Licensure Reciprocity: Arizona

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: Arizona results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Arizona's policies

Arizona does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states.

Although out-of-state teachers must pass both the professional knowledge and subject knowledge portions of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA), waivers to this requirement are available that result in the state's not upholding its testing standards. Applicants may submit passing, out-of-state examination scores taken within the past seven years; teachers who passed their tests more than seven years ago must have five years of full-time teaching experience within the past seven years. Both exams may also be waived with a current certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Applicants must also verify a certain amount of Structured English Immersion training, based on when their out-of-state certificates were issued.

Teachers with valid, comparable out-of-state certificates are eligible for Arizona's Reciprocal Provisional Teaching Certificate. All out-of-state teachers must also take courses on the Arizona Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. However, they have three years to fulfill the requirement, and a test-out option is available. Transcripts are required for all applicants; it is not clear whether the state analyzes these transcripts to determine whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route or whether additional coursework will be required.

Arizona is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.


Recommendations for Arizona

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Arizona should insist that out-of-state teachers meet its own testing requirements, and it should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards.

Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
The state should offer standard licenses to certified out-of-state teachers rather than restricting them to provisional ones until they meet Arizona's requirements. Although the state requires additional coursework for out-of-state teachers, it is commended for allowing a test-out option. However, it should consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Arizona. Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment.

State response to our analysis

Arizona disagreed with this analysis, but the state offered no further information. 

Research rationale

Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at: .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).