How to Become a Teacher In Iowa

Iowa, the 30th-most-populous state in the nation, offers teachers a chance to work in a wide variety of settings, from metropolitan areas to small rural communities. Enrollment in Iowa has declined over the past several years, and the state is dedicated to promoting education in the state by hiring qualified teachers and improving education programs for all grade levels. Below you will find information about how to become a teacher in Iowa, as well as relevant facts about working in the state.

Relevant Statistics for Iowa Teachers

Located in the nation’s heartland, Iowa is home to just over 3 million residents. Although Iowa has several larger cities — including Des Moines and Cedar Rapids — many of its residents live in smaller communities. This provides teachers with the opportunity to work in underserved rural school districts. More Iowa facts:

  • 3,074,186 people were living in the state of Iowa in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
  • According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the state of Iowa had 1,487 schools, 34,642 teachers and 495,775 students as of 2011. That translates to a student-to-teacher ratio of 14.31, which is lower than the national average of 15.97.
  • The average teacher salary in Iowa is $50,634, according to the National Education Association. Although starting teachers make less, at an average of $32,895 per year, salaries increase as teachers gain more experience. Earning a Master of Education degree may also increase your salary.
  • The average in-state tuition for education students in Iowa is $6,444, while the average out-of-state tuition is $20,658.

License Requirements

Becoming a teacher in Iowa typically requires a four-year degree from an institution of higher education, as well as completion of an approved teacher-education program.

Iowa requires successful completion of the Praxis II exam, demonstrating mastery of pedagogy and a specific content area. At least six college credits or approved teaching experience must have been completed within the past five years.

Teachers can apply for initial licensure after meeting these requirements, which will be valid for two years. After spending two years in the field, teachers can apply for a full Iowa teaching license, which is valid for five years. Educators in Iowa can also earn a master teaching license by earning a master degree in education.

Teacher-Education Programs

Most teaching programs in Iowa involve both classroom instruction and experience teaching students. While in the program, future teachers will learn basic teaching principles, classroom management skills and techniques used in assessing students’ progress.

Future teachers may also spend time in actual classrooms teaching students under the supervision of a licensed educator. In Iowa, prospective teachers can choose between traditional university teacher-education programs and online degree programs.

Alternative Path to Certification

For individuals who have a bachelor degree in a field other than education, Iowa offers a Teacher Intern License as an alternative to traditional licensure. If you meet course requirements and have three years of post-baccalaureate work experience, you may qualify for this path to certification. After completing introductory coursework, teachers complete a one-year internship. Successful completion of this internship program qualifies you to apply for an initial teaching license.

Benefits to Becoming a Teacher in Iowa

Iowa offers vibrant communities with parents and families dedicated to their children’s education. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Iowa schools consistently perform above the national average in math, reading, science and writing test scores. Being an educator in Iowa allows you to follow in this tradition, improving the educational environment of the state’s youth.

Iowa’s state economy is also robust, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS). As of March 2013, the state unemployment rate was well below the national average. The BLS says job openings for secondary school teachers in Iowa are expected to increase by 7.9 percent over the next decade, just over the national average of 7 percent.

The Iowa education sector has added jobs in the past year, with a 0.9% growth rate. This makes it a great time to pursue a teaching career in Iowa, as the state’s strong economy promotes a favorable job climate for teachers.