Elementary school teachers shape the futures of young learners by laying the foundation for their success and instilling a love for knowledge. The fulfillment that comes from making a difference in the lives of students and the joy of witnessing the transformation of young minds are priceless rewards that elementary school teachers enjoy.
The average salary of an elementary school teacher in Arizona as of May 2022 is $51,180. However, this figure is an average as salaries may differ due to various factors such as level of education, certifications, years of experience, and school districts.
In this guide, Teachers of Tomorrow explores the journey of an elementary school teacher in Arizona, shedding light on the salary expectations and requirements for licensing. We’ll also share insights on alternative certification programs and how they provide you with opportunities to kickstart your teaching career.
What Is an Elementary School Teacher?
An elementary school teacher is an educator who teaches students from kindergarten to sixth grade.
Elementary school teachers facilitate learning by employing different teaching styles to teach a wide range of subjects— mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, art, music, and physical education.
To be an elementary school teacher, you must have patience. This is because elementary school students – aged between 5 and 12 years old – are still acquiring foundational skills and may require additional time and guidance.
Children at this age thrive on interactive learning experiences. Therefore, you must be creative enough to develop fun teaching strategies such as hands-on activities and visual aids to make learning enjoyable.
The daily duties of an elementary school teacher differ depending on the state and school district but commonly include:
- Planning and preparing lessons according to the curriculum standards while considering the developmental needs of students.
- Providing age-appropriate instruction for young learners in various subjects like math, science, language arts, social studies, art, music, and physical education.
- Assessing student progress through observations, classwork, quizzes, tests, and projects.
- Providing constructive feedback to students and communicating progress with parents.
- Recognizing different learning abilities in students and providing extra assistance to struggling students.
- Managing student behavior to maintain a positive classroom environment and promote respect and participation.
- Collaborating with colleagues to share ideas and resources to enhance your teaching methods.
To be successful as an elementary school teacher, you must embrace lifelong learning. Engaging in continuous professional development activities will help you stay updated on the latest teaching methods, educational technologies, and research relevant to elementary education.
How Much Do Elementary School Teachers Make In Arizona?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the average annual salary of an elementary schools teacher in Arizona:
- Highest – $64,270
- Average -$51,180
- Lowest – $38,370
The reasons why some of the teachers may earn higher or lower in the same state may include:
- Level of education: A higher level of education demonstrates a deeper knowledge and expertise. Many school districts provide pay increments for teachers who pursue advanced degrees or additional certifications. For example, teachers with a master’s degree earn higher salaries than those with only a bachelor’s degree.
- School district: The school district in which a teacher works impacts their salary. For example, school districts with higher budgets or located in affluent areas often have more resources available for teacher salaries, resulting in higher pay. On the other hand, districts with limited funding may have lower salary scales.
- Years of experience: As teachers gain more experience, they acquire additional skills and expertise that contribute to their effectiveness in the classroom, warranting higher compensation. Therefore, school districts have salary scales that include pay raises based on the years a teacher has been employed.
Average Annual Elementary School Teacher Salary in Arizona (USD)
How to Become an Elementary School Teacher In Arizona
To become an elementary school teacher in Arizona, you must follow these steps:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree: The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. Ensure that your program includes coursework in education and provides preparation for teacher certification.
- Complete an approved teacher preparation program: All prospective teachers in Arizona must complete an approved teacher preparation program. The program can be completed as part of your bachelor’s degree or as a post-baccalaureate program and must be accredited by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE).
- Complete field experience: As part of your teacher preparation program, you must complete a specified number of hours of supervised teaching in elementary classrooms. This is aimed at providing you with hands-on teaching opportunities so you can apply the knowledge you’ve learned.
- Pass the Arizona educator exams: Arizona requires prospective teachers to pass a subject knowledge test and a professional knowledge test for teacher certification. These include the NES (National Evaluation Series) Elementary Education Subtests I and II, and the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA).
- Apply for an Arizona teaching certificate: Once you’ve completed all the educational requirements, you can apply for a teaching certificate through the Arizona Department of Education. Submit all the necessary application forms, transcripts, exam scores, and any documentation required.
- Complete fingerprint clearance: Arizona law requires all aspiring teachers to undergo a fingerprint clearance process to ensure the safety of students. You must submit fingerprints for a background check through the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
After meeting all the above requirements, you’ll be issued an elementary teaching license in Arizona by the ADE.
Remember: Ongoing professional development is essential for you to remain relevant and succeed as an elementary school teacher. Engage in workshops, conferences, and other learning opportunities to stay updated with current educational practices and continue your growth as an educator.
Alternative Certification for Elementary School Teachers In Arizona
Alternative certification allows aspiring teachers with bachelor’s degrees in a field other than education to become elementary school educators.
To become an elementary school teacher in Arizona through alternative certification, you should explore alternative certification programs offered in Arizona.
Once you meet the eligibility requirements, you must follow these steps:
- Enroll: After you’ve identified a suitable alternative certification program, apply and enroll in the program. These programs often provide a combination of coursework and practical classroom experience to prepare you for teaching.
- Complete coursework: Alternative certification programs include coursework covering teaching methods, classroom management strategies, and subject-specific instruction.
- Practical experience: Alternative certification programs encompass a practical experience component. This involves student teaching or working as a teacher in an elementary school classroom under the supervision of an experienced teacher.
- Pass state-specific exams: Candidates in alternative certification programs are still required to pass the NES Elementary Education Subtests I and II and the AEPA.
Once you have completed the alternative certification program and passed the required exams, you can apply for an Arizona teaching certificate through the ADE.
The Highest and Lowest Paying Elementary School Jobs In Arizona
Besides working in a public elementary school, certified elementary school teachers can also work in other settings, such as:
- Private schools: Private schools are funded by tuition fees paid by students’ families or other private sources. Private schools may offer different teaching philosophies or specialized programs. Generally, private school teachers may have higher earning potential than public school teachers.
- Charter schools: These are publicly funded schools that operate independently of traditional school districts. Charter schools’ salary structures may be similar to or slightly higher than public schools, but they can vary based on the school’s budget and location.
- Online learning platforms: With the growth of online education, there are various online learning platforms that offer elementary school programs. Some online teaching positions may offer part-time or contract-based work, while others provide full-time employment, and the salaries may also vary.
- International schools: Salaries in international schools can be competitive and may include additional benefits like housing, healthcare, and professional development opportunities. Compensation packages can vary depending on the school’s location, reputation, and the teacher’s qualifications and experience.
Average Salary for Each Elementary School Teaching Job in Arizona (Salary in USD)
At Teachers of Tomorrow, we can’t wait to join your journey in becoming one of Arizona’s best elementary school teachers. What are you waiting for? Only YOU can make it happen!