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Iowa ESL Endorsement Requirements

English as a second language (ESL) teachers work at various grade levels. To obtain an ESL endorsement in Iowa, a teacher candidate should complete certain education and testing requirements. When these are satisfied, candidates can apply for an initial teaching license and the ESL endorsement.

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The increase in economic globalization and migration into the U.S. has led to a greater number of ELLs (English language learners) and demand for qualified ESL (English as a second language) teachers. To become an ESL teacher in Iowa, it is necessary to obtain an ESL endorsement. Here, the criteria that need to be met to qualify for this endorsement, are described.

ESL Teaching Endorsement Requirements in Iowa

Average Salary for Teachers in Iowa (2017)* $53,030 (Elementary School); $57,232 (Middle School); $54,359 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Teacher Preparation
Testing Requirements Praxis II Pedagogy, Praxis content area test(s)s, edTPA

Source: *Iowa Workforce Department

Step 1: Earn a Degree

To acquire an initial teacher's license in Iowa, it is necessary to obtain a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and complete a Board-approved Iowa teacher preparation program. To determine whether a university or college is regionally accredited check the 'Accredited Colleges and Universities' page of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (IBEE) website. A list of Board-approved teacher preparation programs can be found on the Iowa Department of Education website.

Additionally, an ESL teacher candidate must satisfy Iowa's human relations requirement by completing an approved course that covers diversity in groups, intergroup relationships and interpersonal relationships.

The IBEE requires that an ESL teacher candidate's work includes a minimum of 18 semester hours of coursework in ESL, which addresses:

  • Knowledge of Pedagogy
    • Methods and curriculum
    • Bilingual and ESL methods
    • Literacy in native and second language
    • Methods for subject matter content
    • Adaptation and modification of curriculum
    • Assessment in language proficiency and academic content
  • Knowledge of Linguistics
    • Linguistics to include psycholinguistics/sociolinguistics
    • Language acquisition/proficiency
    • Knowledge of first and second language acquisition/proficiency
    • Language to include structure/grammar of English
  • Knowledge of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
    • History
    • Theory, models, research
    • Policy, legislation
    • Current issues with transient populations

The IBEE also requires candidates to complete an ESL supervised teaching experience at the chosen grade level.

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  • Bilingual and Multilingual Teacher Education
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Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

Candidates must pass pedagogy and content area testing, as well as an edTPA test for each endorsement being sought, and these tests are typically taken during the teacher preparation program.

Pedagogy

The Iowa Department of Education requires ESL teacher candidates to pass a Praxis II Pedagogy test that is relevant to the grade level in which candidates are seeking to teach.

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: K-6 (minimum pass score - 167)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: 5-9 (minimum pass score - 165)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: 7-12 ((minimum pass score - 166)

Alternatively, candidates can take an ETS PPAT Pedagogy test and achieve a score of at least 32.

Content area

ESL teacher candidates are required to pass the relevant Praxis II content area test(s):

  • Teacher Elementary Classroom K-6: Elementary Ed: Content Knowledge (minimum pass score - 152)
  • Secondary Education (Grades 5-12): Content area test(s) - passing scores vary by area
  • ESL Teacher K-12: English to Speakers of Other Languages 5362 (minimum score - 168)

edTPA

The edTPA test must be successfully completed in the relevant endorsement area. The possible tests are as follows:

  • Teacher Elementary Classroom K-6:
    • Elementary Literacy (minimum score - 41)
    • Elementary Math (minimum score - 41)
    • Elementary Education (literacy and math task) (minimum score - 49)
  • ESL Teacher K-12:
    • English as Additional Language (minimum score - 41)

For ESL candidates who already hold an existing state teaching license, the ESL add-on endorsement/certification can be earned by successfully completing the minimum of 18 semester hours of coursework in ESL, as described above.

Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License with Endorsement

Once the education, experience and testing requirements are satisfied, candidates may apply for an initial teaching license in Iowa. Graduates of an Iowa teacher preparation program should complete section I of the form, 'Application for Licensure (Iowa Institution)', provided by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. The application should include:

  • Official, sealed college transcripts.
  • A check/money order for the application processing fee.
  • Verification of all teaching experience.

The application should be sent to the institution at which the candidate completed their teacher education program. That institution must then forward the application to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, Grimes State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146. The application should include:

  • Official, sealed college transcripts.
  • A check/money order for the application processing fee.
  • Verification of all teaching experience.
  • Fingerprint packet information with the appropriate fee.
  • Verification of passing any out-of-state teacher licensure tests.
  • Copies of valid out-of-state teaching licenses/certificates.

The application should be sent to the institution at which the candidate completed their teacher education program. Candidates should request that the institution forward the application to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, Grimes State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146.

ESL endorsement

ESL teacher candidates must satisfy one of following criteria to qualify for the ESL endorsement:

  • Obtain a recommendation from their approved Iowa teacher preparation program confirming that the endorsement requirements have been met.
  • Obtain verification from their Iowa institution that the state requirements for the endorsement have been met if a teacher preparation program was not completed at that time.
  • Apply to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners for a review of their transcripts (use the 'Application to Request an Endorsement Analysis by the BOEE' form).

When applying for ESL endorsement, graduates of an Iowa teacher preparation program should complete the form, 'Application to Add an Endorsement from an Iowa Institution'.

ESL Teacher Certification Resources

Please follow the links below to access our resources for helping ESL teacher candidates study for their teacher certification exams:

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