How to Become a Science Teacher in Iowa

Jan 02, 2019

Becoming a science teacher in Iowa is a process with several specific requirements that must be fulfilled. In this article, we discuss the path from student to teacher, and the specifics of the state-mandated education and licensing requirements.

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Those interested in the sciences may find teaching to be a rewarding and fulfilling career option. The state of Iowa requires specific training for its teaching candidates, including completion of a bachelor's degree, passing the required examinations, and professional licensure. Read on to learn about the process of becoming a science teacher in Iowa.

Iowa Science Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Iowa (2016)* $53,030 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education);
$57,230 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education);
$54,360 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education with a science-focused endorsement
Testing Requirements Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Pedagogy test or the Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT);
Praxis Content Knowledge or edTPA Subject Assessment

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Teacher Preparation Program

To become a science teacher in Iowa, students will need to pass all courses required for a bachelor's degree at a regionally-accredited college or university. To obtain an initial teaching license, candidates must also complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. These programs typically include spending in-classroom time student teaching and being mentored by an established teacher, as well as coursework in education theory and classroom skills seminar. The program should also include a human relations component and instruction on working with exceptional learners.

While earning a bachelor's degree, 24 to 30 semester hours must be science-focused and include significant coursework in the candidate's content area (e.g., K-8, biology, chemistry, etc.).

Step 2: Pass the Required Examinations

To receive an initial science teacher license in Iowa, candidates will need to pass two assessments, one from each of the categories below.

Content Knowledge

  • Elementary Education: Content Knowledge (Grades K-6), qualifying score of 152
  • Middle School Science (Grades K-8), qualifying score of 137
  • Biology: Content Knowledge (Grades 5-12), qualifying score of 148
  • Chemistry: Content Knowledge (Grades 5-12), qualifying score of 141
  • Earth and Space Science: Content Knowledge (Grades 5-12), qualifying score of 148
  • Physics: Content Knowledge (Grades 5-12), qualifying score of 130
  • General Science: Content Knowledge (Grades 5-12), qualifying score of 145

In lieu of the Praxis Content Knowledge assessment, some programs may require the corresponding edTPA assessment.


  • Principles of Teaching and Learning -- Early Childhood, qualifying score of 158
  • Principles of Teaching and Learning -- Grades K-6, qualifying score of 167
  • Principles of Teaching and Learning -- Grades 5-9, qualifying score of 165
  • Principles of Teaching and Learning -- Grades 7-12, qualifying score of 166
  • Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT), qualifying score of 32

Step 3: Apply for an Iowa Science Teacher License

If a candidate completed their education and teacher preparation program in Iowa, they may now apply for licensure by mailing their application, along with the necessary fees and supporting documents, to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. If an applicant attended a college or university in a state outside of Iowa, they may submit an Out-of-State Application for consideration by the board. Once granted, this initial license will be valid for two years and requires at least two years of teaching experience in the teacher's chosen science-focused endorsement area before it can be converted to a standard license.

A standard license is valid for five years. To renew an expiring license, teachers must attend mandatory reporter training as well as complete six renewal credits. Teachers may also earn a master educator license, valid for five years, which requires the completion of at least five years of successful teaching experience within their chosen endorsement subject and a master's degree in their area of focus. License renewals can be made by mail or completed online through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners Licensure website.

Iowa Science Teacher Licensing Resources

Preparation is key when beginning one's journey to becoming a science teacher. Please follow the links below for study guides and testing information for Iowa's required pedagogy assessments.

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