To address the K-12 teacher shortage in Arizona, the University of Arizona is working to expand its Teachers Academy program, which provides waivers that cover the costs of students’ tuition and fees associated with their program of study.

More than 20 percent of teacher vacancies statewide are still open, according to a recent survey by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association. In 2017, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called on the state’s public universities to launch the Arizona Teachers Academy as part of a multipronged strategy to improve education in Arizona. During this year’s State of the State address, Gov. Ducey called for additional investments to expand the program.

Upon graduating from the academy, teachers must teach in an Arizona public school for a time equal to the number of years of funding they received from the program.

In the academy’s first year, Arizona’s three state universities collectively served 221 students within the various program offerings across the state. Enrollment projections for 2020-21 top 600 students.

At the UA College of Education, the academy funds master’s degree programs for people who already have a bachelor’s degree and want to pursue teacher certification or those who want to change careers and become a teacher.

The two eligible UA master’s degree programs, both of which are one-year programs, are:

• Teach Arizona, a secondary certification program that prepares middle and high school teachers in English, math, science, social studies and world languages in both Tucson and Phoenix.

• The Mild to Moderate Special Education Program, which prepares special education teachers for grades K-12.

A unique component of the UA program is that all academy graduates receive first-year teacher induction support, including coaching and professional development workshops led by College of Education faculty. 

The deadline to apply for the 2019-20 Arizona Teachers Academy at the UA is Feb. 28. For more information, visit