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There are different types of educators in Iowa, each with different work and preparation requirements.
A teacher is a professional educator who uses a thorough understanding of content, pedagogy, developmental patterns and individual differences to guide learning and create a supportive, safe learning environment. A teacher prepares and implements effective lessons, provides ongoing feedback on student work, manages classroom materials, productively navigates the curriculum, collaborates with other professionals and regularly communicates with parents.
- Bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited institution.
- Complete all program requirements, including coursework, clinical experiences, and passing the required program completion test(s).
- There are two pathways to become a teacher: traditional and alternative licensure.
Iowa has 30 colleges and universities with traditional educator preparation programs. You will attend classes, participate in supervised clinical experiences in P–12 schools and student teach. Specific coursework in content knowledge and pedagogy is required as is 14 weeks of student teaching. Almost all Iowa programs have options for face-to-face and online courses.
Alternative License Pathway
Iowa has two alternative programs. These are limited to high school teaching only. These programs are designed for adults with a degree (or equivalent) in a teaching field. In the alternative programs, you take 12–18 credits of coursework in how to teach, then you are placed in a high school with an intern license. This allows you to be the classroom teacher of record, you are paid as a full-time teacher and you have significant support from the intern program faculty and the high school. After the full-year internship, you take a few more credits and become a fully licensed teacher.
Teacher Preparation Programs
Traditional Teacher Programs
|Briar Cliff University, Sioux City||Elementary, Secondary|
|Buena Vista University, Storm Lake||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Central College, Pella||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Clarke University, Dubuque||Elementary, Secondary|
|Coe College, Cedar Rapids||Elementary, Secondary|
|Cornell College, Mount Vernon||Elementary, Secondary|
|Dordt University, Sioux City||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Drake University, Des Moines||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Emmaus Bible College, Dubuque||Elementary, Secondary|
|Faith Baptist Bible College, Ankeny||Elementary, Secondary|
|Graceland University, Lamoni||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Grand View University, Des Moines||Elementary, Secondary|
|Grinnell College, Grinnell||Secondary|
|Iowa State University, Ames||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Iowa Wesleyan University, Mount Pleasant||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Loras College, Dubuque||Elementary, Secondary|
|Luther College, Decorah||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Morningside College, Sioux City||Elementary, Secondary|
|Mount Mercy University, Cedar Rapids||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Northwestern College, Orange City||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Saint Ambrose University, Davenport||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Simpson College, Indianola||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|University of Dubuque, Dubuque||Elementary, Secondary|
|University of Iowa, Iowa City||Elementary, Secondary|
|University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Upper Iowa University, Fayette||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|Waldorf University, Forest City||Elementary, Secondary|
|Wartburg College, Waverly||Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary|
|William Penn University, Oskaloosa||Elementary, Secondary|
Teacher Intern Program
|Institution||Program Grade Levels|
|Morningside College, Sioux City||Secondary|
|Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure (RAPIL), Three Regent Universities Consortium||Secondary|
There are two types of certified administrators.
- A principal shapes the vision for the academic success of all learners and creates a supportive learning climate that cultivates leadership in others, improves classroom instruction and manages people, data and processes.
- A superintendent is the top executive of the school district that makes day-to-day decisions regarding facilities, communications, educational programming, spending, staffing, etc. that align to the school board's vision and serves the needs of all students.
- Master's degree for principal, specialist (or equivalent) for superintendent.
- Complete all program requirements, including coursework and clinical experiences.
- Three years of experience as an educator.
Administrator Preparation Programs
|Dordt University, Sioux Center||Principal|
|Drake University, Des Moines||Principal, Superintendent|
|Iowa Principal Leadership Academy, Prairie Lakes AEA||Principal|
|Iowa State University, Ames||Principal, Superintendent|
|Northwestern College, Orange City||Principal|
|Viterbo University, West Des Moines||Principal|
|University of Iowa, Iowa City||Principal, Superintendent|
|University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls||Principal, Superintendent|
A paraeducator works under the supervision of teachers or other licensed personnel who have the ultimate responsibility for the design and implementation of education and related service programs. Other terms used to describe paraeducators include paraprofessional, educational aide, associate or instructional aide.
- Must possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Completed a 90-clock-hour preparation program, including clinical experiences.
- Certification in specific concentration areas is available with additional 45 hours of preparation in each concentration area.
Paraeducator Certification Programs
|Buena Vista University||Generalist|
|Central Rivers AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs|
|Des Moines Area Community College||Generalist|
|Grand View University||Generalist|
|Grant Wood AEA||Generalist|
|Great Prairie AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, English as a Second Language|
|Green Hills AEA||Generalist|
|Hawkeye Community College||Generalist|
|Heartland AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, Library Media Tech, English as a Second Language|
|Indian Hills Community College||Generalist|
|Iowa Central Community College||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs|
|Iowa Valley Community College District||Generalist|
|Iowa Western Community College||Generalist, Early Childhood|
|Keystone AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood|
|Kirkwood Community College||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, English as a Second Language, Career and Transition, Vision Impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Advanced Generalist|
|Mississippi Bend AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, Autism Spectrum Disorders, School Library Media|
|Mount Mercy University||Generalist|
|Northwest AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood, Autism, School Library Media|
|Northwest Iowa Community College||Generalist|
|Prairie Lakes AEA||Generalist, Early Childhood, Special Needs|
|University of Dubuque||Generalist|
|Upper Iowa University||Generalist|
Other Education Professionals
Other professional educators include school counselors, speech language pathologists, school social workers, school psychologists and others. These professionals may work in schools or in Area Educational Association settings.
There are two ways to be licensed for these positions. A Statement of Professional Recognition is granted by the Board of Educational Examiners based on licensure through the Iowa Department of Public Health. The Professional Service License is granted by the Board of Educational Examiners following completion of a program of study through an Iowa Institution of Higher Education. Iowa programs are linked below.
Other Professional Program Requirements
- Bachelor's degree is required, master's degree may be required for some programs.
- Complete all program requirements, including coursework and clinical experiences.
Other Professional Program Preparation Programs
|Buena Vista University, Storm Lake||Professional School Counselor|
|Drake University, Des Moines||Professional School Counselor|
|Loras College, Dubuque||Professional School Counselor|
|Saint Ambrose University, Davenport||Speech Language Pathologist, School Social Worker|
|University of Iowa, Iowa City||Librarian, Audiologist, School Psychologist|
|University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls||Librarian, Professional School Counselor, School Psychologist, Speech Language Pathologist|
Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot
To grow Iowa’s teacher and paraeducator talent pipeline and support expansion of Registered Apprenticeship in high schools, 134 school districts have been awarded a total of $45.6 million in competitive grants as part of Gov. Reynolds’ new Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program. Federal relief funding through the American Rescue Plan of 2021's State and Local Emergency Relief Funds have been allocated to fund these competitive grants for public school districts partnering with an eligible community college or four-year college or university under the following Registered Apprenticeship models:
- High School and Adult-to-Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship: A registered apprenticeship model designed to help high school students and working adults begin a career as a paraeducator (Teacher Aide 1) while earning credit toward an associate degree.
- Paraeducator-to-Teacher Registered Apprenticeship: A registered apprenticeship model designed to help paraeducators (Teacher Aide 1) continue to work while earning credit toward a bachelor's degree and teaching license.
Visit the Earn and Learn Website for more detailed information about the pilot program.
- Registered Apprenticeship - Iowa Workforce Development - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Educator Preparation and Paraeducator - Iowa Department of Education - Maryam Rod Szabo at email@example.com
- Licensure and Certification - Iowa Board of Educational Examiners - Joanne Tubbs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Please include the context of your question in the subject line of the email: Funding, Program Registration, Technical Assistance or Reporting.