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Become a Substitute Teacher

5 months ago

Becoming a substitute teacher could be one of the most rewarding decisions of your life! It's a great way to make a positive difference for children and youth while supporting your community school. 


Substitute Authorization Requirements

substitute authorization may be issued by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to an individual who:

  • Has successfully completed all of the requirements of the approved course "Substitute Authorization: Fostering Student Learning as a Substitute," including two hours of classroom observation after completion of the face-to-face class (form provided at the class)
  • Has at least one of the following: 1) a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution OR 2) completed an approved paraeducator certification program and holds a paraeducator certificate
  • Has attained a minimum age of 21 years
  • Has successfully completed an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation background check
  • Has successfully completed a national criminal history background check


If you hold a bachelor's degree: Receiving a substitute authorization will allow an individual who holds a bachelor's degree to substitute in grades PK-12 for no more than five consecutive days and no more than 10 days in a 30-day period in one job assignment for a regularly assigned teacher who is absent, except in the driver’s education classroom. A school district administrator may file a written request with the board for an extension of the 10-day limit in one job assignment on the basis of documented need and benefit to the instructional program. The licensure committee will review the request and provide a written decision either approving or denying the request.

If you hold a paraeducator certificate: Receiving a substitute authorization will authorize an individual who holds a paraeducator certificate without a bachelor’s degree to substitute ONLY in the special education classroom in which the individual paraeducator is employed for no more than five consecutive days and no more than 10 days in a 30-day period.


Substitute Authorization: Fostering Student Learning as a Substitute

Course Information

This 20-hour course is designed to meet the requirements for the substitute authorization program. This course addresses the four components required by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.

  • Classroom Management: Participants will develop an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior that will enable them to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning and self motivation.
  • Strategies for Learning: Participants will develop skills to use a variety of learning strategies that encourage student development of critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills.
  • Diversity: Participants will develop an understanding of how students differ in their approaches to learning, will be able to create learning opportunities that are equitable and are adaptable to diverse learners and will develop an understanding of diversity within the classroom.
  • Ethics: Participants will develop an understanding of how to foster relationships with parents, school colleagues and organizations in the larger community to support student learning and development and become aware of the Board's Rules of Professional Practice and Code of Ethics.


Many AEAs offer the Substitute Authorization courses.  Consider visiting the BOEE website for a list of AEAs offering the course. 

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