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FAQ: What to Teach

  • Q: What is the process if I want to be BOTH elementary and secondary certified?

    It is recommended that students who would like to become BOTH elementary and secondary certified to:

    • Complete the elementary education coursework
    • Student teach in 7th or 8th grade (The 7th and/or 8th grade student teaching must be in the same area as the AEPA content exam for secondary)
    • Take the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) for elementary and secondary content, as well as the professional knowledge portion in both areas.

    If you are wishing for an Institutional Recommendation (IR) in both areas, please contact Rio Education Department regarding your request.

  • Q: What is the process if I want to be BOTH elementary and special education certified?

    It is recommended for students who would like to become BOTH elementary and special education certified to:

    • Take the special education track coursework
    • Take the elementary AEPA content exam, the special education AEPA content exam, and the AEPA elementary professional knowledge exam

    Please note: Rio Salado College only recommends for certification in one content area. To receive certification in the other areas, you must complete an certification application with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and submit Rio transcripts.

    If you are wishing for an Institutional Recommendation (IR) in both areas, please contact Rio Education Department regarding your request.

  • Q: What is the process if I want to be BOTH early childhood and elementary certified?

    There are four common courses between these two programs that will apply to both:

    • EDU285AA Education Program Seminar
    • EDU287AA Master Teacher Seminar I
    • EDU285AC Education Perspectives
    • EDU287AC Master Teacher Seminar III
  • Q: If I want to teach Music or Art in an Elementary classroom which program should I enroll in?

    The Arizona Department of Education recently created a new Art Education certificate. Rio Salado College will have these programs available in May 2009.

  • Q: What is meant by the content area required for secondary education?

    The content area is the specialization area for secondary education teachers (the area that the student plans to teach, i.e. Math, History, English, Spanish etc.). The ADE requires that the candidate pass a state exam (AEPA) in order to teach a particular subject area. Most school districts prefer that, in addition to the state exam, students earn or have earned at least 24 hours in the area they intend to teach.

    To view approved content areas, refer to the following document on the ADE web page (page 2). Click here for the website.

    Educator Preparation participants can order study guides for the various content areas, or download the materials from the website. To order the information students can call the National Evaluation Systems @1-800-239-8105 or you may visit the Rio Salado Library for reference books. Northern Arizona University College of Education has a review Web CT course of the AEPA Elementary and Secondary Professional Knowledge exam. For more information refer to:

    Students will be required to verify successful passage of their content area test(s) prior to beginning student teaching.

  • Q: What is it meant to be Highly Qualified in Special Education?

    Regulations in No Child Left Behind (NCLB) require that all teachers who are listed as the "Teacher of Record" must be highly qualified in that area. Having passed your special education content area AEPA (Cross Cat, LD, MR, etc.) will qualify you for either your intern or provisional certificate, however if you are the "Teacher of Record" who assigns grades to students on the report card then you must also be highly qualified in the content area in which you are assigning the grade.

    Example Situations:

    Mrs. Smith teaches an LD resource room math and reading for 5th and 6th grade students. She provides the math and reading grades for these students on their report card. Given this, Mrs. Smith must not only have her special education AEPA exam but also the elementary subject knowledge exam since she is posting grades for 5/6th graders.

    Mr. Brown teaches high school Resource Math and Biology and is the teacher of record for these content areas. He not only needs to take the AEPA Cross Categorical Subject Knowledge Exam, but will also need to take the Secondary Math AEPA exam, as well as the Biology AEPA exam.

    Ms. Jones teaches a self-contained primary ED classroom. She is the teacher of record in all subject areas. She will need to take the Elementary Subject Knowledge AEPA exam, as well, as the ED AEPA exam.

    Questions or concerns on this? Once you have been hired and know the specific areas in which you will be teaching, check with your Human Resources department to see if you are required to take additional subject area exams.