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.

Terms Used In Arizona Laws 15-501.01

  • Action: includes any matter or proceeding in a court, civil or criminal. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Administrator: means any school district administrator except a school principal who devotes at least fifty percent of the principal's time to classroom teaching. See Arizona Laws 15-501
  • Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
  • Charter school: means a public school established by contract with the state board of education, the state board for charter schools, a university under the jurisdiction of the Arizona board of regents, a community college district or a group of community college districts pursuant to article 8 of this chapter to provide learning that will improve pupil achievement. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • Full-time: means to be employed for a full school day, or its equivalent, or for a full class load, or its equivalent, as determined by the governing board. See Arizona Laws 15-501
  • including: means not limited to and is not a term of exclusion. See Arizona Laws 1-215
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • person: means an individual, partnership, corporation, association or public or private organization of any kind. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • public school: means any public institution established for the purposes of offering instruction to pupils in programs for preschool children with disabilities, kindergarten programs or any combination of elementary grades or secondary grades one through twelve. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • School district: means a political subdivision of this state with geographic boundaries organized for the purpose of the administration, support and maintenance of the public schools or an accommodation school. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • Subject: means a division or field of organized knowledge, such as English or mathematics, or a selection from an organized body of knowledge for a course or teaching unit, such as the English novel or elementary algebra. See Arizona Laws 15-101
  • Superintendent: means the superintendent of schools of a school district. See Arizona Laws 15-501
  • United States: includes the District of Columbia and the territories. See Arizona Laws 1-215

B. The state board of education shall adopt rules for the issuance of the following types of certificates for teachers to reflect the source of the training the teacher obtains:

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 5 of this section.

4. Classroom-based standard teaching certificate for persons 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 applicants for all certificates for common school instruction to 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) 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. 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.

4. Shall allow but shall not require the superintendent of a school district to obtain certification from the state board of education.

5. Shall provide for the issuance of a subject-matter expert standard teaching certificate to persons who have expertise in a content area or 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. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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, has at least ten years of verified full-time experience in this state in the area in which the person is seeking renewed certification 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.