Alternative Teaching Certification in Iowa


The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners provides a method for those who have a bachelor’s degree and a desire to teach in grades 7-12 but no actual teaching experience to fulfill the requirements for a standard teaching license. This is available while you are in the process of completing educational and experience requirements necessary for teacher licensure. This alternative route is referred to as non-traditional licensure, or a Teacher Intern License.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in Iowa.

Alternative Certification Requirements


Education Requirements

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You must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university with at least a 2.5 overall GPA to qualify for a Teacher Intern License. You must also meet the subject matter coursework requirements for at least one endorsement and complete introductory pedagogy coursework. After completing the introductory program, you may apply for the Teacher Intern license. Then you may accept a position at an Iowa high school for one year while you work towards full teacher licensure. You will complete your school district’s mentoring and induction program during this time, as well as a teacher intern seminar.

To complete the Teacher Intern program, you must complete the four-year teacher intern program of coursework at an Iowa college or university that has been approved by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. A listing of approved programs may be found here.

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No examinations are necessary for the Teacher Intern license, beyond the Basic Skills exam you will take at your college or university during the program.



To qualify for entrance into the Teacher Intern program, you must have at least three years of work experience after receiving your bachelor’s degree.

As part of your Teacher Intern program, you must complete 50 hours of contact with students through a field experience. Once this and your educational requirements have been completed, you may apply for the Teacher Intern license, which will allow you to teach at the high school level for one year while completing the requirements for full teacher licensure.


Criminal History Background Check

All teacher interns must first undergo a criminal history background check before a Teacher Intern license will be issued. This check will be conducted through the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You are responsible for acquiring the fingerprints necessary to process the background check, as well as the fees associated with these checks. Your local Sherriff’s offices or police station should be able to assist with fingerprinting.


Contact Information

For more information on Iowa colleges and universities offering the Teacher Intern program, contact them directly. A list may be found here.

For more information on Teacher Intern licensure, contact the following officials at the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners: Dr. Mary Lou Nosco at 515-725-2146 or Susan Fischer at 515-281-3605.