FAQs Traditional


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FAQs - Traditional Post Baccalaureate Programs

The Post Baccalaureate frequently asked questions (FAQs) are organized in six categories:

Already Teaching

It is important that Rio Salado College approved your classroom site for this requirement. If approved, you may use your classroom to fulfill 2/3 of the required field experience hours. However, observation of a certified teacher in his/her classroom is still required. Your classroom must meet the program and course requirements. In addition, all instruction must be in-person.

All teacher candidates need to complete all field experience components. Teacher candidates in an approved educational employment setting can mentor students and teach in their own classroom. However, ALL observation requirements of the field experience must be completed in another certified teacher's classroom.

Teacher candidates who are employed and teaching in a private, traditional public or public charter school may be allowed to student teach in their own classroom. This setting excludes the support of a supervising practitioner. (This option is not retroactive—you must be enrolled in the student teaching lab and assigned a college supervisor for the 12-week placement to be valid.)

Student teaching as the Instructor of Record in your own classroom must arranged in advance, approved by the school administration, and will require weekly monitoring by a Rio Salado Program Supervisor. The principal or designee at the school will also be asked to submit a weekly progress report. There is no reduction in cost to the teacher candidate. As with all student teaching placements, you must be teaching in a classroom that matches your certification level and content area.


All Rio Salado Traditional Post Baccalaureate candidates must take and pass the AEPA/NES subject knowledge exam prior to submitting the Level II/Student Teaching Application. Special Education: Mild to Moderate Program.

Teacher candidates are also required to meet the Professional Knowledge requirement before applying for teacher certification with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). The ADE will not issue a teaching credential to anyone who has not successfully met the Subject or Professional Knowledge requirements. For more information, see aepa.nesinc.com and the Arizona Department of Education requirements for certification.

Exams are by appointment, year-round. Students must register online at aepa.nesinc.com. The student will be charged a fee to take the exam. If a person fails the certification exam, they can re-take the test until the exam is passed. There is no limit on the number of times a person can take the test. The same is true for subject knowledge area exams. Official exam scores take two weeks to a month to receive. Plan accordingly.

For testing sites go to: http://www.aepa.nesinc.com.

Rio Salado College is a testing site location.

Rio Salado College’s Educator Preparation Program does not accept out-of-state exam scores. Rio Salado College only accepts the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment or National Evaluation Series exam scores.

Many of Rio Salado College’s teacher education courses have midterms and finals. Exams can be taken at a Rio Salado College testing site and some are at-home exams.

In Secondary subject areas where no NES exam is available, your official transcripts must confirm that you have 24 credit hours in your content area (examples include: Agriculture, Sociology, and Computer Science). The Field Experience Coordinator can review your transcript for content coursework. However, the official decision on whether you meet subject knowledge requirements is determined by the ADE when you apply for certification. Candidates are strongly encouraged to verify acceptance of credit hours prior to applying for Level I coursework with Rio Salado College.

Rio Salado College will accept the following NES Mathematics exams for individual seeking the Secondary Education 6-12th grade certificate:

  • Middle Grades/Early Secondary Mathematics – teaching Algebra I, Geometry, General Mathematics, and Foundational Mathematics.
    • Mathematics - can to be placed in all levels of Mathematics in grades 6-12th.

If an NES exam is not offered in the foreign language, you may qualify for the approved area with:

  • 24 semester hours of coursework in the language; OR
  • Passing the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language (ACTFL) exam in the language (speaking/writing exams); OR
  • For Native American language teachers, by submitting verification of fluency in the language from an appropriate official from the Tribe.

NOTE: Student teaching placements are subject to LEA availability for foreign language areas where no NES Subject Knowledge exam is available. If no placements in your foreign language are available,you will need to elect another subject knowledge area to complete your placement and provide a passing subject knowledge score prior to student teaching placement approval.

The AEPA/NES provides free study guides for many of the NES exams. The AEPA/NES also has practice tests at a cost. Click here for: NES Exam preparation materials.

Teacher candidates seeking a certificate for Special Education Mild to Moderate K-12th must meet the NES Special Education exam (NT 601) requirement prior to applying for certification.

Beginning the Educator Preparation Programs

The Rio Salado College Teacher Preparation Program's in-person orientation is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. The orientation covers the Rio Salado College Teacher Education program options, teacher certification, highly qualified requirements and how to get started. Register for an in-person or virtual orientation.

To participate in any classroom field experience, you must apply immediately through the Arizona Department of Public Safety for and IVP fingerprint clearance. The IVP fingerprint clearance card must be submitted with initial program applicant for all programs.

View additional information on Rio Salado College's Clinical Practices Fingerprint Clearance website.

Courses with required field experience hours are NOT OFFERED during the late Spring or Summer terms. Teacher candidates should plan accordingly. To review the most recent program plan, refer to the Post Baccalaureate website listed under "Programs Offered."

Students with previously earned college credit can apply to the Rio Salado Teacher Education Transcript Evaluation Committee and request course evaluation for possible equivalency and/or substitution.

Transcript Evaluation Form

To be eligible for an Arizona Standard Teaching Certificate, all teachers are 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, visit the Arizona Department of Education.

Completing the Program

If a candidate has been approved by ADE to waive the student teaching portion of the program, you the candidate will work directly with ADE to request a teaching certificate and follow the application for certification requirements as outlined on the ADE website.

Applicants who have completed the entire Educator Preparation Program, including student teaching, will be provided an Institutional Recommendation (IR) and directions for how to finish the process through the ADE online portal.

Teacher candidates will also receive an Award of Completion from Rio Salado College to show that they successfully completed the post baccalaureate program. Please refer to Rio Salado's Commencement website to participate in commencement if you have completed Rio Salado's full program, including student teaching.

Rio Salado College has established educational partnerships with other institutions of higher education. These educational partners are regionally accredited institutions of higher learning.

Through these special partnerships, up to 18 credit hours of the Rio Salado state-approved Post Baccalaureate Educator Preparation Program can be applied toward a master’s degree program.

Note: Courses transferred into Rio Salado College's Post Baccalaureate Program may not be allowed as transfer courses to the master’s degree programs.

More information on master's in Education degrees

Field Experience

A field experience is an important component of the certification process and are a required for the Rio Salado program. The field experience is an essential part of Rio Salado's Educator Preparation Program because it provides practical, hands on experience within an approved PreK-12 classroom setting.

Field experience hours cannot be waived. There are three to four elements to the field experience depending on the course. They are:

  1. Classroom observation
  2. Participation
  3. Personal reflection
  4. Teaching a class (not required in Level I courses)

To apply to the Educator Preparation Program, teacher candidates must apply immediately through the Arizona Department of Public Safety for fingerprint clearance. Fingerprint clearance needs to be completed through the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Teacher candidates need to apply for an Identity Verified Prints (IVP) card. Classification takes 10-12 weeks. Apply as soon as possible.

A mentor teacher or a teaching professional is the teacher of record in the classroom and supports students through the field experience. The mentor allows students the opportunity to learn from and work in their classroom, provides constructive feedback about teaching skills and strategies, and offers suggestions and ideas to help students succeed in the teaching profession.

Students are required to submit an online request for Field Experience placements within seven days of the course start date. Students can access the Online Field Experience Request Portal in their course syllabus. Any student who has concerns or needs assistance with the online request process may contact their outreach specialist at 480-517-8140 or at teacher.ed@riosalado.edu

Students cannot begin field experience hours until the request has been formally approved. When approved, it is the student's responsibility to schedule the days and hours of the field experience with the school and mentor.

Teacher candidates are required to enter in the Online Field Experience Request Portal three schools in the area where they would like to complete their field experience. Teacher candidates must complete their field experience at a private, public or charter school that provides instruction in-person.

Please note that districts/schools receive requests from other institutions for field experience and student teaching placements, so the school and/or mentor elected may not be available. If a district/school does not approve a placement, the teacher candidate must accept this decision. This decision is final. The Online Field Experience Request Portal will automatically move on to the student's alternate school choices. If by the third choice, there is no availability, Rio will identify an appropriate placement concerning the teacher candidate's request and content area.

If a teacher candidate refuses to accept the placement, the teacher candidate will forfeit the placement, will not be placed at another choice, and will fail the course. The teacher candidate also jeopardizes the ability to select a district/school in the future. All forfeits will be documented in the teacher candidate's file.

Rio Salado needs a minimum of 21 days to arrange placement.

Teacher candidates employed as the teacher in their own classroom must complete a request via the student portal but are provided with an option to mark a box indicating that they will use their own classroom to meet the participation hours. The teacher candidate in their own classroom is required to observe a mentor teacher, therefore, a mentor teacher's name and email is required on the student portal. Observation hours may never be completed within the teacher candidate's own classroom. The mentor teacher's information will be used in the final verification for completion of the required hours. All participation and observation hours must be documented by the teacher candidate.

These requests require additional time and effort so the sooner the student can submit their information the better. Overseas students must identify whether their school is a Department of Defense School or an American School and through what agency the school is accredited. If the school is a DoDDs school, there are additional requirements that must be met. Field experience and student teaching placement requests may take up to 12 weeks. If this applies to you, please complete the following Forms for student teaching only and contact the Field Experience Coordinator for more information: student.teaching@riosalado.edu

It is the student's responsibility to arrange time to complete all field experience hours. Please keep in mind when requesting time off work to complete hours that most schools operate Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Rio Salado’s Educator Preparation Program does not provide an option for competency based evaluations. All coursework must be completed regardless of prior teaching experience.

Schools/districts have indicated they will not approve a field experience placement if a teacher candidate has a child who attends or a relative who works at the site. In addition, schools/districts may decline placement for reasons such as: disruption of classroom instruction, favoritism towards classrooms/students/child, biased teacher candidate field experience evaluations, etc.

Teacher candidates cannot use a Mentor Teacher more than twice for field experience. However, a teacher candidate may use the same mentor for the approved student teaching experience.

Teacher candidates cannot overlap or use the same hours for two different field experience requirements. Please ensure that all hours are annotated for the specific field experience in progress. Do not combine the hours or use the same hours for two different classes. If a teacher candidate violates this policy, they will be asked to redo their entire field experience.

Student Teaching

The term prior to your anticipated student teaching start date, you are required to enroll in EDO100-102 – Student Teaching Orientation. This course is a non-credit course with a course fee. The online orientation is an opportunity to learn about the requirements and expectations associated with the student teaching experience. Additional questions may also be addressed to the EDO100-102 course Instructor or to the Field Experience Coordinator at student.teaching@riosalado.edu.

  • ADE - Arizona Department of Education – The mission of the ADE is to serve Arizona’s education community, ensuring every child has access to an excellent education. The agency executes the policies of the State Board of Education and the State Board of Vocational and Technological Education - implementing state academic standards; administering statewide assessments; disseminating information; administering and allocating federal and state funds; and providing program improvement assistance to schools and districts.

    The Educator Certification department is part of ADE. Its Mission: To certify qualified persons as education professionals who provide high quality education and to protect the safety and welfare of Arizona's students. The Certification subprogram consistently and accurately enforces the State Board of Education rules and regulations and state statutes governing the certification of professional educators in the state. For more information: www.azed.gov/educator-certification/
  • Arizona Educator Assessments (AEA) -State mandated exams required by the Arizona Department of Education for teacher certification. There are two exams required for certification: 1)Subject Knowledge – measures content knowledge of a specific subject area as defined by the Arizona Academic Standards; 2) Professional Knowledge - measures pedagogical knowledge and skills. Find more information on the ADE website or at www.aepa.nesinc.com
  • Supervising Practitioner (SP) –an appropriately certified educator, currently employed by a local education agency, private agency or other PreK-12 setting who supervises the candidate during a student teaching capstone experience. The Rio Salado SP is:
    • adequately trained by RSC for their work as a SP and
    • must hold a minimum of three years of teaching experience and
    • a current classification as a highly effective classroom teacher
    • The SP is expected to support the student teacher throughout the capstone experience and provide opportunities for the student to learn from and work in his/her classroom, provide constructive feedback about teaching skills and strategies, and offer suggestions and ideas to help teacher candidates succeed in the teaching profession.
  • Program Supervisor (PS) - an educator from the professional preparation institution who oversees a teacher candidate’s progress during a capstone experience/student teaching. The program supervisor’s professional work experience must be relevant to the certification the candidate is seeking. Rio’s program supervisors will assist to clarify program expectations, mediate conflicts and submit all pertinent evaluation paperwork related to the student teaching experience.
  • Education Liaison (EL) – Personnel at Rio Salado College, who hire, train and support the Program Supervisors.
  • Field Experience Coordinator (FEC)– Personnel at Rio Salado College who contact the districts/schools to coordinate student teaching placements for teacher candidates in Rio Salado College’s Educator Preparation Programs. When a placement is confirmed by the school/district, the FEC verifies that the proposed placement matches the certification/content area requirements, enrolls the teacher candidate in the appropriate student teaching course and then informs the teacher candidate of the details of the student teaching assignment. The FEC also alerts the Education Liaisons to assign a Program Supervisor. The Field Experience Coordinator verifies all requirements have been met prior to the placement start date and cancels the placement if they have not. At the completion of the student teaching, the FEC completes your Institutional Recommendation.
  • Institutional Recommendation (IR)* – A document that serves as your application for your provisional teaching certificate. The IR verifies teacher certification requirements have been met in a state-approved program without requiring the teacher candidate to provide official transcripts to the ADE. The IR saves the teacher candidate both time and money in the certification process, reducing the fee for your certification and same-day certification if you go in-person to the ADE. This is available to you following completion of your student teaching assignment and Rio’s receipt of the documentation from your Program Supervisor.
    • *Individuals who do NOT complete student teaching through Rio Salado College are not eligible for an Institutional Recommendation and will not be considered a Program Completer.
  • Student Teaching - a minimum of 12-weeks of rigorous field-based experiences, appropriate for the certificate the candidate is seeking,performed under the direction of a Supervising Practitioner and a Program Supervisor. The student teaching placement must be appropriate for the certification and content the applicant is seeking.
  • Student Teaching Assessment Tool (STAT) - The tool developed by Rio Salado’s Educator Preparation Program which is utilized throughout the different stages of the student teaching experience.
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) - A process of determining appropriate support, academic or behavioral interventions to supplement the curriculum and meet the needs of all learners. 
  • Local Education Association (LEA) - A commonly used synonym for a school district, charter, or private school.

Student Teaching Application Deadlines

  • Fall (August or September), you must be admitted to Level II by January 1st of that year so that your placement can be considered before schools close for the summer and to meet block calendar requirements.
  • Spring (January or February) you must be admitted to Level II by August 1st of the prior year to allow enough time for the placement.

It is important to give each LEA sufficient time to identify an appropriate student teaching placement. Even if you meet these time requirements, Rio cannot guarantee that a placement will be available with your choice of district, school, grade level, and/or teacher. Changes to your original request can be made if submitted by these timelines.

Student Teach in Fall (August or September) – teacher candidate must be admitted by January 1st of that year

Student Teach in Spring(January or February) – teacher candidate must admitted by August 1st of prior year

Rio teacher candidates must meet the following requirements to be eligible for student teaching:

  • Be formally admitted to Level II of Rio Salado’s Educator Preparation Program at least six months prior to student teaching. Teacher candidates are encouraged to review the Formal Admissions/Student Teaching Application requirements.
  • Hold an overall 3.0 GPA or better in all Educator Preparation Program coursework
    • (including transfer credit and prior Educator Preparation Program coursework). Final grades of “D” or “F” will not be accepted in the 3.0 policy and must be retaken regardless of a teacher candidate’s current GPA. Teacher candidates falling below a 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. Teacher candidates with less than a 3.0 GPA in program coursework will not qualify for student teaching until courses have been satisfactorily retaken to achieve a minimum 3.0 GPA.
  • Complete ALL Level II courses by the Block Calendar end date.
    • All Level II courses must be completed by the block calendar end date, course end date extensions beyond the end date of the block will not be permitted. Requesting a course end date extension for your remaining Level II courses will jeopardize your student teaching assignmentIn addition, Rio Salado College will be unable to register you for your student teaching course until your block end date has passed for your remaining Level II coursework. For more information concerning the block calendar, please go to: www.riosalado.edu/calendar
  • Have a passing score report for the appropriate Subject Knowledge AEPA/NES exam prior to applying for Level II.
    • It is recommended that the exam be taken as early as possible to provide time to re-take the exam if necessary. When AEPA/NES scores are available, they are electronically sent to Rio Salado College if you list Rio Salado as a recipient when you take the tests. Information and registration for the AEPA/NES is available at: www.aepa.nesinc.com. Special Education: Mild to Moderate Program no longer requires a passing subject knowledge exam

Rio Salado College does not accept Praxis or comparable out of state Subject Knowledge exams to meet this requirement. 

Rio Salado College's academic calendar is divided into 16-blockseach term. Each block is 16-weeks long. When registering for classes at Rio Salado College, you select a start date for your classes. Your start date will determine your block for that term. You will take all of your classes within your block's start and end dates.

There are two terms available for student teaching: fall and spring. Your student teaching course cannot be in the same block as your Level I or Level II courses. Should you elect to add a course not listed on your program plan, please contact the Field Experience office as this may impact your student teaching start date.

See Post-Baccalaureate Secondary Program EXAMPLE:


SemCourseField ExperienceCredits6/8 wk10/14 weekCourse Start DateCourse End Date

Fall 2019EDU270AB10 hours3 X8/19/1911/23/2019

Fall 2019EDU27420 Field Experience Hours3 X8/19/1911/23/2019

Fall 2019EDU289XX20 Field Experience Hours2 X8/19/1911/23/2019

Fall 2019EDU287ACNone1X 9/3/1910/12/2019

Fall 2019EDU289None1X 9/3/1910/12/2019


SemCoursePracticum/No PracticumCreditsPlacement LengthCourse Start DateCourse End Date

Spring 2020EDU288ABStudent Teaching812 week placement depending on school/state1/13/20204/18/2020

If all Formal Application into Level II requirements have been met, teacher candidates can submit the Student Teaching Placement Request via the Online Field Experience Request portal. Should you incur difficulties submitting the Student Teaching Placement Request, contact your assigned Outreach Specialist at (480) 517-8140. Once you have successfully submitted your student teaching placement request, you will be provided Level II clearance and can register for your Level II courses.

Rio Salado’s approved programs require a minimum 12-week, full-time student teaching component for most certification areas. 12-week (60 instructional days) student teaching placements parallel with Rio Salado College’s academic calendar, not the school’s grading period. In some schools/districts and states, you will be required to student teach for more than 12- weeks – 14 or even 18- weeks in some instances. Variations in the length of student teaching may also be dictated by the ADE requirements for certification.

Student teaching is a full-time requirement, teacher candidates are expected to mirror the same schedule as their assigned Supervising Practitioner. As a rule of thumb, plan to be at the school 30-minutes prior to the first bell ringing and 2-hours after the last bell rings. You will need to plan on staying after the last bell rings to go over lesson planning with your Supervising Practitioner. It is the goal of Rio Salado College and the LEA to cause little disruption to the Supervising Practitioner’s classroom and instruction as possible. In addition to completing observation and teaching in the classroom, the teacher candidate will also spend time outside of the classroom developing lesson plans, designing units,creating a portfolio, and completing the assignments in the student teaching course.

Rio Salado College students accustomed to weekly start dates in their Rio online courses are sometimes surprised that student teaching is not so open-ended. Student teaching start dates are only offered in August, September, January, and February. Most Arizona schools do not offer a regular 12-week quarter in the summer months; therefore Arizona summer placements are not available. Variations to these dates can be made based on placement availability, not based on your convenience.

Costs include but are not limited to:

  • Tuition for the required credit hours (4-12 credits, varies by certification requirements in your content area). To view Current Tuition Rates.
  • Course fee $525.00.
  • Registration fee $15.00.
  • Cancellation Fee: Students cancelling a confirmed student teaching placement or not meeting the student teaching requirements after a confirmed placement has been approved, are assessed a $200.00 rescheduling fee.

*Fees are subject to change.

Teacher candidates residing and completing student teaching in Arizona are not required to complete a student teaching application with the Arizona Department of Education. 

Teacher candidates who want to teach in middle grades may choose to be certified as either Elementary or Secondary teachers, and then add on Middle Grade eligibility.

  • Secondary Certificate Candidates, are eligible to teach grades 6/8 in the content area (math, language arts/reading, science or social studies) that matches your passing score in an NES secondary content area. To be highly qualified to teach grade 5, a secondary teacher must also pass the Middle Grades NES and complete the Middle Grade Endorsement coursework.

Elementary Certificate Candidates,must pass the Elementary Subject Knowledge NES first, and then add middle school eligibility by passing the middle grades NES in your preferred content.

  • Elementary student teaching cannot be approved in a single subject 6-8th grade classroom. Elementary K-8 applicants may student teach at any grade level K-8 as long as all core subjects are being taught.

Foreign schools must be approved by Rio Salado College, and the Supervising Practitioner must hold a U.S. teaching certificate. ONLY those schools accredited by an approved regional American accrediting body will be requested. Rio Salado College must have the school name, website, and accrediting information for the requested school, so Rio Salado College can review this for approval.

Rio Salado College is a participating college with a student teaching agreement in place with DoDDS. Applicants who desire a student teaching placement in a DoDDS school are required to follow all policies and practices of both Rio Salado College and DoDDS.

  • Student teaching requests must be submitted on a DoDDS form, sent to Rio Salado College for a signature, and then forwarded by RSC to DoDDS.
  • All application materials must be submitted by DoDDS deadlines. Please contact the Field Experience Coordinator at least 6 months in advance from your anticipated start date to have your forms submitted before the application deadline.
  • DoDDS deadlines for receipt of completed student teaching applications signed by the college are April 30th for Fall placements, and October 31st (of the previous year) for Spring placements. (DoDDS Paperwork must be received at least 30 days prior to the above listed deadline)

NOTE: Government employees cannot receive salary compensation while student teaching.

Teacher candidates already teaching in a private, public charter school, or public LEA , may be able to student teach in their own classroom with the approval of the district and RSC. Candidates who choose this option will not be assigned a Supervising Practitioner but will instead be monitored weekly by a Program Supervisor from RSC. Q: Can a request for student teaching be changed?

If you have not already been placed in a student teaching assignment and a student teaching placement request has not been submitted to a school/district by a Field Experience Coordinator, you can contact the Field Experience office to request a change be made. Please submit an update as soon as you identify that you want to select a later start date or a different district, school, grade or teacher from your original request. When making a placement request, the Field Experience Coordinator will use the most recent information.


  • Failure to Meet Program Requirements:
    • If you are placed for a student teaching assignment and do not meet eligibility requirements in time (overall 3.0 GPA; passing Subject Knowledge), Rio Salado College will cancel your student teaching placement, charge a rescheduling fee of $200.00, and a new student teaching application will be required. 
    • A new request will not be submitted until ALL program requirements are met. Therefore, the placement may be delayed as much as six months.
  • Change in Plans or Decline a Placement:
    • If you cancel or decline your student teaching placement after your placement has been approved by a school/district, you will be charged a $200.00 rescheduling fee. Declining a placement based on grade level, Supervising Practitioner, and/or school assigned will also result in a $200.00 rescheduling fee. If you cancel or decline a placement, you are not guaranteed the opportunity to student teach in the same district or with the same Supervising Practitioner as you originally requested. Since most student teaching requests are placed through the Human Resources Department, meeting your student teaching time commitment is important - you do not want to appear unprofessional or unprepared to these key personnel in school districts where you may want to apply for employment.

It is teacher candidate’s responsibility to carefully research other state requirements and verify that the state approved teacher education program from Rio Salado College will satisfy requirements. Although Arizona,through NASDTEC, has reciprocal teacher certification agreements with most other states in the U.S., it is the teacher candidates’s responsibility to verify current policies and transfer ability agreementsRequests for verification of program completion are often required by other states (similar to an Institutional Recommendation). If you have met Rio Salado College’s program requirements (including student teaching), requests should be sent to the Field Experience Coordinator at Rio Salado College. Allow at least two weeks, from the time of receipt, for these to be completed.

Teacher candidates seeking a Special Education Mild to Moderate certificate must complete their student teaching assignment in a classroom that serves students with disabilities who have mild to moderate needs and require mild to moderate support. Students with disabilities that are mild to moderate in nature include those with mild to moderate autism, intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury, emotional disabilities, specific learning disabilities,orthopedic impairments, and/or other health impairments. Please keep this in mind when requesting placement in a Special Education classroom.Typically students that have disabilities that are Mild to Moderate may receive services in an inclusive classroom, resource classroom, and/or the self-contained classroom (within the public school setting). Students seeking a Mild/Moderate Special Education Certificate will be required to seek a student teaching placement in one of the above classroom settings.

To ensure alignment with the expectations of the Arizona Department of Education, final placements for the Mild to Moderate student teaching experience are at the discretion of Rio Salado College's Educator Preparation personnel.

*NOTE: Individuals who will be teaching in a K-8 special education classroom and are listed as the “teacher of record” may also be required to complete the Elementary Sub tests I and II by the hiring school/district.

If you have two years of verifiable, continuous teaching experience, you can choose to waive the student teaching requirement and apply directly to the ADE for the Standard Teaching Certificate. If you are opting to waive student teaching, you must verify acceptance with the ADE prior to applying for a teaching certificate. By waiving student teaching, you have NOT completed Rio Salado College’s Educator Preparation Program. Before making this choice, consider the following:

  • Should you need verification of program completion in the future, Rio Salado College will be unable to provide this necessary documentation in-state or out-of-state.
  • If you leave Arizona, waiving student teaching could prevent you from getting certified/licensed in another state.


  • The information in this document is subject to change based on the Arizona Department of Education regulations and Rio Salado College requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to make certain they are meeting the most recent program and/or certification requirements for the state where they are applying for teacher certification.