Getting your license to teach

To teach, by law you must be licensed. Completing your degree puts you in position to apply for an Iowa teaching license (and, no worries, there are steps you can take if you want to teach in another state).

The University of Northern Iowa Educator Preparation Program -- via the Registrar's Office -- is responsible for recommending you for licensure. Upon confirming you've met all requirements, the state grants you your license for an initial two years. 

Throughout your journey at UNI, dedicated staff in the College of Education Advising & Teacher Education Success (CATS) Office will work with you to ensure the necessary paperwork, reviews and recommendations are ready when you achieve this milestone. 

Dulce Orozco, educator
Just the beginning of an educator's journey

Recommendation for Licensure

To be recommended for licensure to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners (BOEE), you must: 

  • Successfully complete student teaching requirements
  • Ensure all major and minor GPA requirements are met
  • Resolve any existing “Notifications of Concern" (NoC)
  • Complete High Risk Behaviors and Substance Abuse training 
  • Complete application for license with BOEE

The BOEE issues licenses specific to ages or grades based on the focus of your degree or minors. Strictly meeting these requirements is not a guarantee of a recommendation for a teaching license. 

You will receive instructions the semester prior to your student teaching outlining the steps to apply for initial licensure and fingerprinting. We recommend you apply at the beginning of your student teaching semester. Upon confirmation by the CATS Office that you’ve met program and graduation requirements, the Registrar's Office recommends licensure to the BOEE.  The BOEE notifies you of your licensure by email. 

Questions? Contact the CATS Office (SEC 151) at 319-273-2265 or email

Substitute authorization

Interested in Substituting? 

You can substitute teach in Iowa while you are a student if you meet stated criteria. You must apply for substitute teaching authorization through the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners. If interested, contact the College of Education Advising and Teacher Education Success (CATS) Office to have an advisor review your transcripts and provide a letter verifying you have met the substitute authorization course requirements through the UNI teacher preparation program. You can then upload this letter in place of the required course when applying.