Iowa High School Teacher Certification

Oct 20, 2021

Iowa's requirements for becoming a teacher in the state are very specific. Additionally, many different types of licenses exist, and a high number of tests need to be passed before you will have your own classroom. Learn about the pathways to licensure for those who go to school in Iowa, as well as those who complete an out-of-state degree program.

Requirements for High School Teachers in Iowa

Average Salary for High School Teachers in Iowa (2019)* $56,570
Required Degree Bachelor's degree for all potential teachers
Degree Field Program must include completion of a teacher preparation program in Iowa or another state
Testing Requirements Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT), Praxis subject-matter exam, edTPA subject-matter exam, and PPAT

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements for Iowa High School Teachers

In the state of Iowa, a bachelor's degree is an absolute must for those who wish to begin a career as a high school teacher. Unlike elementary school teachers, who teach many subjects, high school teachers typically teach only one or a few. Accordingly, aspiring high school teachers should major in a more specific area, such as math education or art education.

Aspiring teachers should be aware of the differing requirements depending on where they obtained their degree. If a graduate from an Iowa-accredited university has completed a state-approved teacher preparation program, the only additional necessary step is getting a recommendation of licensure from his or her educational program.

If you have earned a degree in another state, you must be sure that your degree has included coursework in pedagogy, as well as some kind of student teaching or placement experience that gave you college credit. You need to provide evidence of a current or expired license from another state, and completion of all assessments required in Iowa, with two exceptions: completion of a program before January 1, 2013, or a minimum of three years teaching with a license in another state. If you have graduated from a type of non-traditional program, you will have to speak to a consultant in the Iowa Department of Education to determine your eligibility for teaching high school.

Licensing Requirements for Teaching High School in Iowa

For full-time teachers at the high school level, Iowa offers three different levels of licenses. The Initial License, issued to new graduates and those from another state who have less than three years of teaching experience, is valid for a period of two years and eligible for renewal up to two times. No additional coursework is necessary for renewal, aside from mandatory training for identifying and reporting abuse of children and dependent adults. For the second renewal of this license, teachers must provide proof of valid employment.

Next, the Standard License is valid for five years, and the conversion process from an Initial License mandates either two years of teaching in the teacher's endorsement area in an accredited Iowa public school, or three years in any valid combination of accredited schools, whether they are public, private, out-of-state or Head Start. Along with the same reporting-of-abuse training, six renewal credits are required for renewing a Standard License.

The highest level of licensure for teachers in Iowa comes in the form of a Master Educator license. This level is reserved for those who have completed a master's degree in curriculum, effective teaching, or a recognized endorsement area. Earning a Master Educator credential also requires five years of teaching experience, and another six credits which would meet eligibility requirements for Standard License renewal. As with the other two levels, child and dependent adult abuse-reporting training must be completed with each Master Educator renewal, along with another four credits.

Out-of-state applicants who don't yet meet the requirements for any of the other licenses may apply for a Regional Exchange License, which is issued for one year. This license converts to another license, such as an Initial license, once the applicant meets Iowa's requirements. This license is not renewable, but it can be extended for a period of a year.

Future teachers may apply for their licenses online on the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners website. There, they will answer questions, set up a background check and provide payment.

Testing Requirements for High School Teachers in Iowa

All teachers must pass a total of four exams. Three of these exams are administered by ETS, one of the larger standardized testing companies in the United States. The Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching pedagogy test requires a minimum score of 166. Praxis subject tests are available in a wide variety of areas, including art, language arts, math, various sciences, history, social studies and music. The minimum required score varies depending on the subject. The edTPA subject tests, developed by Stanford University, cover the same variety of subjects as the Praxis subject tests, and each has its own minimum score requirement. The ETS PPAT test must be passed with a score of at least 32.

Additional Resources for Teaching Certification in Iowa

To help you prepare for certification in Iowa, has a number of practice guides for your review sessions. Using these self-paced courses, you can study what you have learned in the past and go into your exam with the confidence you need to pass your exam and become licensed!

  • Praxis Exam Guide
  • Praxis PLT: Grades 7-12
  • Praxis Fundamental Subjects Guide
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