There are different types of educators in Iowa. Each with different work and preparation requirements.

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Teacher Preparation

A teacher is a professional educator who uses a thorough understanding of:

  • content,
  • teaching,
  • scholastic and development patterns

A teacher also understands:

  • individual differences that guide learning and
  • creates a supportive and safe learning environment.

A teacher:

  • prepares and delivers lessons,
  • provides feedback,
  • manages classroom materials,
  • navigates coursework,
  • collaborates with other professionals and
  • talks with parents.

Teacher Requirements

  • Bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited institution.
  • Complete all:
    • teacher preparation program requirements:
      • coursework and
      • clinical experiences.
  • Follows one of two pathways to become a teacher:
    • traditional or 
    • alternative licensure.

Traditional Pathway

Iowa has 29 colleges and universities with traditional educator preparation programs. Most programs have options for face-to-face and online courses.

On this path you will:

  • attend classes,
    • content knowledge and
    • teaching methods,
  • be [art pf a supervised clinical experience in PK-12 schools, and
  • student teach for 14 weeks.

Alternative License Pathway

There are two alternative license programs. These are for high school teachers only.

Alternative programs are for adults with a degree in a teaching field. You take 12-18 credits of coursework in how to teach. Then you work in a high school with an intern license. This allows you to:

  • be a classroom teacher of record,
  • be paid as a full-time teacher, and
  • have significant support from the program faculty and high school.

After the full-year internship, you take a few more credits then become a licensed teacher.

Teacher Preparation Programs

Traditional Teacher Programs

InstitutionProgram Levels
Briar Cliff University, Sioux CityElementary, Secondary
Buena Vista University, Storm LakeEarly Childhood, Elementary, Secondary
Central College, PellaElementary, Secondary
Clarke University, DubuqueElementary, Secondary
Coe College, Cedar RapidsElementary, Secondary
Cornell College, Mount VernonElementary, Secondary
Dordt University, Sioux CityElementary, Secondary
Drake University, Des MoinesElementary, Secondary
Emmaus Bible College, DubuqueElementary, Secondary
Faith Baptist Bible College, AnkenyElementary, Secondary
Graceland University, LamoniElementary, Secondary
Grand View University, Des MoinesElementary, Secondary
Grinnell College, GrinnellSecondary
Iowa State University, AmesEarly Childhood, Elementary, Secondary
Loras College, DubuqueElementary, Secondary
Luther College, DecorahElementary, Secondary
Morningside College, Sioux CityElementary, Secondary
Mount Mercy University, Cedar RapidsEarly Childhood, Elementary, Secondary
Northwestern College, Orange CityElementary, Secondary
Saint Ambrose University, DavenportElementary, Secondary
Simpson College, IndianolaElementary, Secondary
University of Dubuque, DubuqueElementary, Secondary
University of Iowa, Iowa CityElementary, Secondary
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar FallsEarly Childhood, Elementary, Secondary
Upper Iowa University, FayetteElementary, Secondary
Waldorf University, Forest CityElementary, Secondary
Wartburg College, WaverlyElementary, Secondary
William Penn University, OskaloosaElementary, Secondary

Alternate License Programs

InstitutionProgram Grade Levels
Morningside College, Sioux CitySecondary
Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure (RAPIL), Three Regent Universities ConsortiumSecondary
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Administrator Preparation

There are two types of certified administrators:

  1. principals
  2. superintendents

Principals shape a school's success.


  • support learning,
  • build leaders,
  • improves teaching,
  • manage people and
  • track data and processes.

Superintendents are the top mangers of the school district.

They decide about:

  • facilities
  • messaging
  • programs
  • spending
  • staffing and
  • follow the direction of the school board.

Administrator Requirements

  • Master's degree for principal
  • Specialist for superintendent
  • Three years' experience as a classroom teacher

Administrator Preparation Programs

InstitutionProgram Levels
Buena Vista University, Storm LakePrincipal
Dordt University, Sioux CenterPrincipal
Drake University, Des MoinesPrincipal, Superintendent
Iowa Principal Leadership Academy, Prairie Lakes AEAPrincipal
Iowa State University, AmesPrincipal, Superintendent
Mount Mercy University, Cedar RapidsPrincipal
Northwestern College, Orange CityPrincipal
Viterbo University, West Des MoinesPrincipal
University of Iowa, Iowa CityPrincipal, Superintendent
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar FallsPrincipal, Superintendent
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A paraeducator works under the supervision of a teacher. They have the responsibility to design and provide education and related programs. Other titles for an educational aide include:

  • paraprofessional
  • educational aide
  • associate aide or
  • instructional aide.

Paraeducator Requirements

  • A high school diploma or GED.
  • A 90-hour preparation program, including clinical experiences.
  • A certification in specific concentration areas.
  • 45 hours of preparation in each concentration area.

Paraeducator Certification Programs

InstitutionProgram Levels
Buena Vista University, Storm LakeGeneralist
Central Rivers AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs
Des Moines Area Community CollegeGeneralist
Dordt University, Sioux CenterGeneralist
Grand View University, Des MoinesGeneralist
Grant Wood AEAGeneralist
Great Prairie AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, English as a Second Language
Green Hills AEAGeneralist
Hawkeye Community CollegeGeneralist, Early Childhood
Heartland AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, Library Media Tech, English as a Second Language
Indian Hills Community CollegeGeneralist
Iowa Central Community CollegeGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs
Iowa Valley Community College DistrictGeneralist
Iowa Western Community CollegeGeneralist, Early Childhood
Keystone AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood
Kirkwood Community CollegeGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, English as a Second Language, Career and Transition, Vision Impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Advanced Generalist
Mississippi Bend AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs, Autism Spectrum Disorders, School Library Media
Mount Mercy UniversityGeneralist
North Iowa Area Community CollegeGeneralist
Northwest AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood, Autism, School Library Media
Northwest Iowa Community CollegeGeneralist
Prairie Lakes AEAGeneralist, Early Childhood, Special Needs
University of Dubuque, DubuqueGeneralist
University of Iowa, Iowa CityGeneralist
Upper Iowa University, FayetteGeneralist
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Other Education Professionals

Other professional educators include:

  • counselors,
  • speech-language pathologists,
  • social workers,
  • 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. Both are provided by the Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE)

  1. A Statement of Professional Recognition from the BOEE. This is based on licensure through the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  2. A Professional Service License from the BOEE. This follows completion of a program through an Iowa Institution of Higher Education.

Other Professional Program Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree.
  • Master's degree for some programs.
  • Complete all program requirements.
  • Coursework and clinical experiences.

Other Professional Program Preparation Programs

InstitutionProgram Levels
Buena Vista University, Storm LakeProfessional School Counselor
Drake University, Des MoinesProfessional School Counselor
Grand View University, Des MoinesProfessional School Counselor, School Social Worker
Loras College, DubuqueProfessional School Counselor
Northwestern College, Orange CityProfessional School Counselor
Saint Ambrose University, DavenportSpeech-Language Pathologist, School Social Worker
Upper Iowa University, FayetteProfessional School Counselor
University of Iowa, Iowa CityAudiologist, Librarian, Professional School Counselor, School Psychologist, School Social Worker, Speech-Language Pathologist
University of Northern Iowa, Cedar FallsLibrarian, Professional School Counselor, School Psychologist, School Social Worker, Speech-Language Pathologist

This is a pilot program for public school districts partnering with:

  • a community college
  • a four-year
  • a university

This partnership provides:

  • High School and Adult-to-Educational Aide Registered Apprenticeship
    • This program helps high school students and working adults.
    • You can begin working as an educational aide while earning credit toward an associate degree.
  • Educational Aide-to-Teacher Registered Apprenticeship
    • You can work while earning credit toward a bachelor's degree and teaching license.

Program Details

Visit the Earn and Learn Website for more detailed information about the pilot program.


Note: Include one of these subject lines of the email: Funding, Program Registration, Technical Assistance or Reporting.

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