Certification Requirements to Become a Math Teacher in Iowa

Follow these steps to become a mathematics teacher in Iowa:

Earn at Least a Bachelor’s Degree and Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
Pass Praxis Tests
Apply for a Teacher License, and Submit to a Background Check

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Iowa has approximately 1,170 teachers. Employment for middle and high school teachers is expected to increase by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018. The employment outlook for math teachers is far better because of a serious lack of qualified applicants.

As of July 10, 2013, the Iowa state Marketplace for Teaching Jobs, which lists openings for over 50 specialties, announced that there were 34 openings for math teachers, representing the second highest number of available jobs on the list.



Step 1. Earn at Least a Bachelor’s Degree and Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

With over 30 four-year or more colleges/and universities, the State of Iowa is rich in educational opportunities for aspiring mathematics teachers. You need to be sure the school you choose has a teacher preparation program approved by the Iowa Department of Education for meeting the standards described in IA Administrative Code, Chap. 79.

Teacher (Practitioner) Preparation Program

Accredited Practitioner Preparation Programs consist of both course work and fieldwork, including a minimum of 12 semester hours in courses such as:

  • Art & Science of Teaching
  • Classroom Management
  • Foundational Knowledge/skills
  • Creating a Learning Environment
  • Instructional Planning
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Understanding How Students Learn
  • Understanding Diverse Student Populations
  • Teaching How To Do Research
  • Designing Learning Experiences in Math
  • Assessment Strategies

After completing your teacher preparation coursework, you will be required to spend a minimum of 50 hours in the field. These hours are likely to consist of a combination of:

  • Classroom Observation
  • Student Teaching
  • Teacher Internship

A teaching license requires at least 160 hours of teaching experience, much of which can be achieved through student teaching or internships. If you do an excellent job while student teaching there is always the possibility of being offered an internship at that school, especially since there is such a great demand for teachers of mathematics.

Also, you can apply for a Class A provisional license (see below) while completing your hours as long as you have successfully finished your teacher practitioner program.

Credit Hour Requirement

If you hold a bachelor’s degree, regardless of concentration, you’ll have to take 24 semester hours of math courses to teach mathematics at any grade level in Iowa.

The following courses must be included in your program in order to teach math in kindergarten through 8th Grade:

  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Number Theory
  • Measurement
  • Computer Programming
  • Probability and Statistics

Teaching math in middle- or secondary school requires an Iowa Secondary Math Endorsement,which also demands at least 24 semester hours of math including courses in:

  • Linear algebra or another abstract (modern) math course
  • Two-course sequence of Calculus
  • Computer Programming
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Geometry

If your bachelor’s degree includes a concentration in mathematics, you will undoubtedly meet all of these requirements as part of your major program. If you have a master’s degree in Mathematics you have automatically filled all math course requirements to teach math in K through 12.

Human Relations Training

You will have to complete a course or workshop on respecting human diversity to help you teach in multi-cultural environments. The kinds of topics covered include:

  • Developing awareness of different groups of students
  • Working with a multi-cultural staff
  • Recognizing dehumanizing biases
  • Dealing with biases among students
  • Learning to relate effectively to members of varied cultural groups



Step 2. Pass Praxis Tests

The Iowa Department of Education requires that you pass Praxis tests in “pedagogy” and in “content” in order to be eligible for a teacher license. To qualify for teaching math in the Iowa public school system you will have to pass both Praxis I and II. The first focuses on the Principles of Teaching and Learning, especially basic skills in reading, writing and math for all grade levels.

Praxis II consists of 50 multiple-choice questions on specific math content, including:

  • Algebra and Number Theory
  • Measurement
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Functions
  • Calculus
  • Data Analysis and Statistics
  • Matrix Algebra
  • Discrete Mathematics

You can opt to take either computer- or paper-delivered Praxis tests, which are administered, at various locations in Iowa. Computer-delivered tests are offered year round while paper-delivered tests are only given on specific fixed dates. Praxis exams are given only in English.

Call or e-mail the Iowa Department of Education (515-242-6014 or mary.smith@iowa.gov) to find the most convenient testing location.



Step 3. Apply for a License and Submit to a Background Investigation

There are four kinds of teacher licenses in Iowa:

Class A Provisional License

You can be granted this non-renewable one-year license if you have successfully completed a teacher preparation program but not yet met all of the other requirements for a teaching license.

Initial Teacher License

When you first apply for a teacher license in Iowa after meeting all of the requirements you will be granted an initial provisional license that is renewable in two years.

Standard Teacher License

You become eligible for a “standard” teacher license once you have two years of full-time teaching experience. Standard licenses are valid for five years and renewable.

Professional Educator License

In order to be eligible for this license you must have a master’s degree in mathematics and five years of full-time teaching experience.

You can go to the Department of Education teaching jobs website for information on how to receive your application packet and a list of current teacher job openings. Your application packet includes a fingerprint kit to take to your local sheriff or police department where you will be fingerprinted. Your prints will be run through the state and national criminal background check databases. Include the authorized results of the background check with your application.

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