The Phoenix metropolitan area (also known as the Valley of the Sun or, simply, the Valley) is made up of many small districts and charter schools. While most cities of a similar size have a unified school system where all of the schools within the city are governed by a singular superintendent and school board, the Phoenix metropolitan area has more than 50 individual school districts and several dozen charter schools. Our school district and charter school partners are located in the rapidly growing communities of Glendale and Avondale on the western edge of Phoenix, central city neighborhoods, and Mesa in the East Valley.
Schools in the Valley are quite unique. Most schools start the first day of school in late July and all start classes well before Labor Day. With this early start, corps members have a one to two week break in October and March and two weeks in December. The school year ends anywhere from late May to late June.
Many of our schools are not set up in a traditional elementary and middle school arrangement. Several of our schools house Kindergarten through 8th grade on a single campus. We also have some union high school districts that include several high schools governed by the same superintendent. Finally, because of the beautiful, year-round Phoenix weather, many of our schools have an outdoor campus where your classroom door opens to sunshine and views of the mountains.
Downtown and Central Corridor
Downtown Phoenix is home to many high-rises, businesses, art museums and it is where the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbacks play. ASU’s Downtown Campus has revitalized the downtown Phoenix scene with hip restaurants and fun events. The Central Corridor contains a combination of local businesses, locally owned restaurants, mom-and-pop stores and coffee shops, this area offers both historic neighborhoods and apartment living where a range of socioeconomic levels exist. Given that our teachers teach across the Valley, some choose to live in Central Phoenix because it allows them access to multiple freeways to get around the Phoenix metropolitan area quickly.
Get to know: HEROES For Students
HEROES (Helping Educators Revive Our Economic Success) For Students program, founded by Richie Ressel (Phoenix ‘10) and Chris Reina, serves to connect K-12 teachers to guest speakers in the community, from a variety of professions and fields, who can help make the material students are learning applicable to the real world. Through the program, students are exposed to diverse professions and engage in learning relevant to their futures, helping them picture what career they might like to have or field they might want to enter.
HEROES For Students started as Mr. Ressel’s vision for his students as a teacher. He was inspired to connect his students with professionals in the community to engage them in what they are learning and empower them to have big dreams. Mr. Ressel’s vision has grown into a program that serves K-12 students in communities across the Valley.
Over the summer of 2015, HEROES For Students put together an amazing community event in partnership with the Roosevelt School District and Teach For America.
If you would like to see how you can get involved, please visit heroesforstudents.org.
Subjects And Grade Levels
- Early Childhood Education (Pre-K)
- Elementary/General Education
- English/Language Arts
- General Science
- Social Studies/Government History
- Special Education
Before You Begin Teaching
In order to teach in Arizona, corps members must be able to obtain a valid Intern Certificate. To that end, corps members must:
- Pass a background check and obtain a fingerprint clearance card
- Take and pass the National Evaluation Series (NES) subject exam
- Complete 45 training hours or three course credit hours of a Structured English Immersion program (SEI)
- Enroll in a teacher preparation program
While You Are Teaching
Most corps members teach with the state's Intern Certificate for two years and then, provided they have fulfilled all coursework and testing requirements, receive the state's Provisional Certificate.
Through our partnerships with Arizona State University and Rio Salado College the majority of Phoenix corps members end their commitment as a certified Arizona teacher, with many completing their master's degree in education.
Certification Cost Breakdown
Total certification costs range from $5,602 - $25,602, depending on the teacher preparation program you choose.
- Up-Front Costs
- Fingerprints: $77
- NES Subject Exam: $190
- English Immersion (SEI) Course: $215
- Intern Certification: $120
- Ongoing Costs – Corps Members Choose One of the Following
- Rio Salado College (certification only): $5,000
- Arizona State University (certification and/or masters program): $25,000
Arizona does have reciprocity with many states for corps members who are already certified to teach in another state. If you already have a certificate, the Phoenix team will help you through the reciprocity process.