Become a Teacher in Iowa


Iowa Department of Education

400 E. 14th St Des Moines, IA 50319

(515) 281-5294

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    Become a teacher in Iowa

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            Earn Your Iowa Teaching Credential

            Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015

            To earn your Iowa teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. Indiana has an Initial certification, valid for a teacher’s first two years, Standard, and Master Educator. Both Standard and Master Educator certifications are valid for five years. All categories are renewable. Learn more here about getting your Teaching Credential in Iowa. Learn more about getting your teaching credential. Return to the top

            Prerequisite Coursework in Iowa

            All states require at least a Bachelor’s degree to teach. Iowa has the following requirements: Elementary Education (K-6): Coursework in content and teaching methods for Language Arts, Reading, Child Development, Elementary Curriculum, Math, Science, Children’s Literature, Social Studies and at least two of the following – Art, Music, Health or Physical Education. Courses in Child Growth and Development, Elementary Curriculum and Children’s Literature are also required. In addition, students must devote at least 12 semester hours to a specialization in a single discipline or formal interdisciplinary program. To receive endorsements to teach in a particular subject area, Iowa has the following coursework requirements: K-8: Teachers who want to specialize in English/Language Arts, Reading, Foreign Language, Speech Communication/Theatre, Math, Science, Social Studies, History, Art, Health, Physical Education or Music at the K-8 level by completing 24 semester hours in the desired subject area, with some additional requirements within those 24 semester hours. Secondary Education (Grades 5-12): English and Math require 24 semester hours in the content area. Social Science and Physical Science each require 24 semester hours in a specific sub-category, such as Psychology or World History for the Social Sciences, or Biology or Chemistry for the Physical Sciences. Alternatively, all Social Sciences can be taught by a teacher with 51 hours distributed through all the subcategories; Science can be taught by a teacher with  30 semester hours in the general field of science, and 15 credit hours in the desired content area. For more information on specific requirements for a subject, click here. Return to the top

            Required Tests for Iowa

            Most states require tests to show competency in Basic Skills as well as in the desired Subject Area. Iowa does not require a Basic Skills test, but requires the Praxis II: Subject Tests to prove content proficiency. You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep. Read more about teacher certification tests. Return to the top

            Iowa Teacher Certification Programs

            Teacher Certification Programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. Return to the top

            Alternate Teacher Certification in Iowa

            Iowa offers a Teacher Intern Licensewhich allows an applicant with a Bachelor’s GPA of 2.75 or higher, at least 3 years of work experience, and the coursework prerequisites to teach high school in a program that includes coursework and a one-year teaching internship culminating in a teaching certification. Missouri Region Troops to Teachers program Return to the top

            Certification Reciprocity in Iowa

            Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in Iowa, visit the reciprocity page . Or, for more specific questions about your situation, contact the Iowa Department of Education. Return to the top

            Benefits of a Master's in Education in Iowa

            It is no longer enough to just have years of experience for teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, the careers of teachers increasingly depend on their results in the classroom. A Master’s in Teaching will give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. After a Master’s program, you will be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay. A Master’s degree in the Des Moines Public Schools can lead to a $3,200 increase in initial salary over holding just a Bachelor’s degree. After 10 years of experience, a Master’s degree will earn you almost $4,500 more than a Bachelor’s. This teacher salary data chart from The Des Moines Register shows that over 68% of Master’s degree holders in Iowa make over $50,000 a year. Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education. Return to the top

            Master's in Education Financial Aid

            Iowa residents are eligible for the  Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school. Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree. Return to the top

            Iowa Teacher Salary and Incentives

            The average teacher in Iowa makes $44,060 per year, which is 108% of the state average income. Pay rates in Iowa depend on each school district, but some statewide information on teacher salary can be found in this teacher salary data chart. Salary increases with years of experience as well as degree. Increased pay and loan forgiveness are often offered as in incentive to teach in shortage subject areas. Learn more about teacher salaries. Return to the top

            Iowa Teacher Benefits and Retirement

            The Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) handles teacher retirement benefits. Iowa teachers can retire with full benefits in either of two circumstances: at least age 55, and age plus years of service total at least 88; or at least age 62, with at least 20 years of service. Iowa teachers receive additional benefits such as Health Care plans, according to the district. Learn more about benefits for teachers. Return to the top

            Professional Development for Teachers in Iowa

            The Iowa Professional Development Model analyzes past and present educational institutions to provide a plan for the future of Iowa Education. The model focuses on curriculum, instruction, and assessment to provide ever-improving professional development. The state of Iowa requires that teachers continually apply new learning ideas into the classroom by learning new demonstrations, using new materials, and observing each other. The Department of Education also runs Teacher Development Academies, where teams of teachers from a particular school can acquire knowledge and skills in instructional strategies and practice teaching techniques. Return to the top

            Iowa Teaching Jobs

            The state of Iowa maintains the site Iowa Education Jobs as a recruitment site for school districts to post job listings and prospective teachers to find positions. Learn more about finding a teaching job. Return to the top

            Iowa Teacher Certification Information & Links

            Iowa Department of Education Iowa Board of Educational Examiners Iowa Public Employees Retirement System Iowa Education Jobs