Education STEP Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification

STEP is the only one-year model in the Valley!

The Scottsdale Teacher Education Partnership (STEP) post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) are designed for students with a minimum of a bachelor's degree in any discipline and who would like to become certified teachers in grades K through 8.

The SCC STEP program:

  • Fulfills requirements for Elementary Teacher Certification (grades K-8) and the state Structured English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement requirement
  • Hybrid learning model (face-to-face classroom meetings and online work)
  • Statewide Live Online model for residents outside Maricopa County (all coursework is completed in a Live Online format utilizing a virtual platform)
  • A twelve-month intensive program that meets two days per week to complete coursework
  • Courses taught by experienced classroom teachers and college professors
  • Integration of college coursework and classroom experience
  • Each student cohort participates in all coursework together
  • High marketability of graduates
  • Reduced community college tuition cost
  • Program approved by the Arizona State Board of Education

STEP is the only one-year model in the Valley!

SCC offers Two Pathways to Teacher Certification

The SCC STEP program offers two pathways to teacher certification. Both pathways are designed for individuals who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.

The Traditional Pathway is geared toward the candidate who would like to work closely in the classroom with master mentor teachers while completing course work. This one-year cohort is designed as a field-based preparation program that allows students to learn to teach by working side-by-side with teachers and students in elementary and middle school classrooms. STEP students intern in school districts throughout the Valley (for students living outside of Maricopa County, see the Statewide Teacher in Residence Pathway below).

Applications are currently being accepted for the following cohorts:

  • 2024-2025 November Cohort
  • 2025-2026 May Cohort

The Teacher in Residence (TIR) Pathway is geared toward the candidate who has been substitute teaching or working as a paraprofessional and is ready to teach. This one-year cohort allows candidates to be employed full time in a classroom while completing required education courses for certification. SCC STEP partners with school districts throughout the Valley. Teachers in the TIR Pathway must be teaching in a K-8 regular classroom setting.

Applications are currently being accepted for the following cohorts:

  • 2024-2025 November Cohort
  • 2025-2026 May Cohort

As of May 2021, the Live Online Teacher in Residence (TIR) Pathway became available statewide. Arizona residents living outside Maricopa County are invited to apply. This one-year Live Online program allows students to enroll as Teacher-in-Resident candidates. Teachers in the Statewide TIR Pathway must be teaching in a regular K-8 classroom setting.

SCC STEP partners with school districts throughout the state.

Why choose Live Online?

  • Engage in real-time sessions with instructors, allowing for seamless communication.
  • Develop stronger relationships with professors and other students.
  • Ask questions and receive answers in real time.
  • Develop a deeper level of student/teacher interaction compared to On-Your-Own-Time Online instruction.
  • Enjoy active engagement and collaboration in learning by participating in breakout sessions with other STEP students.
  • Experience the essence of a physical classroom in a virtual environment.
  • Courses are offered in a Live Online format on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 – 7:30 pm.

Applications are currently being accepted for the following cohort:

  • 2025-2026 May Cohort

Apply for STEP

  • Send in your application today to reserve your spot.
  • More detailed information and forms can be found under the "STEP Applications" tab in the left-hand page menu.
  • Please email with any questions.
  • Please submit all required paperwork to Mary Ellertson, STEP Program Director, at

Acceptance into the STEP program is not guaranteed. Once the paperwork has been received, an in-person interview will be scheduled. Formal acceptance into the program will occur once all elements of the application and interview results are evaluated by the STEP Education Acceptance Committee.

STEP is proud to partner with Arizona Teachers Academy!

The goal of the Arizona Teachers Academy (ATA) is to promote education as a career and bring more qualified individuals into the classroom.

The Arizona Teachers Academy at SCC provides financial assistance to qualified candidates who are enrolled in the STEP post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program. The scholarship will pay for all tuition costs and course fees.

ATA scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis for students who meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Are admitted to the SCC STEP program
  • Have submitted a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

For each academic year the Arizona Teachers Academy scholarship is awarded, you will be expected to teach in an Arizona public or charter school. Since the STEP program crosses two academic years, you will be expected to teach in an Arizona school for at least two years.

If a candidate does not fulfill the required two years of teaching in an Arizona school, the candidate will be required to reimburse the Arizona Board of Regents for the amount of the awarded ATA scholarship for tuition and fees.

STEP Student Testimonials

See what previous STEP students have to say about the teacher certification program:

Nicholas Young: STEP Live Online Cohort 2021-2022My name is Nicholas Young, and I am a fourth-year teacher currently working in Yuma Arizona. I entered the field of education under a temporary teaching certification and am now in the process of securing my official state teaching license.

Each class that we have taken in the course has been designed with the knowledge that everyone in the cohort is currently working as a full-time teacher, and our class lessons and homework reflect this fact. Our work in the program builds off our experiences in the classroom and feels meaningful and productive, versus the random filler work that other college classes sometimes give out. In fact, there have been several times already where I have taken what we learned in our STEP classes and applied it to my current classroom and the way that I teach.

My peers in the program have been an incredible asset as well. We all come from different walks of life, yet we are all in the same position in how we are working toward our state teaching license. Right away our group bonded together and have been extremely supportive in our learning process. In the end though, the greatest part of this program so far has been the professors who have been teaching the courses. Each one of them is an experienced teacher with years spent working in classrooms and as academic coaches. They have all been very engaging and very accommodating.

Overall, I have greatly enjoyed my time in the STEP program and greatly benefitted from the content that we have been taught. I have made some great friends in the program, while also being exposed to valuable resources that teachers need to manage their classes. This program was very well organized and convenient, being fully online and accessible from anywhere in the state. I would fully recommend this program for anyone interested in becoming a teacher in the future.

Annika Himebaugh: STEP Cohort 2018-2019The STEP program was an amazing experience that has given me the confidence and skills to be a competent educator. I loved the relationships I built with my cohort and faculty. I felt supported throughout every part of my experience. Being able to take courses concurrently with in-field internships helped me develop my ability to manage a classroom and prepare engaging lesson plans.

Kate Long: STEP Cohort 2016-2017The STEP program was exactly what I needed to enter the education field. After being out of school for 30 years, I needed a jump start on learning to learn again. STEP provided me with the tools I needed to transition into being a teacher that a solely online program could not. The classroom experiences were key to my success and love for the profession.

Matt Lins: STEP Cohort 2005-2006The SCC STEP program was by far my best educational experience. The entire year was packed with learning from extremely hands-on faculty, my amazing cohort peers, and the many inspirational teacher mentors who guided me. The SCC STEP program created relationships that have impacted my career and molded me into the educator that I am today.