The Iowa Department of Education notes that the fine arts are particularly well suited in supporting students in developing the Iowa Core Universal Constructs crucial for success in the 21st century. These universal constructs include: Critical Thinking, Complex Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, Flexibility and Adaptability, and Productivity and Accountability. The Iowa Department of Education notes that “Individuals who participate in an effective visual arts program develop visual thinking abilities and analytic and expressive abilities that result in a high level of functioning in academic areas such as mathematics, sciences, social sciences, and language arts.”
The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners is the state’s licensing body and works to establish and enforce rigorous standards for all Iowa teachers. To become an arts teacher in Iowa, complete the following steps.
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program|
|Apply for Your License|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your License|
|Pursue Graduate Work|
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
The first step to becoming an art teacher in Iowa is to earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and complete an approved educator preparation program (teacher prep programs may also be completed as part of a masters degree). A list of accredited Iowa institutions can be found here. 51 Iowa schools offer programs that lead to endorsement as an art teacher at either the K-8 or 5-12 level.
Teacher prep programs for arts educators will vary by school, but by state law must include:
- Coursework in the professional education core
- Courses in art-related subjects (see below)
- A human relations component
- A student teaching or internship placement
Whether you want to teach art at either the K-8 or 5-12 level, you must complete twenty-four semester hours in art, including coursework in art history, studio art, and two and three-dimensional art, as a well as a course in the methods of teaching art.
Another path to becoming an art teacher in Iowa is to complete the Teacher Intern Program, which requires a bachelor’s degree and meeting other requirements, but not the completion of an approved teacher prep program. More information can be found here.
Step 2. Complete Testing
According to Iowa statue, all teacher candidates graduating from an Iowa institution after January 1, 2013 must attain the qualifying score on authorized assessments before they can be considered a program completer. This includes both a content test and a pedagogy test. Depending on the grade range being taught, these tests may include:
- Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching K-6 (passing score is 167)
- Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching 5-9 (passing score is 166)
- Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching 7-12 (passing score is 165)
The Principles of Learning and Teaching test measures general pedagogical knowledge through multiple-choice questions and constructed-response prompts based on case studies.
- Praxis II Art: Content and Analysis (5135) (passing score is 157 regardless of grade)
- Art: Content and Analysis is a computer-delivered, two-hour exam with 85 selected-response questions and three constructed-response questions that cover the process and techniques of art making, the historical and theoretical foundations of art in Western culture and beyond, and arts analysis. The analysis portion of the test asks you to write about verifiable art historical examples from memory, and to write about work you have personally created in two different media.
More information on these tests and how to take them can be found at the Iowa Department of Education here.
One result of the recent Iowa rule changes is that all new teachers in Iowa who have completed an approved Iowa preparation program are considered “highly qualified” under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), as long they are teaching in the appropriate license/endorsement area(s).
Step 3. Apply for Your License
Iowa offers three main types of teaching licenses:
- Initial: valid for two years, renewable under certain conditions
- Standard: valid for 5 years, renewable under certain conditions
- Master Educator: valid for 5 years, renewable under certain conditions
You must meet the following requirements to apply for the Initial License:
- Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Completion of an approved teacher preparation program
- Completion of an approved human relations component
- Completion of requirements for a teaching endorsement
- Completion of the Iowa mandated tests (for graduates after Jan. 1, 2013; other rules apply for earlier graduates)
- Meet the regency requirement of 6 college credits or teaching experience – either within the last 5 years
Forms to apply for an initial license from an in-state teacher prep program can be downloaded here, and the fee for a first-time license is $85. The endorsement number for art teachers is 113.
Teacher Intern License
In order to qualify for a teacher intern license, you must:
- Hold a baccalaureate degree with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale from a regionally accredited institution
- Meet the subject matter course work requirements for one of the secondary teaching endorsements
- Have at least three years of post-baccalaureate work experience
- Successfully complete the introductory teacher intern program at a four-year college or university approved by the State Board of Education
Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License
You may renew an Initial License twice if you have not met the experience requirement, although the second renewal requires proof of employment. No credits are required to renew this license. You must submit a certificate verifying the completion of child and dependent adult abuse mandatory reporter training along with the application. You may also extend your license for one year if you need one more year to meet the experience requirement.
Forms for renewing and extending all Iowa teaching licenses may be found here. All renewals require verifying the completion of the child and dependent adult abuse mandatory reporter training.
The next license to apply for after the Initial License is the Standard License, for which you must pay $85, complete a conversion application, and meet the following requirements:
- Completion of requirements 1-6 for the initial license (See above)
- Evidence of two years successful teaching experience in a public school in Iowa or three years in any combination of public, private, or out-of-state
To renew a Standard License, you must complete six credits during the term of your standard license. Credits earned during the initial license are not accepted. In addition to the six credits, you must also submit a certificate verifying the completion of the child and dependent adult abuse mandatory reporter training. Points toward one credit may be earned through the supervision of student teachers and practicum students.
Master Educator License
The next step is the Master Educator license, which requires a master’s degree. To apply for this license you must pay $85, complete an application, and meet the following requirements:
- Completion of requirements 1-6 for the initial license
- Five years of teaching experience
- Master’s degree in a recognized endorsement area, or in curriculum, effective teaching, or a similar degree program which has a focus on school curriculum or instruction
To renew a Master Educator License, you must complete four credits during the term of your license. You must also submit a certificate verifying the completion of the child and dependent adult abuse mandatory reporter training. Points toward one credit may be earned through the supervision of student teachers and practicum students.
Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work
As noted above, a masters’ degree is required for the Master Educator license. Post-baccalaureate options in the state include:
- M.A. in Art Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching
- Master of Education Practitioner
- Master of Science in Teaching
- Master of Science in Education in Education Leadership
- Master of Science in Literacy Education
- Master of Science in Education in Special Education
- Master of Science in Education in Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Development
- Master of Science in Leadership Development
Iowa Art Teacher Salaries
According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Iowa (as of the 2012-2013 school year) was $33,226, slightly lower than the national average of $36,141. The average teacher salary is $50,634.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:
|Occupation Title||Employment||Annual Mean Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||16,220||$48,950|
|Middle School Teachers||6,330||$51,050|
|Secondary School Teachers||11,710||$46,820|
However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below (note that not all areas track salaries for all locations):
|Occupation Title||Employment||Annual Mean Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||200||Estimate not yet released|
|Middle School Teachers||150||$49,400|
|Secondary School Teachers||240||$50,430|
|Cedar Rapids, IA|
|Elementary School Teachers||930||$49,980|
|Middle School Teachers||560||$55,750|
|Secondary School Teachers||1,210||$49,480|
|Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA|
|Elementary School Teachers||3,330||$52,480|
|Middle School Teachers||910||$57,700|
|Secondary School Teachers||1,610||$53,430|
|Elementary School Teachers||550||$50,120|
|Secondary School Teachers||480||$47,070|
|Iowa City, IA|
|Elementary School Teachers||630||$54,130|
|Middle School Teachers||200||$46,510|
|Secondary School Teachers||680||$48,480|
|Sioux City, IA-NE-SD|
|Elementary School Teachers||710||$45,980|
|Middle School Teachers||520||$49,190|
|Secondary School Teachers||300||$45,070|
|Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA|
|Elementary School Teachers||820||$51,130|
|Middle School Teachers||300||$53,700|
|Secondary School Teachers||530||$44,120|
Salary schedules in Iowa vary by district. According to the state’s department of education, the average salary for a full-time teacher in the 2012-2013 school year was $50,846. The Morning Sun district paid the highest, at $65,960, and the Prescott district paid the lowest, at $31,441. Other information on Iowa salaries in each district may be found here.
Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries throughout Iowa and nearby areas can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics: