The Iowa Teaching and Certification Resource
Similar to most states, there are quite a few pathways available to new and experienced teachers wanting to teach in Iowa. To obtain an Iowa teacher certification, there are quite a few pathway options, which are overseen by the Iowa Board of Educational Educators can vary depending on previous experience and education.
How to Become a Teacher in Iowa
There are three types of Iowa teacher certification: Initial, Standard and Master Educator. The Initial certificate is valid for two years. Once the two years of successful teaching are accomplished (based upon local evaluations), teachers may apply for a Standard License which is valid for five years. Both Initial and Standard certificates may be renewed. Teachers may also earn a Master Educator License by successfully completing five years of teaching and earning a master’s degree in the appropriate endorsement area.
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- MA in Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)
In order to be eligible for these licenses, there are certain requirements all applicants must fulfill. Like all US States, Iowa requires teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher education program at an accredited institution. Additionally, applicants are required to take the Praxis II Subject Test that evaluates basic knowledge of the desired teaching subject matter.
Teacher preparation programs consist of professional education core coursework, content subjects and a student teaching or internship placement (often referred to as the human relations component). Additionally, Iowa has a unique program of teacher internship, which allows anyone with a bachelor’s to work (on a limited basis) for one year under a Teacher Intern License while they complete the required Iowa certification coursework.
Iowa does not have reciprocity agreements with other states. However, for experienced teachers that have an out-of-state certification, it is possible to obtain an Iowa teacher certification provided that applicants fulfil the Iowa licensing requirements. Teachers licensed in states other than Iowa may apply for a provisional Iowa licensure, which is valid for one year. During this year, teachers are required to complete the coursework necessary for Iowa certification. At the end of this year, teachers will be eligible for the Initial License or a Standard License. For more information, please contact the state’s Board of Educational Educators.
- I want to be a teacher in Iowa, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Iowa’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Iowa
For anyone looking to teach in Iowa’s K-12 educational system, it is imperative to complete an approved Iowa teachers certification program in an accredited school.There are six regional bodies that accredit teacher preparation institutions in the US. These organizations are overseen by the US Department of Education, but work on a regional scale. Iowa schools are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Additionally, the Iowa Board of Education may look for an accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. This organization (a result of the recent consolidation of NCATE and TEAC) is a highly-respected marker of teacher education excellence and is recognized by the US Department of Education. While this accreditation may not be a requirement for some states, most schools apply for its accreditation because of its rigorous standards of evaluation and respected reputation.
Finding an accredited school is imperative for anyone pursuing a teaching certification in Iowa. When evaluating online teaching certification programs by schools that are based out of state (for example, University of Phoenix in Arizona), applicants should confirm that the institution is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation organizations. If this is not the case, Iowa will most likely refuse to issue an Iowa teacher certification to the applicant.
Iowa Teacher Education Requirements
As is the case with other states, Iowa has specific educational requirements for individuals who wish obtain an Iowa teacher certification. In order to obtain an Initial Teaching License, a bachelor’s degree must be acquired at a regionally accredited institution, and an approved teacher preparation program with a human relations component must be completed. After receiving a teaching license, holders must complete additional educational requirements to keep that license. In order to renew a Standard license, six credits are needed every five years, and four credits are required every five years to renew a Master Educator License.
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 2,260 annual openings in education and library related fields in Iowa through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007 respectively, the National Center for Education Statistics listed 35,961 public school and 3,410 private school teachers employed in Iowa. Iowa’s average beginning salary is $32,001 and the average overall salary is $49,844, the 26th highest in the nation according to the National Education Association. The NEA cites math, science, special education and ESL as the subjects with the greatest need for specialized teachers. Job openings in education related fields are expected to increase in the next several years due to wave of expected retirements, especially in specialized 7-12 fields such as science and math. Contact teaching and education schools in Iowa for more information on certification and the current job market. For information of education legislation and policy visit The Iowa State Education Association, the largest active teachers union in Iowa.
Iowa Teacher Testing Requirements
Iowa’s testing requirements for Iowa educator certification candidates are designed to ensure that applicants fulfill the US Department of Education’s “Highly Qualified Teacher” designation. According to Iowa statue, all Iowa teacher candidates graduating from an Iowa institution after January 1, 2013 must attain the passing score in both a pedagogy and content test before they can be eligible for licensure.
Elementary teachers must pass a Praxis II content test. However, secondary teachers are not required to pass a content test because their preparation through an education program provides them with thorough content knowledge and meets the requirements of the “Highly Qualified Teacher” status.
Additional Iowa Teacher Certification Requirements
Like all US states, anyone looking for a teaching certification in Iowa rmust submit to a state and federal background check. Initial License applicants must submit a FBI fingerprint card to the FBI lab prior to the application process. The results will be sent to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners for review.
Iowa Teachers Licensing Application Process
After completing the required steps listed above and submitting the Iowa teacher certification application, applicants should be eligible for the Initial Teaching License, which is valid for two years. After two years, teachers may apply for a Standard License, which needs to be renewed every five years.
- Submit transcripts from Bachelor’s degree coursework from a regionally accredited institution.
- Completion of an approved Iowa teachers certification program.
- Submit passing scores of the required tests (Praxis II.)
- Submit application along with non-refundable processing fee.
Board of Educational Examiners
Grimes State Office Building
400 East 14th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0147
Visit the Iowa Department of Education for further details on Iowa teachers licensing.
Iowa Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||16,010||$47,640|
|Middle School Teachers||5,860||$48,490|
|Secondary School Teachers||12,440||$46,120|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Iowa
Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Iowa?
Answer: You must earn an initial teaching certificate to become an elementary teacher in Iowa. The requirements for the certificate include having a bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher preparation program. You must also pass the state tests for teacher certification and get teaching experience, typically through student teaching in an elementary classroom.
Teaching and Education Programs
- Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction
- M.A. in Education/Secondary Teacher Education
- B.S. in Education / Elementary Education
- A.A. in Elementary Education
- And more...
- Education, MS - Teaching and Learning (Online)
- Education, MS (Online)
- Education, MS - Teaching and Learning
- Career College Administration Graduate Certificate
- And more...
- M.Ed. Teaching & Learning: History
- AA in Education (Non-Licensure)
- CERT: Preschool
- MA Teaching: Middle Grades
- And more...
- MA in Teaching: Advanced Studies in Secondary Education- National Board Preparation
- Early Childhood Education (Certification Only)
- Master of Education in Early Childhood Education
- Superintendent Letter of Eligibility (SLE)
- And more...
- MS - K-12 Studies in Education
- PhD - K-12 Studies in Education
- EdD - Curriculum and Instruction
- MS - Integrative Studies
- And more...
1. Iowa State Department of Education: https://www.educateiowa.gov/
2. Iowa Board of Educational Examiners: http://www.iowa.gov/boee/
3. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000
Page edited by Charles Sipe.