Frequently Asked Questions


The Arizona Center for Teacher Excellence (AZCTP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to placing qualified teachers in Arizona classrooms through alternative teaching certification.


What is the American Board?

The American Board, also known as the American Board for Teacher Certification (ABCTE), is a nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to placing qualified teachers in the classroom through alternative teaching certification.

What is the difference between the Arizona Center for Teacher Excellence and the American Board?

The Arizona Center for Teacher Excellence (AZCTP) is a division of the American Board that is specific to the state of Arizona. The Arizona program is structured differently than the American Board program in other states. To avoid confusion, we try to keep the information for AZCTP and the American Board separate (hence the two websites).

If you ever call us or email us, do not be confused if your response is from the American Board. You will receive Arizona specific information.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement to enter the program?


Does my degree need to be in the subject area I want to teach?

No. It helps, but is certainly not required.

Why do I have to pass a background check to complete your program?

A background check is required per our organization’s policies and procedures.


Do you have a campus or classes?

No. The Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation certification program is self-paced and self-guided. We provide you with the study materials, you study and take practice tests to determine if you are ready for your final exam. You can study at home, at your local library, or wherever is most comfortable for you.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program typically takes 1-2 years to complete depending on when you enroll, how long it takes to pass your exam, and when you begin teaching.

Students have 1 year to pass their Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) certification exam. Students will also need to complete 1 year of a mentorship program during their first year of teaching.

If a student fails to complete the program in that time and would like to extend their program, they can do so for $389 per 6-month extension. Please email us at for more information on extensions.

Can I work while I’m enrolled with AZCTP?

Of course! One of the most common reasons why students enroll with us rather than going back to school for their Master’s degree is the flexibility we offer. The program is self-paced, meaning you can study after work or on the weekends.

Can I begin teaching before passing my PTK exam?

Yes. In certain cases, if you meet all other Arizona state requirements (passing the NES exam and more) you can begin teaching while going through the AZCTP Classroom Qualifier program and studying for your PTK exam.

You will also be enrolled with AZCTP during your first year of teaching as you complete your mentorship and will need a recommendation from AZCTP in order to upgrade your Intern teaching certificate into a Provisional teaching certificate.

See our How It Works guide or contact us for more information on these requirements.

When can I begin the program?

Whenever you want! You have 1 year to pass the PTK exam after enrolling. This means, if you enroll on June 30, 2015, you will have until June 30, 2016 to pass your exam without paying for an extension.

As the program is self-paced, you get to choose when to begin the program. There is no class or semester to wait for to begin studying.

If I move, can I teach in another state with an AZCTP certification?

It depends on how far you progressed with your teaching license in Arizona, what subject you taught, and which state you are moving to. Contact us for further information.

What subject(s) can I teach on an AZCTP certification?

In the state of Arizona, you must pass the National Evaluation Series (NES) exam in the subject you wish to teach before teaching on an alternative teaching certification.

The following subjects have been approved by the state to be taught using an AZCTP certification:

Elementary Education 1 (II here)*
English Language Arts (ELA)
General Science
Middle School English Language Arts (ELA)
Middle School Mathematics
Middle School General Science
Middle School Social Science

Click a subject area above for information on that subject’s NES exam.

Want to teach a subject not listed above? Contact the Arizona Department of Education for information.

For all subjects besides Elementary Education and those labeled Middle School, your certification will allow you to teach grades 6-12.

*The Elementary Education NES exam is divided into two parts.

**An AZCTP certification cannot be used to teach Early Childhood Education, Special Education, or certification courses like Art. Contact the Arizona Department of Education for further information on these restrictions.


When do I take my exam?

Whenever you’re ready! Because our program is self-guided, you will be able to determine when you are ready to take your exam (especially after completing the included practice exams).

Where will I take my exam?

Exams are proctored at Pearson VUE testing centers. Pearson VUE has testing centers across the United States and many centers abroad. The exam will be conducted on a computer. Click here to find a Pearson VUE center near you.

How long will it take after testing to receive my official exam score?

The Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) exam has an essay component that is hand-graded, delaying exam results. Allow 4-6 weeks to receive the results of your exam.

What if I fail my exam?

Your exam can be retaken up to three times total. If you fail your PTK exam after 3 attempts, you will need to find another route to certification.

Do I have to pay to take my exam?

The cost of your first PTK exam is included in the cost of the program. If you fail the exam and need to retake it, you will be required to pay a fee of $195.

How and when do I take my NES exam?

A passing score on the NES exam in the subject you wish to teach is a requirement of the state of Arizona. You must pass this test before applying to teach.

We suggest studying for and taking the NES exam either before or while you study for the PTK exam so as to not delay your employment.

It is your responsibility to study for, pass, and pay for the NES exam (AZCTP is not affiliated with NES in any way). Click the subject area above for details on how and where to take your NES exam.

How and when do I complete the SEI program?

Completing the first 45 hours of the Structured English Immersion program is a requirement of the state of Arizona. You must complete these hours before applying to teach.

We suggest you complete these hours either before or while you study for our PTK program so as not to delay your employment.

It is your responsibility to sign-up for, study, and pay for this program (AZCTP is not affiliated with SEI in any way). Visit the Arizona Department of Education’s website to learn more.


How will I become paired with a mentor?

Once you are employed with the state of Arizona, you will need to contact us with details of the school you will be teaching at. We will then work with the principal of your new school to select your mentor, ensure they understand how to conduct classroom observations, and file the appropriate paperwork.

How many classroom observations are required?

6 throughout the course of the first August – May school year you teach.

What if I begin teaching in the middle of the school year?

If you begin teaching in the middle of a school year, you will be required to complete 2 additional classroom observations. For instance, if you begin teaching in January, you will complete 2-3 observations from January – May, then the remaining 5-6 observations during the next August – May school year.


Do you offer payment plans?

Yes, we offer installment payment plans for those that are unable to pay for our program at one time. For more information on payment plans, click here.

Can I use FAFSA, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or a scholarship toward the cost of the AZCTP program?

No. As AZCTP is certification based and does not offer individual courses, we are not approved by FAFSA, the Post 9/11 GI Bill, or other scholarships.

What if I change my mind? Can I get a refund?

Fees paid in full can be refunded up to 80% if a student changes their mind within 30 days of enrollment. All fees paid via installment plan are non-refundable.


Do you offer a free trial?

Yes. You can sign-up for a free one week trial here.

I think my situation may be unique. Can someone verify if I will be able to certify with your program?

Of course. Give us a call at 1-877-669-2228 (option 1) or send us an email at with any questions you may have.

I’m ready to enroll. How do I begin?

Give us a call at 1-877-669-2228 (option 1) to enroll with a representative of the Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation.

Or, Enroll Online!

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