Iowa Teacher Colleges and Degrees Online Guide

For aspiring teachers looking for a teaching degree in Iowa, the school guide below is intended to provide information on finding a program that meets their individual needs and career goals. There are many teaching schools in Iowa that offer quality programs that prepare students to enter into the education sector. Listed below, you’ll find lists of top-rated teaching programs, a table of accredited, state-approved teacher preparation programs, and student reviews to help make the decision process a bit easier for future teachers.

Quick Facts

  • There are 37 colleges and universities with teacher degree programs in Iowa.1
  • 5 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in education.*1
  • 33 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in education.*1
  • 24 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in education.*1
  • 7 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.2
  • 1 school ranked in Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Education Majors 2020.3
  • 4 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Programs 2019.4
  • 6 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs 2019.5
  • 4 not-for-profit teacher programs are accredited by the NCATE, TEAC, or CAEP.

*For not-for-profit colleges and universities with teacher degree programs.

Top-Ranked Schools with Education Programs in Iowa

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019*

  • Grinnell College (#27)
  • Drake University (#134)
  • Luther College (#174)
  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology (#183)
  • Cornell College (#198)
  • Coe College (#259)
  • University of Iowa (#280)

*Institution-wide ranking.

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Education Majors 2020

  • Cornell College

US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Programs 2019

  • University of Iowa (#50 tie)
  • Iowa State University (#78 tie)
  • University of Northern Iowa (#151 tie)
  • Drake University (#182 tie)

US News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs 2019

  • University of Iowa (#5 tie)
  • Graceland University (#89 tie)
  • Iowa State University (#89 tie)
  • Northwestern College (#105 tie)
  • Morningside College (#210 tie)
  • Buena Vista University (#228-299)

School Programs for Becoming a Teacher in Iowa

Comparison of Teacher Preparation Programs

We have designed the following table to help you compare teacher preparation programs in Iowa according to various factors. All of the schools included are not-for-profit institutions approved by the Iowa Department of Education for the preparation of teachers. Completing a state-approved teacher preparation program is an important step towards earning licensure.

While accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is not a requirement for licensure, it is included in the following table as CAEP provides a highly-regarded accreditation that is accepted in many states. Read more about the CAEP, NCATE, and TEAC accrediting bodies. We have also included rankings from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a research and policy group that scores teacher preparation programs at the national level using key standards chosen to measure students’ preparation for success in teaching. For further information on the NCTQ’s program rankings, please see the notes below the table.

You will also find data on teacher preparation program enrollment, completion, and licensing exam pass rates by institution for the 2017-2018 academic year in this table. These data points are collected from annual US Department of Education records under Title II (Teacher Quality) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which provides for reporting that holds institutions and state departments of education accountable for increasing academic achievement through improvements in teacher quality.

Programs that are not ranked, or for which data is not available, in a given category are denoted as “-“.

State-Approved SchoolCAEP Accred.?6NCTQ Undergrad Elementary Prog. % (2016)**7NCTQ Undergrad Secondary Prog. % (2017)**7Teacher Prep Prog. Enrollment8Teacher Prep Prog. Completers8Licensing Exams Pass Rate8Net Price***1
Briar Cliff UniversityNo7%16%4016$18,409
Buena Vista UniversityNo54%67%346134$20,016
Central CollegeNo79%87%10026$22,825
Clarke UniversityNo54%57%4225$26,909
Coe CollegeNo98%8833$21,733
Cornell CollegeNo38%52%2618$27,009
Dordt CollegeNo47%89%19640$25,688
Drake UniversityNo252112$28,277
Emmaus Bible CollegeNo356$13,021
Faith Baptist Bible CollegeNo91%176$15,272
Graceland UniversityNo68%74%10488$18,302
Grand View UniversityNo92%49%5231$18,442
Grinnell CollegeNo236$29,492
Iowa State UniversityNo92%94%729356$13,949
Iowa Wesleyan UniversityNo11%1918$25,003
Loras CollegeNo45%7328$19,583
Luther CollegeYes86%64%10154$26,013
Morningside CollegeNo25%52%10654$22,147
Mount Mercy UniversityNo79%90%3425$22,429
Northwestern CollegeYes47%89%16550$23,335
Saint Ambrose UniversityYes95%92%23852$24,940
Simpson CollegeNo76%86%15273$22,511
University of DubuqueNo22%6731$22,822
University of IowaNo98%98%408195$14,845
University of Northern IowaNo1,912427$15,942
Upper Iowa UniversityNo18264$23,525
Wartburg CollegeYes88%76%9545$22,976
William Penn UniversityNo17%34%6336$20,214

*The NCTQ rated undergraduate elementary teaching programs in 2016 and undergraduate secondary teaching programs in 2017 by national percentile based on their overall scores on the NCTQ’s standards for teacher education. Schools that do not provide data on all key standards or that fall below the top 50% of schools nationally are not included by the NCTQ in their ratings. Visit the NCTQ website for more information on its standards and methodologies.
**Net price is per year for undergraduate tuition as calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics based on the cost of attendance (tuition, books, room and board, and related expenses) for students who qualify for in-state tuition and fees, less the average financial aid award (including grants and scholarships).

Profiles of Well-Known Schools

Iowa State University: Iowa State University is a public university located in Ames, Iowa. The university is home to several thousand students, many of which are studying education. The ISU School of Education is dedicated to preparing the educators of today and the future with innovate classroom instruction and plenty of time spent out in the field for undergraduates to get exposed to the rigors and methods of teaching and educating. The elementary education major is far and away the most popular at the undergraduate level at the institution. All coursework is grounded in humanities and social sciences so that students get a well-rounded education that expands their worldview. The graduate offerings are designed for current educators wanting to increase their education and skills in order to advance or change career direction. Graduate degrees are offered for a variety of academic areas including k-12 instruction, administration, leadership, counseling, technology, and policy.

University of Iowa: The College of Education at University of Iowa is known for its stellar reputation for research and instruction. The mission of the College is to develop reflective professionals that are scholarly minded in the areas of research, best practices and theory who can apply what they know to the benefit of society. The College is currently undergoing dramatic changes to its structure and curriculum as the winds of change are altering the landscape of education in this country. The University of Iowa was founded a mere 59 days after Iowa became a state. The school’s rich tradition in education goes back to it nascent beginnings as five of the first six degrees conferred by the institution were in education. The University of Iowa holds the distinction of creating the country’s first permanent college-level education department. Today the College of Education confers several degrees in dozens of majors at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College is currently engaged in focusing its resources on STEM education in rural locations in partnership with other state institutions and agencies.

Schools with Teaching Degree Programs in Iowa

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Briar Cliff University
3303 Rebecca St
Sioux City, IA 51104
(712) 279-5321

Buena Vista University
610 W 4th St
Storm Lake, IA 50588
(712) 749-2400

Central College
812 University
Pella, IA 50219
(641) 628-5286

Student Review: “Central College was an excellent educational experience for me. In studying to be an educator, I felt that Central provided many opportunities to grow in that field. Early in my major, I was able to be a part of the Teacher Academy, in which you are paired with a mentor teacher in the community and allowed to work in that classroom for the remainder of your studies. I did my student teaching in that classroom too, which gave me a leg up when I started my career. I was also able to study abroad for a semester and still graduate in four years. During my time in London, I was placed in an international school which provided amazing experiences and added to my strong resume. Central College professors and programs were the perfect combination to help me start my education and they prepared me wholly for the educational workforce.” -Student at Central College
Student Review: “I believe my teacher preparation program was successful in providing me experiences that I needed to become successful in my own classroom. The professors held all of us to high standards, which provided me with an extra sense of accomplishment along with my degree completion. For example, when I started there were eight of us who wanted to be secondary science teachers. Only three of us actually made it to and completed student teaching. The process was so rigorous that to have a degree and teaching licensure from Central College actually means something, especially when compared to some of the other teacher preparatory programs in the state of Iowa. Our professors not only worked with us as their students but by the time we got to student teaching, they treated us like colleagues. I felt like they were truly invested in me as a person, not just a number.” -Student at Central College

Clarke College
1550 Clarke Dr
Dubuque, IA 52001-3198
(563) 588-6300

Cornell College
600 First St SW
Mount Vernon, IA 52314-1098
(319) 895-4000

Student Review: “There are many wonderful aspects to the Education program at Cornell College. To start, the classes are small (10-25) so you have the opportunity to ask your questions and personally try out the techniques you are taught. The staff are all full professors and are understanding, helpful, and energetic. The program combines theory and history of education with practical techniques for lesson planning and classroom management. My least favorite aspect of the program is that they at no point tell all of the aspiring teachers that it is currently nearly impossible to get a teaching job in Iowa, where you end up licensed, and they don’t really offer help with other licensing questions unless you know what to ask.” -Student at Cornell College

Dordt College
498 4th Ave NE
Sioux Center, IA 51250-1697
(712) 722-6000

Drake University
2507 University Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311-4505
(515) 271-2011

Student Review: “The practical side of Drake University’s teaching program was terrific, but I felt the instructors in my first year of the program to be lacking in abilities. To be brutally honest, the introductory classes were way too easy to navigate. I don’t mind easy classes, but these almost seemed to be a waste of my money. Usually, our assignment was to read a short chapter filled with anecdotes about teaching and then write a reflection on it. The readings were usually interesting, but they did little to teach me about teaching. I did, however, love the practical aspects of Drake’s teaching program. I had a fantastic interaction with my practicum teacher, and the 100 hours I spent in a classroom were extremely helpful when I asked myself tough questions such as: Do I really want to do this? I had the chance, on multiple occasions, to work with real students struggling with real problems, and I learned more from that than in any class. In my final year of study, I had three incredible professors who really made the program worth my time, so I will say that the program at Drake is improving.” -Matthew N., student at Drake University

Emmaus Bible College
2570 Asbury Rd
Dubuque, IA 52001-3096
(563) 588-8000

Student Review: “The school worked really hard to have students working in a classroom from their second semester in the program. We were always learning how to work with kids in the specific classes we were enrolled in. (In math foundations and curriculum, they put us in a classroom where we would be teaching math.) I didn’t like that if you were ahead or behind, it meant that you would be required to take a semester off due to teacher restrictions, but other than that, the program was staffed with friendly and helpful professors who were all hired out of elementary schools. All of my teachers have taught in a school environment, so they know what to expect and can answer any hypothetical question you pose because they have most likely experienced it themselves.” -Student at Emmaus Bible College

Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
1900 NW 4th St
Ankeny, IA 50023-2152
(515) 964-0601

Graceland University
1 University Pl
Lamoni, IA 50140
(641) 784-5000

Grand View University
1200 Grandview Ave
Des Moines, IA 50316
(515) 263-2800

Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2030
(515) 294-5836

Student Review: “The moment my first visit began, I knew that I would be attending this school the next fall. It was beautiful and had the major I wanted. I have since grown to enjoy the people and the various activities on campus. The many clubs and student organizations do an excellent job of providing activities every day of the week. I am from out of state, and it was interesting for me that I seemed to make most of my friends with other people from out of state. Even if they were from the other side of the country. After my first year there, I have grown as a person significantly. Overall I love Iowa State. I am literally counting down the days until my return.” -Ryan S., student at Iowa State University

Iowa Wesleyan College
601 N Main St
Mount Pleasant, IA 52641
(319) 385-8021

Loras College
1450 Alta Vista
Dubuque, IA 52004-0178
(563) 588-7100

Morningside College
1501 Morningside Ave
Sioux City, IA 51106-1751
(712) 274-5000

Mount Mercy College
1330 Elmhurst Dr NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-4797
(319) 363-8213

Northwestern College
101 Seventh St SW
Orange City, IA 51041
(712) 707-7000

Saint Ambrose University
518 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52803-2898
(563) 333-6000

Simpson College
701 North C St
Indianola, IA 50125
(515) 961-6251

University of Dubuque
2000 University Ave
Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 589-3000

University of Iowa
101 Jessup Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1316
(319) 335-3500

Student Review: “The University of Iowa combines great academics with a vibrant social environment. The U of I has many well-known academic programs, including its distinguished Writers’ Workshop, a top-ranked psychology department, a law school, and a full hospital and medical school. I especially liked the interdisciplinary focus of the school and the professors’ encouragement to think deeply and abstractly. The university sits in the heart of Iowa City, IA, the quintessential college town with plenty of activities to keep a college student’s social life full. From April to October, students can go to the large farmers’ market for fresh fruits, vegetables, and baked goods. I especially like Prairie Lights bookstore, a world-famous bookstore with a huge selection and a quiet coffee shop. There are a number of good restaurants in all price ranges, including plenty of quick food outlets for students in a rush and buffets for extra hungry students. In recent years, the school has been high on the party school rankings, and sometimes the partying can be over the top, but recent crackdowns in bars have curbed that somewhat.” -Ashley T., student at University of Iowa

University of Northern Iowa
1222 W 27th St
Cedar Falls, IA 50614
(319) 273-2311

Student Review: “The University of Northern Iowa campus is beautiful and full of many resources that helped me during the course of this program. As an English teaching major, I found the UNICOTE club and the English club to be great resources to meet like-minded people. The professors in this program, for the most part, are excellent instructors and highly knowledgeable in their field. I’ve had a few professors that have really helped me to succeed. One thing that I think could be improved, however, is the fact that they require students to go off campus frequently, but provide no means of transportation. I had to rely on friends and the city bus to get around at all. I think if I am paying that much to go to school, that such a great resource should be provided to people who needed it like me. Overall, a great school, but that would be something to improve upon.” -Student at University of Northern Iowa

Wartburg College
100 Wartburg Blvd
Waverly, IA 50677-0903
(319) 352-8200

Student Review: “The teaching program at Wartburg is very individualized. They give you the opportunity to get into the field right away and start experiencing what it is like to be in the classroom. The community is very helpful in giving a broad and diverse range of experiences in surrounding schools. The professors are also very good at making each student feel that they are special and unique. They care about us as a person and an educator and put a lot of heart into their work. Many of them are active members in the community and truly help to make connections between our college career and the career ahead of us. After taking the essential education courses as well as the course required for our major, we are well rounded and experienced. They provide us a chance to not only study methods, but experience teaching them for ourselves.” -Amy N., student at Wartburg College

Western Iowa Tech Community College*
4647 Stone Ave
Sioux City, IA 51102-5199
(712) 274-6400

An asterisk (*) denotes a two-year or certificate program in education. While a two-year degree will not qualify graduates for teacher certification, it can be a good starting point for a teaching career. To learn more about what you can do with this degree, see our guide to associate’s degrees in education.

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best College Values: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. US News & World Report Best Graduate Education Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings
5. US News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/rankings
6. Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP): http://caepnet.org/provider-search
7. National Council on Teacher Quality Teacher Preparation Program Review: https://www.nctq.org/review/home
8. US Department of Education 2018 Title II Reports: https://title2.ed.gov/Public/Home.aspx