Become a Teacher in Iowa

Iowa Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary:$51,800
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary:$51,130
Vacation Weeks per Year:15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio:13.8
Expenditure per Pupil:$10,688

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

400 E. 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319
(515) 281-5294

Iowa Teacher Shortage Areas

The United States Department of Education defines a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) as a subject matter or grade level within a state in which there is an inadequate supply of elementary or secondary teachers.  The shortage may be caused by teaching positions that are unfilled or are filled by teachers who have temporary certification or teach in in academic subject other than their area of preparation.  According to a report by the USDE Office of Postsecondary Education, Iowa has the following Teacher Shortage Areas:

  • ESL
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Agriculture
  • Early Childhood
  • Foreign Language
  • Health
  • Mathematics
  • Talented and Gifted
  • Special Education
  • Itinerant Hearing Impaired
  • Industrial Technology
  • Middle School
  • Science
  • Teacher Librarian
  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Instructional Strategist I Mild/Moderate
  • Instructional Strategist II Behavior Disorders/Learning Disabilities
  • Instructional Strategist II Mental Disabilities
  • Instructional Strategist II Physical Disabilities
  • Itinerant Visually Impaired

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Iowa

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information 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: 11/3/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Iowa, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Iowa teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Iowa Teaching Credential

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 2 years, as well as Standard and Master Educator certification, both valid for 5 years. All categories are renewable. Visit the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (IBEE) website to find out more about getting your teaching credential in Iowa.

Learn more about getting your teaching credential on

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in Iowa

All states require at least a Bachelor’s degree to teach. Iowa has additional prerequisite coursework, depending on subject and grade level. Find out more by visiting the IBEE Teacher Endorsements page.

Step Two: 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.

Step Three: Required Tests for Iowa

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.

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

Sponsored Programs

Alternative Teacher Certification in Iowa

Iowa offers a Teacher Intern License which allows an applicant with a Bachelor’s GPA of 2.5 or higher, at least 3 years of post-baccalaureate work experience, and the coursework prerequisites to teach high school. The program includes coursework and a one-year teaching internship, culminating in a teaching certification. Veterans may also be eligible for the Troops to Teachers program.

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Benefits of a Master's Degree 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 degree in the field of education 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 may be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

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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 . For more specific questions about your situation, contact the Iowa Department of Education.

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Financial Aid in Iowa

Iowa residents are eligible for the  Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship, as well as the TEACH Grant, which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

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Iowa Teacher Salary and Incentives

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average teacher in Iowa makes $50,946 per year. Pay rates in Iowa depend on each school district and 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 on

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Iowa Teacher Benefits and Retirement

The Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) handles teacher retirement benefits. Iowa teachers can retire with full benefits if they are at least 55 and their 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 their school district.

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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.

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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 on

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