Iowa Alternative Teacher Certification
Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. There are several alternative pathways for earning teacher certification in Iowa. If you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, see our guide to traditional certification in Iowa. If you do have a bachelor’s degree, read more about the options for alternative teacher licensing in Iowa below.
Requirements for Alternative Certification
For most pathways, the minimum requirement for pursuing alternative teacher certification in Iowa is a bachelor’s degree with a major in an endorsable subject. In addition, candidates must complete an alternative teacher preparation program. Alternative preparation programs can be completed in as little as one year as a post-graduate certificate. Candidates may also elect to pursue a master’s degree in education, or in a core subject that includes an approved certification program.
Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Iowa
Prospective teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and who want to switch careers to teaching have a variety of options. The typical alternative pathways to Iowa teacher licensing are outlined below, and you can find more detailed information through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.
Teacher Intern Program
The Teacher Intern Program, also known as the Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure (RAPIL), allows candidates to teach under an intern license while pursuing teacher preparation. Candidates for this pathway first take 12 semester hours of teaching skills coursework including 50 hours of field experience. Candidates may then apply for an intern certificate to teach for one year in a secondary school while participating in mentorship and induction as well as an intern seminar. Successful completion of this program leads to an initial teaching license. Currently three schools are approved to offer the Teacher Intern curriculum.
Provisional Career and Technical License
Those interested in teaching career and technical education subjects may be eligible for an Iowa Provisional Career and Technical License. This type of license is issued to those who have at least 6,000 hours of hands-on work experience in the endorsement area sought, or 4,000 hours plus a bachelor’s degree. Candidates must also hold an occupational license, if available in the endorsement area, and complete 30 clock hours of new teacher development during the first year of licensure. For more information, contact the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.
Testing Requirements for Iowa Alternative Certification
As of 2022, educators who completed a state-approved teacher preparation program in Iowa or another state are not required to take professional skills or content area exams in order to qualify for a license. However, candidates who completed their education outside the US will typically need to take and pass the Praxis subject assessments or an equivalent exam. For more details, consult the Iowa Department of Education website.
Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State
For experienced teachers who have an out-of-state certificate, it is possible to obtain Iowa teacher certification via reciprocity provided that applicants fulfill the Iowa licensing requirements. Teachers licensed in states other than Iowa may apply for a provisional Iowa teaching license, known as a regional exchange license, which is valid for one year while fulfilling any deficiencies for standard licensure. For more information, review our teacher certification reciprocity resource or contact the Board of Educational Examiners.
Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Iowa
The school-based certification programs below, which typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree, have been approved by the Iowa Department of Education (Educate Iowa) for the preparation of teachers. Be sure to verify that the program you choose is approved by the state; unapproved programs typically will not qualify applicants for licensure.
- Drake University (Master’s)
- Iowa State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
- Loras College (Certificate)
- Morningside University* (Alternative, Master’s)
- Mount Mercy University (Certificate)
- Simpson College (Certificate, Master’s)
- University of Iowa* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
- University of Northern Iowa* (Alternative, Certificate)
- Viterbo University* (Certificate)
*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.
- Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE): Provides detailed information and requirements on routes to licensure and approved programs.
- Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure: Guide to the main alternative certification pathway in Iowa.
- Teacher Certification Reciprocity Guide: Our guide to teaching certificate reciprocity by state.
- Educateiowa.gov: Search teacher job postings across the state of Iowa.