State Profile

School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

State Profile - Arizona

April 2018


The data included in this 50-state comparison is specific to school leader preparation program and certification requirements. There may be additional requirements that are not indicated. For additional information, questions or comments, please contact Deven Scott at

Has the state adopted leadership standards? Yes. Arizona has adopted the Professional Administrative Standards (identical to the 2015 PSEL standards). Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-603
Which state entity approves traditional school leader preparation programs? Arizona State Board of Education Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-604.01
Does state policy require school leader preparation programs to align with adopted standards? Yes. Educator preparation programs preparing candidates for administrative certification must align with the Professional Administrative Standards and relevant national standards. Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-604.01
Does state policy require field experience as part of school leader preparation programs? Yes. Educator preparation programs preparing candidates for administrative certification must provide field experience.

In addition, all educator preparation programs must include a capstone experience. A capstone experience is defined as a culminating professional experience in a P-12 setting. However, no hour requirement was found.
Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-604.01

Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-604
Does state policy allow for innovative or experimental preparation programs? No state policy found.
Certification and Licensure
What are the initial school leader certification requirements? To qualify for a Standard Professional Principal Certificate - grades P-12, a candidate must:
  • Hold a master's degree or higher from an accredited institution
  • Complete a program in educational administration for principals that includes at least 30 graduate semester hours of educational administration courses based on the Professional Administrative Standards, including three credit hours in school law and three credit hours in school finance
  • Complete a practicum as a principal or have two years of verified experience as a principal or assistant principal under the supervision of a certified principal in grades P-12
  • Hold a Structured English Immersion endorsement, an English as a Second Language endorsement or a Bilingual endorsement
  • Have three years of verified teaching experience in grades P-12
  • Receive a passing score on the principal portion of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessment.

Note: The assessment requirement may be waived with verification of three years of full-time experience as an administrator in any state, including Arizona or verification of receiving a passing score on a substantially similar administrative exam from another state.
Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-616

What are the requirements for school leaders licensed out-of-state? Out-of-state applicants holding a valid, comparable certificate issued by another state, who are in good standing with the issuing state and possess a valid fingerprint clearance card may be issued an Arizona certificate without any other requirement. Ariz. Admin. Code R7-2-621

Is there an alternative route to initial certification? The state board of education must allow for a variety of alternative administrator preparation programs with variations in program sequence and design to seek program approval. State policy provides additional requirements. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-203

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