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Iowa Teacher Certification for High School Teachers

High school teacher candidates must meet a set of criteria to be licensed in Iowa. Discover the educational, testing and license requirements to achieve certification in the state.

Info for High School Teacher in Iowa

In Iowa, the easiest pathway to becoming a certified high school teacher is to earn a bachelor's degree in the desired subject through a state-approved teacher preparation program. The table below provides a summary of the specific requirements to teach in a high school in Iowa.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree in desired subject through state-approved educator program
Exams Required Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12, Praxis Subject Assessment in chosen field
License Validity Period Initial license valid for two years and standard license for five years; both renewable
Renewal Requirements For standard license: six renewal credits, mandatory child and dependent adult abuse reporter training
Mean Salary (May 2018)* $56,510 (IA high school teachers)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026)* 8% (high school teachers nationwide)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description of High School Teacher

High school teachers teach grades 9 through 12. They typically specialize in one core subject such as science or math or an elective subject such as music or art. Besides planning lessons and grading assignments, high school teachers are also required to meet with parents and other teachers to discuss students' educational and personal development. Often they work with special education teachers to adapt lesson plans to fit students requiring extra attention. Further, high school teachers must be open to and comfortable with using and learning present-day technology.

Education Requirements

Prospective high school teachers in Iowa must earn an undergraduate or higher degree in their desired subject, and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. These programs include coursework in human relations, which enables future educators to teach students from different ethnic and social economic backgrounds. Also required is a component concentrated on exceptional learners, which provides candidates the necessary skills to teach gifted students. Besides helping to develop content knowledge, these comprehensive programs offer varied coursework to familiarize candidates with the field of education and often include a student teaching semester during their senior year.

Exam Requirements

For teacher certification, the state of Iowa uses the Praxis tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Prospective high school teachers are thus required to pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12 (5624), a computer-based test that is two hours long, features 70 selected-response and four constructed-response questions, and has a passing score of 157. This test assesses a candidate's understanding of pedagogy required to begin a career as an educator. Future high school teachers must also achieve a qualifying score on the Praxis subject assessment in their chosen field, such as Biology 5-12 or Mathematics 5-12. While these Secondary Education (Grades 5-12) subject assesments may have different passing scores, most are typically about two-and-a-half hours long and include around 125 selected-response questions.

Initial License and Standard License

The initial teaching license is the certification given to candidates after they successfully complete an Iowa-approved teacher preparation program. This license is valid for two years and can be renewed twice, after which teachers must try for the standard teaching license. To earn standard certification, teachers must successfully complete two years of teaching in an Iowa public school with the initial teaching license. The standard teaching license is valid for five years and can be renewed by earning six renewal credits from an Iowa-approved provider or a state-accredited educational institution. The renewal process also requires teachers to complete a mandatory child and dependent adult abuse reporter training.