Certification and Credential FAQ's
GCU provides its Teacher Candidates with the opportunity to be involved in a student teaching/credentialing program, but does not guarantee certification. Because the programs are accredited in the state of Arizona, the College of Education follows its Institutional Recommendation (IR) verification process for successful program completion. For non-Arizona state residents, recognize that educational requirements for certification vary from state to state, so additional requirements may be necessary to receive certification in the learner's state of residence. All learners are required to check with their respective state Department of Education to determine the certification requirements of their state.
A program that leads to an IR allows the graduate of that program to be "eligible for a credential" in that specific area of study. If a program is eligible for credential, it is recognized by the Arizona Department of Education as fulfilling the course requirements for certification (e.g., a teacher certificate or principal certificate). According to the Arizona Department of Education, the purpose of an IR is to verify the completion of an approved program in order to obtain a teaching or administrative certificate. An IR must be completed and signed by the institution's designated individual.
Please be aware that some states do not refer to this form as an Institutional Recommendation. It can also be called:
- Verification of Program Completion State Approved Program Verification
- Application for Initial Educator License
- Verification of College Preparation Recommendation for Teacher Certificate
- College Verification Form
- Completion of Approved Education Program
Institutional Recommendations will be processed in the order they are received and will be sent to the learner within 10 business days of the time the request is received or the degree posts.
Q: Who is responsible for determining a learner's state certification requirements?
A: All learners are required to check with their respective state Department of Education for determining the certification requirements of their state.
Q: What should the learner ask when they call their State Department of Education?
A: "I am completing an out of state certification program; what do I need to do to obtain teacher certification in this state?"
Q: What is the process for a learner who is certifying in the State of Arizona?
A: The Grand Canyon University College of Education is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education and the Arizona Department of Education to offer Institution Recommendations for the certification of elementary, secondary, and special education teachers, and administrators. The Arizona state approved programs lead to Arizona certification and eligibility for an Arizona Institution Recommendation. To obtain certification in the State of Arizona, the learner will need to:
- Obtain an Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card
- Pass the Arizona Educator Proficiency Exam (AEPA) Professional Knowledge Exam and/or NES
- Pass the Arizona Educator Proficiency Exam (AEPA) Subject Knowledge Exam and/or NES
- Meet the Arizona and Federal Government and Structured English Immersion course requirements
- Obtain an Institutional Recommendation (IR) form which is signed by the College of Education Dean.
Q: Who can provide additional information to the learner on the Arizona certification process?
- The learner's assigned Teacher Education Specialist (TEdS) in the Office of Academic Counseling
- The learner's Field Experience Specialist
- The Arizona Department of Education
- To contact the Certification Unit by email: Certification@ade.az.gov.
Q: How does a teacher or principal candidate apply for a certificate/license through reciprocity?
A: The learner must complete all requirements for Arizona certification. Teacher certification reciprocity is a policy where one state recognizes some or all of the privileges granted by the state that granted the original teaching license. Reciprocity is not automatic; there may be additional requirements that the learner may be required to complete for their state such as additional coursework and testing.
- The learner must complete all requirements for Arizona certification.
- Teacher certification reciprocity is a policy where one state recognizes some or all of the privileges granted by the state that granted the original teaching license. Reciprocity is not automatic; there may be additional requirements that the learner may be required to complete for their state such as additional coursework and testing.
Q: How does a teacher candidate apply for an endorsement?
A: Endorsements are attachments to teaching certificates and indicate areas of specialization. Grand Canyon University does not issue endorsements. Several different types of endorsement are made available through the various State Departments of Education. Learners should contact their respective state agency to determine the range and requirements of endorsement that are offered.
Q: What states currently require learners to certify in Arizona prior to certifying in their own state?
A: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Kansas, Oregon, Texas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Utah. These states require either Full or Provisional Arizona certification prior to home-state reciprocity. Please check with your Teacher Education Specialist to ensure you have the required coursework and testing to meet those requirements.
Q: What tests am I required to take?
- Teacher candidates enrolled in an Initial Program - Leads to Initial Teacher Licensure Programs (IP/TL) beginning with the 2009-2010 Academic Catalog must pass their state-mandated basic skills and content area exams or Praxis I® (Basic Skills) and Praxis II® (Content Area ) prior to student teaching.
- Arizona residents will be required to take the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPAs) or the Person National Evaluation Series (NES) - Beginning March 1, 2013.
- Teacher candidates requiring Arizona certification in application for their local state licensure will need to complete the appropriate AEPA or an equivalent exam as determined by the Arizona Department of Education's out of state exam reciprocity requirements prior to receiving an Arizona IR. For content areas out of the approved AEPA areas, teacher candidates seeking Arizona Certification will be required to hold 24 units in the certification content area.
- Score reports for Arizona residents and those seeking initial licensure in Arizona will be accepted only if the score report documents a passing score (‘pass' or ‘passed').
- Teacher candidates residing in states that do not have state-specific mandated basic and/or content exams will be required to take the AEPA or the Person National Evaluation Series (NES) (Beginning March 1, 2013) exams or an equivalent exam.
For more information on required exams or exemptions, please contact your Teacher Education Specialist.
* Programs not intended for initial licensure will not lead to an Institutional Recommendation. Grand Canyon University will provide a Letter of Completion verifying completion of non-licensure programs.