from a public or private provider, at least forty-five classroom hours or three college-level credit hours, or the equivalent, in both research-based:
(a) Science of reading instruction, including systematic phonics instruction.
(b) Reading instruction, including training on assessments, instructional practices and interventions to improve student reading proficiency. Beginning July 1, 2021, instruction provided pursuant to this subdivision must meet the requirements for dyslexia training prescribed in section 15-219.
3. Beginning August 1, 2025, shall establish a literacy endorsement as a requirement for all certificated teachers who provide literacy instruction in kindergarten programs or in any of grades one through five as determined by the board. The rules shall require that a certificated teacher who receives a certificate after August 1, 2025 and who provides literacy instruction in kindergarten programs or in any of grades one through five must obtain a literacy endorsement within three years after the teacher's certificate is issued. The rules shall require that a certificated teacher who received a certificate before August 1, 2025 and who provides literacy instruction in kindergarten programs or in any of grades one through five must obtain a literacy endorsement on or before August 1, 2028. The literacy endorsement shall require the teacher to complete evidence-based science of reading training or coursework as determined by the board and to pass a literacy instruction assessment to show that the teacher is capable of doing all of the following:
(a) Effectively teaching foundational reading skills, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
(b) Implementing reading instruction using high-quality instructional materials.
(c) Providing effective instruction and interventions for students with reading deficiencies, including students with characteristics of dyslexia.
4. Beginning August 1, 2022, shall require all approved educator preparation programs in elementary education and early childhood education to require the courses that are necessary to obtain a literacy endorsement pursuant to paragraph 3 of this subsection.
5. Shall establish a process to allow a local education agency, at the request of a teacher, to verify to the department of education that the teacher possesses the instructional knowledge and skills prescribed in paragraph 3 of this subsection, demonstrated through classroom observations and student achievement data across subgroups using evidence-based measures. A certificated teacher who has had a local education agency verify the teacher's knowledge and skills in the science of reading pursuant to this paragraph is not required to complete the coursework, training or assessment requirements prescribed in paragraph 3 of this subsection to obtain the literacy endorsement.
6. Shall not require a teacher to obtain a master's degree or to take any additional graduate courses as a condition of certification or recertification.
7. Shall allow but shall not require the superintendent of a school district to obtain certification from the state board of education.
8. Shall provide for the issuance of a subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate to persons who have expertise in a content area or a subject matter. Persons who are certified pursuant to this paragraph shall complete training, if applicable, in structured English immersion as prescribed by the state board pursuant to section 15-756.09. Persons who are certified pursuant to this paragraph are exempt from the subject knowledge proficiency requirements prescribed in section 15-533 and from the proficiency requirements prescribed in section 15-532 on the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona. Persons who are subject to subdivision (a) of this paragraph are also exempt from the professional knowledge proficiency requirements pursuant to section 15-533. A person who obtains a subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate pursuant to this paragraph may provide instruction in the person's field of expertise in grades six through twelve at any public school in this state. Issuance of the subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate may not be conditioned on the person's employment with a local education agency. A person who meets the requirements of this paragraph shall be issued a subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate without having to demonstrate professional knowledge proficiency pursuant to section 15-533, except that the person shall have at least two years to demonstrate professional knowledge proficiency pursuant to section 15-533. School districts shall evaluate and provide support pursuant to section 15-537 to teachers who are certified pursuant to this paragraph. If a person fails to meet the professional knowledge requirements of this section within two years, the department of education or state board of education may temporarily suspend the subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate. A certificate that is temporarily suspended pursuant to this paragraph is not considered a disciplinary action, and a person shall be allowed to correct the deficiency within the remaining time of the subject-matter expert standard teaching certification. This paragraph does not require a person who has obtained another type of teaching certificate from the state board to obtain a subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate pursuant to this paragraph in order to provide instruction in grades six through twelve. Persons who are certificated pursuant to this paragraph shall review and attest to reviewing the best practices for social media and cellular telephone use between students and school personnel adopted by the state board of education pursuant to section 15-203, subsection A, paragraph 44 before receiving a certificate and, within two years after receiving a certificate, complete training in professionalism and ethics from a public or private provider approved by the state board of education, which may include a no-cost option to the person provided by the state board. A person is eligible for a subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate pursuant to this paragraph if the person has a baccalaureate degree and meets any of the following requirements:
(a) Has taught courses relevant to a content area or subject matter for the last two consecutive years and for a total of at least three years at one or more regionally or nationally accredited public or private postsecondary institutions. A person demonstrates compliance with this requirement by providing the state board with written proof of employment for specific durations from one or more qualifying postsecondary institutions.
(b) Has either a baccalaureate degree, a master's degree or a doctoral degree in a specific subject area that is relevant to a content area or subject matter taught in public schools.
(c) Demonstrates expertise through relevant work experience of at least five years in a field that is relevant to a content area or subject matter taught in public schools. A person demonstrates compliance with this requirement by providing the state board with written proof of employment.
9. Notwithstanding section 15-533, shall exempt persons applying for a secondary education certificate from the subject knowledge portion of the proficiency examination if the state board determines that the person has work experience in science, technology, engineering or mathematics and can demonstrate adequate knowledge of a particular subject through a postsecondary education degree or twenty-four credit hours of relevant coursework.
10. Shall allow for a certificate issued to a person pursuant to subsection B, paragraph 1, 3, 4 or 5 of this section or section 15-203 or 15-782.01, as applicable, to be both issued and renewed for at least twelve years and may not require more than fifteen hours of continuing education credits each year in order to renew that certificate pursuant to this paragraph.
11. Shall allow for a certificate issued to a person pursuant to subsection B of this section or section 15-132, 15-203 or 15-782.01, as applicable, and any endorsement or approved area related to that certificate, to be renewed at least two years but not more than ten years after that certificate expires without any other requirements adopted by the state board of education or the department of education if the person is in good standing and possesses a valid fingerprint clearance card issued pursuant to section 15-534. A certificate renewed pursuant to this paragraph shall be identical to the expired certificate.
D. The rules for certification reciprocity shall include a requirement that the applicant possess a comparable valid certification from another state and be in good standing with that other state. An applicant who possesses a valid certification from another state and a fingerprint clearance card pursuant to section 15-534 and who is in good standing with that other state shall be issued a comparable standard certificate or a comparable certificate issued pursuant to section 15-132, 15-203 or 15-782.01, as applicable, without any other requirements from the state board of education or the department of education. A person who is issued a certificate pursuant to this subsection is not required to meet any requirement prescribed in section 15-533.
E. Placement decisions of teaching intern certificate holders issued pursuant to subsection C, paragraph 1 of this section and section 15-552 shall be based on agreements between the teacher preparation provider, the provider's partner organizations and the local education agency. The practices of the department of education and the rules and policies of the state board of education may not restrict placement of teaching intern certification holders based on local education agency instructional models and may only consider the academic quality of the school, the effectiveness of the teaching intern certification holder's on-site mentor and the opportunity for a wide variety of schools and school models to access teaching intern certification holders.
F. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, the following persons are not required to have a baccalaureate degree:
1. A teacher who is otherwise exempt by law from obtaining a baccalaureate degree and who provides instruction in STEM or career and technical education pursuant to section 15-782.01.
2. A person who obtains any of the following:
(a) A Native American language certificate.
(b) A student teaching intern certificate.
(c) A junior reserve officer training corps certificate.
(d) An athletic coaching certificate.
(e) An emergency substitute certificate.
G. On or before November 15 of each year, the department of education shall report and post on its website all of the following:
1. The total number of teaching certificates issued in the previous calendar year disaggregated by the type of teaching certificate and demographics.
2. The total number of currently issued teaching certificates in this state disaggregated by the type of teaching certificate and demographics.
3. Any other historical data or trends regarding certificated individuals in this state.