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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 orientations are not mandatory, but are highly recommended. The orientation covers the Rio Salado College Educator Preparation Program options, teacher certification, state exam requirements and how to get started. In-county/state students can register for an in-person orientation by clicking here.
    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

  • Q: Is a formal application to the Educator Preparation Program required?

    Rio Salado College requires all students to complete an Educator Preparation Program Application to enroll in the program. For students to begin taking teacher education courses, they must submit an Educator Preparation Program Application two weeks prior to their anticipated start date. Go to the Educator Preparation Program Application to review application requirements and to submit your application.

  • Q: When will fingerprint clearance be required?

    Teacher candidates must apply immediately through the Arizona Department of Public Safety for fingerprint clearance in order to apply to the Educator Preparation Program. Fingerprint clearance will need to be completed through the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Teacher candidates will need to apply for an Identity Verified Prints (IVP) card, classification takes several weeks, apply as soon as possible. Candidates will not be admitted to the Educator Preparation Program or allowed to complete any field experience hours without a verified IVP fingerprint card on file.
    Out of state/country students must review Rio Salado College’s policy for fingerprint/background checks for participation in all field experiences, internships and student teaching.
    All in-state and out-of-state individuals must provide a valid (IVP) fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety when applying for an Arizona teaching certificate.

  • Q: Are courses with required field experience hours available during the summer months and/or when schools are not in session?

    Due to the difficulties that schools/districts have with placing students for field experiences during the end of the school year and/or the summer months, Rio Salado's Educator Preparation Program has deemed it necessary to cease offering coursework with field experience hours from mid-March to mid-August. It is recommended for students to utilize the Certification Admission Plan and Field Experience and Financial Aid Planning Calendar to assist with planning out courses with field experiences.

    Students may continue to take coursework with no field experience hours during the late spring and summer months according to block calendar schedules. Please contact your outreach specialist if you need assistance with planning your schedule to meet the guidelines for enrolling in coursework with required field experience hours: 480-517-8140.

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

    Teacher candidates with previously earned education 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 for the Transcript Evaluation Form. Please note that coursework must have been completed within the last ten years.

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

    The post baccalaureate educator preparation programs and the bachelor’s degree educator preparation pathway are designed to meet the coursework requirements for a certified educator in the State of Arizona.
    Please contact licensure or certification Boards from your state for more information.

  • 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 teaching certificate, all teachers will be required to complete Structured English Immersion coursework. Prior to applying for an Arizona teaching certificate, all teachers must meet the requirements for a Full SEI Endorsement. The course to satisfy this requirement is built into Rio Salado's teacher education program plans. For more information about SEI Endorsements, please visit the Arizona Department of Education’s website.