Arizona Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

Beginning with the 2014-2015 school year, around forty percent of all Arizona teachers will begin receiving performance pay. Their salary will be tied to student test evaluations asArizona schools began implementing teacher merit pay. What this means for new teachers is stricter standards in classroom performance.

For art teachers the school will likely use AIMS results in their evaluations. What this means for new teachers in Arizona is yet to be seen. One thing is certain; a higher level of expectation will be placed on teacher performance in the future. If you want to become an art teacher in Arizona, here are the steps you can take:

Earn Your Degree
Get a Passing Score on the Competency Exams
Apply for Your Certificate
Renew Your Certificate and Continuing Education



Step 1. Earn Your Degree

To be an art teacher in Arizona the first step to take is completing your necessary education. The state of Arizona offers a list of Board approved colleges that offer programs suitable for becoming an art teacher.

There are several paths to take if you want to teach art in Arizona. A bachelor’s degree is the minimally acceptable level of education. Here are three options to choose from:

  • Complete a teacher preparation program in art education from an accredited institution or a Board approved program to earn a bachelors degree in art education for grades K-12.


  • Complete a teacher preparation program in art education from an institution accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design or National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education to earn a bachelors degree in art education for grades K-12.


  • Complete 30 semester hours or art education courses including a minimum of 8 semester hours (elementary or secondary) and 12 semester hours of a practicum (elementary and secondary) in addition to a bachelors degree in another subject. Note that if you choose, you may substitute two years of verified full-time teaching experience for the twelve semester hours of your practicum.

You will need to submit a Verification of Teaching Experience form signed and completed by the District Superintendent or Director of Human Resources to verify your teaching experience.



Step 2. Get a Passing Score on the Competency Exams

After you have completed your education you will need to take your competency exams. Arizona requires that applicants for teacher certification pass both a test of subject knowledge and a test of professional knowledge.  The exams were designed to test the skill levels of art teachers to make certain they have the education required to teach art in the Arizona public schools.

In order to pursue an Art Education Certification (PreK–12) here are the following grade level appropriate tests you must take:

  • National Evaluation Series (NES) Assessment of Professional Knowledge- Elementary, plus the NES Subject Knowledge Test.
  • National Evaluation Series (NES) Assessment of Professional Knowledge- Secondary, plus the NES Subject Knowledge Test.

The NES Assessment of Professional Knowledge test will test your skills in reading, writing, math, and technology, ESL, and subject specific proficiency.

  • The test is computer-based and consists of 150 multiple-choice questions.
  • This is a three-hour test.
  • Your test date will be available by appointment (first-come, first-served basis), year-round.
  • Test fee $95.

The NES Subject Knowledge Test for both Elementary and Secondary.

  • This is a computer based, 100 multiple-choice question test with 1 case study and 1 work product writing assignment.
  • This is a three-hour test.
  • Your test date will be available by appointment (first-come, first-served basis), year-round.
  • Test fee $95.

Once you have taken your tests you may find your passing scores here.



Step 3. Apply for Your Certification

After taking the tests and passing you are ready to apply for state certification. The State of Arizona offers two phases of certification:

  • The Provisional Certification- good for three years
  • Standard Certification- good for six years

Once you pass your competency exam you are now ready to apply for your Provisional certification. The Provisional Certification is the first certificate you will apply for. Once you have this certificate and have taught in the classroom for two years, you will qualify for application for the Standard Certificate.

Appling for the Provisional Certification:

  • Complete the application certificate
  • The Certification Unit will review your application and determine if you are qualified to teach
  • Complete the fingerprint and DOJ background check
  • Mail your certificate to:Certification Unit
    PO Box 6490
    Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490

Applying for the Standard Certification:

  • You must have held your Provisional Arts Educational certificate for two years
  • Have completed two years of teaching experience
  • You must be able to verify three semester hours of Structured English Immersion (SEI) training or comparable
  • Mail a copy of your Arizona Finger Print card
  • Mail your certificate to:Certification Unit
    PO Box 6490
    Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490


Step 4. Renew Your Certificate and Continuing Education Units (CEU)

Continuing education for Arizona teachers is considered a high priority. Many teachers find that going on to pursue a higher education is not only a benefit in the classroom, it often increases their salary. Incorporating their CUE hours into a master’s degree is one way to fulfill your continuing CUE requirements.

Another way is through professional development courses. These courses are typically offered throughout the year through the school districts in Arizona. For art teachers, you may find nonprofit groups that are qualified to teach art related CUE courses. Always check with your district before enrolling to make sure they count for CEU credit.

In Arizona, you will have to renew your teaching certificate every six years. You will be required to complete forty-five hours (three semester hours) of SEI training as well as forty-five hours of Completion SEI training.

To renew your certificate:

  • Fill out the form
  • Include proof of professional development and continuing education (official transcript(s)).
  • Have your school superintendent or HR sign the form

Include $20 fee (submit an additional $60 to add the SEI Endorsement if applicable).

Mail to:

The Arizona Department of Education
P.O. Box 6490
Phoenix, AZ 85005-6490


Arizona Art Teacher Salaries

The Arizona Department of Labor does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment figures as of May 2013:

Occupation EmploymentMean salary
Elementary School Teachers24,360$42,560
Middle School Teachers9,600$43,330
Secondary School Teachers15,200$43,040


However, it’s important to note that teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Arizona Department of Labor is below:


OccupationEmploymentMean salary


Elementary School Teachers430$42,000
Middle School Teachers130$44,560
Secondary School Teachers310$47,290


Lake Havasu City – Kingman, AZ
Elementary School Teachers580$37,080
Middle School Teachers170$36,910
Secondary School Teachers330$38,370


Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ
Elementary School Teachers16,720$43,390
Middle School Teachers6,470$44,150
Secondary School Teachers10,060$43,650


Prescott, AZ
Elementary School Teachers640$38,330
Middle School Teachers260$38,910
Secondary School Teachers370$40,200


Tucson, AZ
Elementary School Teachers3,180$39,410
Middle School Teachers1,560$40,830
Secondary School Teachers2,090$39,930


Yuma, AZ
Elementary School Teachers740$37,960
Middle School Teachers200$35,860
Secondary School TeachersNot Released$41,700


The Arizona Department of Education does not set a minimum pay scale for teachers. Rather than advancing on a salary schedule as a result of seniority and educational degrees, teachers are paid according to their level of skill attainment and demonstrated student academic progress. Information on Arizona’s career ladder can be found here.

Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries in the Phoenix area comes from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
Prescott AZ
Estimate Not Released

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