How to Become a Preschool Teacher in Iowa

Jan 02, 2019

With multiple tests required for Iowa preschool teacher certification, readers can learn about these exams, as well as the courses taken during an early childhood education program.

Iowa offers prospective preschool teachers a scholarship called the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH). Future preschool teachers in Iowa may capitalize on this opportunity after they learn more about the experiences gained through early childhood education programs, as well as what to expect on the various certification exams required by the state of Iowa.

Requirements Iowa Preschool Teacher Certification

Average Salary for Iowa Preschool Teachers (2016)* $26,950 (except special education)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field Early Childhood Education
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CASE);
Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT): Early Childhood;
Praxis Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education;
Praxis Early Childhood Education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step One: Complete a Preschool Teacher Preparation Program

To gain entry into early childhood programs, candidates may have to first pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test. There are three parts to this exam--a reading, a writing, and a math subtest.

  • To accomplish the required 156 score on the reading section, candidates have 85 minutes to answer 56 multiple-choice questions regarding language structure and integrating ideas.
  • The writing section requires a passing score of 162, and test-takers are expected to answer 40 multiple-choice questions and two essay questions within 100 minutes. The questions in this subtest focus on research skills and the purpose of writing.
  • Finally, the math subtest focuses on algebra, geometry, and statistics. Candidates get 85 minutes to answer 56 questions and need a 150 score to pass.

Preparing preschool teachers to educate children from birth to age eight, early childhood education programs in Iowa may include a field experience in an accredited child care facility or clinic that is part of the university's infrastructure. This can help meet the pre-student teaching observation hours some universities require. A semester of student teaching, which is more about managing a classroom and less about observation, is also part of these programs. Additionally, future educators will be exposed to courses in topics such as: child development, using technology in the classroom, language arts and reading in elementary schools, developing curriculum for young children, and nutrition. Schools may require a 2.5 to a 3.0 GPA in education classes. During the course of the program, students will be required to pass performance-based assessments.

Step Two: Pass the Preschool Teacher Certification Tests

Iowa requires preschool teachers to become certified to teach preschool through kindergarten by taking the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood exam. In two hours, test-takers will answer 70 multiple-choice questions and four short-answer questions. To get the required score of 158 on this test, candidates have to be familiar with students as learners, instruction practices, assessment techniques, and professionalism within in the community and school environment.

Teaching candidates will also be accountable for earning a 172 on the Praxis Interdisciplinary Early Childhood exam. This computer-generated exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions, which candidates get two hours to answer. The questions focus on the development of children, educating and supporting students with special needs, instructing young children through play, and working with families.

Finally, the Praxis Early Childhood Education exam requires a score of 151. Much like a basic skills test, the 120 multiple-choice questions focus on literacy, math, social studies, science, and physical education, as well as the arts. It can take two hours for test-takers to finish.

Helpful Links for Iowa Preschool Teachers

The following study guides can help you prepare for three of the standardized tests required for preschool teacher certification in Iowa.

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