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FAQ: Beginning the Teacher Preparation Program

  • Q: Are the Rio Salado Educator Preparation Orientations mandatory?

    The Rio Salado College Educator Preparation Program in-person orientation is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. The orientation covers the Rio Salado College Educator Preparation Program options, teacher certification, highly qualified requirements, and how to get started. In-county/state students can register for an in-person orientation by visiting:

    If you reside out-of-county/state it is highly recommended that you contact a Rio Academic Advisor by phone (480) 517-8580 or by email and request an orientation DVD and materials.

  • Q: What course or courses should I take first if I am unsure which program I want to pursue: early childhood, elementary, secondary, or special education?

    All teacher prep students begin with EDU285AA. If you are unsure about the level you wish to teach, we recommend you research each area. Many Level I courses are shared in common by the elementary, secondary, and special education programs.

  • Q: What is EDU285AA and why must I begin with this course?

    EDU285AA is the first course that all educator prep students must take that prepares students for the online post baccalaureate program. It provides students with the following:

    1. Design a success plan
    2. Become aware of and understand the philosophy of the Rio Salado program.
    3. Take the Student Assessment of Academic Proficiency Test (Info provided in EDU285AA).
    4. Go through the fingerprinting process with the ADE.
    5. Set up a RioCompass account.
    6. Review and understand the ADE's Teacher Certification requirements.
    7. Identify, develop and organize the information needed to meet the Educator Preparation Program formal application requirements.
  • Q: When will Fingerprint clearance be required?

    You must apply immediately through the Arizona Department of Public Safety for fingerprint clearance in order to apply to the Educator Preparation Program. Fingerprint clearance packets may be obtained by contacting the Arizona Department of Public Safety at: Department of Public Safety Application Clearance Card Team, 2320 N. 20th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85005 (602) 223-2279 Classification takes 10-12 weeks. Specific details about fingerprinting and can be found in Get Started.

  • Q: Are all courses offered during the summer when schools are closed?

    Any Level II methods course that requires a practicum will not be available during the late Spring and beginning of the Summer I term. Therefore, you must plan accordingly. To review the most recent program plan refer to the Post-Baccalaureate website listed under Programs Offered.

  • Q: What if I have already taken some education courses at another regionally accredited college or university?

    Students with previously earned college credit can apply to the Rio Salado Educator Preparation Program Transcript Evaluation Committee and request course evaluation for possible equivalency and/or substitution. Please visit our Post-Baccalaureate site (PDF) for the Transcript Evaluation Form.

  • Q: How do I meet the United States and Arizona Constitution requirement?

    After teachers become certified in Arizona they have three years to either take a course or pass the Constitutions of the United States and Arizona AEPA (Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments) exams. (An exception to this rule is for any secondary level teacher being certified in history, government, citizenship, social studies, law or civics. For these individuals, Arizona Constitution and US Constitution must be taken within one year.) Students may take POS221 and POS222 at Rio Salado College to meet this requirement. This three year window begins upon receipt of an Emergency, Intern, or Provisional certificate.

    NOTE: This requirement may not be necessary for those students wishing to teach in another state. Each state may have a unique requirement pertaining to this element.

  • Q: Does Arizona hold reciprocity agreements with other states?

    Individuals interested in this information should check the ADE website for this information. Note: out-of-state students are responsible for verifying that the state in which they intend to teach will accept the Arizona teaching certificate.

  • Q: What is the mandate from the Arizona Department of Education for a Structured English Immersion (SEI) Provisional or Full Endorsement?

    To be eligible for an Arizona Provisional Teaching Certificate, all teachers will be required to meet the requirements for a Provisional SEI endorsement. Before applying for an Arizona Standard Teaching Certificate, all teachers must meet the requirements for a Full SEI Endorsement. The courses to satisfy these requirements are built into Rio’s curriculum (EDU220 and EDU251). For more information about SEI Endorsements, please visit the Arizona Department of Education