How to Become a Teacher in Iowa

Jan 02, 2019

Teachers are in demand in the state of Iowa. For those with a passion for education and working with children, teaching can be a rewarding path. This article discusses the steps one can take to pursue a teaching career in Iowa.

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

Iowa Teaching Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Iowa (2016)* $53,030 (Elementary)
$57,230 (Middle)
$54,360 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Elementary education and optional endorsement subject (elementary)
Specific endorsement subject (middle/secondary)
Testing Requirements Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Pedagogy or Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers (PPAT) and Praxis Content Knowledge OR
edTPA Assessment

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Teacher Preparation Program

To be considered for licensure in Iowa, aspiring teachers 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 in-classroom time teaching and co-teaching, a mentorship with an established teacher, coursework in education theory, and a classroom skills seminar. The program should also include a human relations component and instruction on working with gifted learners. With society's growing use of technology in virtually all careers and educational institutions, technological literacy is also being added to teacher preparation programs at many colleges and universities.

Step 2: Pass the Required Examinations

To receive an initial two-year teaching 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
  • Early Adolescence (Grades K-8); content area of concentration
  • Secondary Education (Grades 5-12); content area of concentration


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

In lieu of the Praxis exams, some programs require the edTPA assessment, which is now an acceptable alternative in the state of Iowa.

Step 3: Apply for an Iowa Teaching License

Students who completed their education and teacher preparation program in Iowa 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 other than 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 endorsement area or grade level before it can be converted to a standard license.

Once granted, a standard license is valid for five years. To renew an expiring standard license, teachers must attend mandatory reporter training as well as complete six continuing education renewal credits. Teachers may also choose to 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 or grade level and a master's degree in their area of concentration. License renewals can be made by mail or completed online through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners Licensure website.

Iowa Teacher Licensing Resources

Preparation is key when beginning the journey to becoming an Iowa teacher. Please follow the links below for study guides and more in-depth testing information to help prepare for the necessary Praxis exams.

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