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Common Questions About Teacher Licensure at UNI

How Do I Know What to Take at UNI to be Recommended for an Initial Iowa Teaching License?

To be recommended for an Iowa teaching license by the University of Northern Iowa, applicants must complete all requirements of the appropriate approved program. The options for completing an approved program at UNI are:

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree - Teaching Program:
    • Declare teaching major
    • Complete required coursework as listed on degree audit/advisement report
    • Complete Teacher Education Program requirements
    • Complete BA Degree - Teaching Program requirements
  • Second Bachelor of Arts Degree - Teaching Program:
    • Declare teaching major
    • Requires evaluation* of all previous coursework, whether completed at UNI or other institution(s)
    • Complete Teacher Education Program requirements
    • Complete BA Degree - Teaching Program requirements
  • Teacher Licensure Program - Either as a Graduate Classified Student or a Post-BA Undergraduate Classified Student:

*Evaluations are done by a Record Analyst in the Office of the Registrar. You would contact the appropriate Record Analyst based on the subject area for which you want to obtain teaching licensure.

When I Have Completed My Approved Program,
How Do I Apply for My Initial Iowa Teaching License?

Upon completion of an approved program/conferring of the BA Degree, UNI will recommend a first time applicant to the Board of Educational Examiners for an Iowa teaching license if all of the following are satisfied:

Fingerprinting Worksheet/Waiver Form

These forms are completed at an on-campus fingerprinting session or can be picked up at the Office of Teacher Education.

Fingerprinting Session

The Iowa BOEE requires fingerprinting and criminal history background information on all first-time applicants. The University of Northern Iowa provides on-campus fingerprinting sessions every Fall and Spring semester. Teacher education students should sign-up to attend a fingerprinting session the semester before student teaching.

Information on fingerprinting sessions can be obtained from the following location:

Office of Teacher Education
159A Schindler Education Center
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0602
Phone: (319) 273-2265

Fee Information

A $150 check or money order, payable to the Board of Educational Examiners, will need to be provided at the fingerprinting session. The $150 covers the required fees of $65 for the criminal background check and the $85 license fee. If an applicant currently holds a Coaching or Substitute Authorization, the background fee may not be required. The applicant should verify this with the UNI Office of Teacher Education (319-273-2265).

Application for Licensure

The following  information will be of assistance in completing items on Section I of the Application:

Applicant's Folder Number

This number is provided at a UNI fingerprinting session. Applicants that already hold a Coaching Authorization, Substitute Authorization, etc. will use the same folder number as listed on the authorization. The folder number will be required when applying for a teaching position in Iowa.


The license will be mailed, directly from the BOEE to the, address provided on the application.

E-Mail Address

Clearly print the e-mail address (i.e., hyphen versus underscore; zero versus the letter O, etc.). The BOEE will send an e-mail when the license has been printed and is ready to mail.

License Desired

A first-time applicant for an Iowa teaching license is eligible to apply for either the Initial or Substitute License (see the "What Should I Apply For?" question and response below).

Background Information

It is extremely important that all questions in this section are answered honestly and completely. It is best to disclose any background information if you are unsure whether it is a conviction, felony, etc.

Sign and Date the Application

Do not submit the Application to the BOEE. Instead, submit your Application to one the following:

Office of Teacher Education
159A Schindler Education Center
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0602


Office of the Registrar
115 Gilchrist Hall
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0006

Acceptable Professional Dispositions

The absence of any Notification of Concern, which can be monitored on the UNI Teacher Education Data (UNITED) system.

To monitor  your progress in the Teacher Education Program:

  • Log onto your MyUNIverse account.
  • Click on the "Academics" tab.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click "Performance Assessment System."
  • Re-enter your credentials.
  • Click "UNITED" and then "View My Progress."

The BOEE requires that all teacher candidates, who graduate, or who complete a teaching licensure program, from a college/university teacher education program, and are recommended for licensure after January 1, 2013, must attain the qualifying score for the appropriate Praxis II tests.

The New Iowa Praxis II Testing Requirements webpage on the Teacher Education website provides additional information.

The Praxis II score must be received by the UNI Office of Teacher Education in order for UNI to recommend teacher education graduates for their Iowa teaching license.

Any questions regarding the application process should be directed to either the Office of Teacher Education (319-273-2265) or the Office of the Registrar (319-273-2245).

What Type of License Should I Apply For?

First-time applicants for an Iowa teaching license are eligible to be recommended for either the Initial License or the Substitute License. Most first-time applicants should apply for the Initial License.

The Initial License is the regular license issued to practitioners who have completed an approved program. It is valid for two years. It may be renewed twice. The two-year term of the license begins when the Initial License is issued. The Initial License is required for any contracted teaching position in the State of Iowa. The Initial License also allows the practitioner to substitute teach. The Initial License can be converted to a Standard License upon evidence of the completion of the required years of teaching experience and verification that the applicant meets the Iowa teaching standards. The Standard License requires completion of course work to renew every five years for as long as you wish to retain a valid Iowa license.

The Substitute License is valid for five years and for not more than 90 days of teaching in one assignment during any one school year. This license may be renewed every five years. The Substitute License is usually not recognized as a regular teaching license outside the State of Iowa.

Specific information regarding requirements for the renewal of Iowa teaching licenses can be found on the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners website.

Should I Apply for My Iowa License Upon Completion of My BA Degree/Teacher Licensure Program?

It is strongly recommended that you apply for an Iowa teaching license upon completion of your approved program, even if you do not intend to teach in Iowa. Application for an Iowa License validates completion of UNI's current approved program, which is on file and accredited by the Iowa Department of Education. As programs or licensure requirements change, you may eventually become ineligible for the initial Iowa license. It is easier to renew a license than to meet a new set of program requirements. It may also be a benefit to hold a valid Iowa license when applying for licensure in another state.

When Will I Receive My Teaching License?

Licensure recommendations for an initial Iowa license are sent to the BOEE by a Web process for applicants who have applied for an Iowa teaching license. Licenses are mailed directly from the BOEE to the applicant at the address provided on the "Application for Licensure" form. Applicants should anticipate receiving the license approximately two- to four-weeks after the official end of the semester.

Important: Upon receipt of the license, check that all of the information on the license is accurate. If any corrections are necessary, contact Cathy Humke (319-273-2245 or in the Office of the Registrar immediately. Corrections made to a license after 30 days from the issue date may result in additional fees.

Accessing Your Information on the BOEE Online Licensure Application

Former and Current Practitioners

Licensure information can be viewed at the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners: Search for a Practitioner website by entering either your first and last name or folder number.

Current Semester Candidates for Graduation/Teacher Licensure

You are able to monitor the status of your teaching license on the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners' online licensing application. The information that is entered into the BOEE system is obtained from the background waiver form and/or the Application for Licensure (Iowa Institution) that you submitted to the Office of Teacher Education. This information will be viewable on the BOEE online site approximately mid-April for Spring semesters, mid-July for Summer sessions, and mid-November for Fall semesters.

Regular and substitute teaching requires a license issued by the BOEE. Even though you have been assigned a folder number (which you received at a fingerprinting session), and your information is in the BOEE system, it does not mean that you have been cleared for licensure.

The Following Steps Will Instruct You on Signing on to the BOEE Online Licensing System:

  • Sign on to:
  • Click on: "Search for a License"
  • Click on: "Practitioner Logon"
  • Enter: Last four digits of your Social Security Number, Folder Number, Date of Birth, and then click "Logon"

It is highly recommended that you try logging onto the system. If you have a problem logging on, you need to contact Cathy Humke (319-273-2245 or immediately.

Steps in the Licensure Process:

  • When you have logged on, only your directory information is viewable. Check the accuracy of this information, especially your mailing address and e-mail address. The BOEE uses the e-mail address to notify you when  your license has been printed and ready to mail. The mailing address is where your license will be sent to. You are able to make changes to your directory information. If you do make changes, be sure to click on "Save Changes."
  • You will be recommended by the University of Northern Iowa for your Iowa teaching license when final grades have been reported and your degree conferred. Teacher Licensure students that already hold a degree will be recommended when final grades have been reported. After UNI has submitted licensure recommendations to the BOEE and the BOEE has processed those recommendations, all of your licensure information will be viewable on the BOEE online licensing system. The licensure process is now complete, and you are authorized to teach and/or substitute teach in the State of Iowa.
  • The Board of Educational Examiners will send you an e-mail when your license has been printed. You should receive your license in the mail soon after you receive the BOEE e-mail.
  • Be sure to thoroughly check your license when you receive it. Contact Cathy Humke (319-273-2245 or if there are any errors. Corrections to a license can be made for 30 days after the license is issued without an additional fee.

How Can I Add Endorsements on to My Teaching License?

Practitioners that hold an Iowa teaching license can add endorsements to their license by either completing an institution's current approved program requirements, OR by satisfying the State of Iowa minimum requirements. The main differences between these two options are:

UNI's Approved Program Iowa Minimum Requirements
Requires completion of specific UNI courses. Coursework may be taken from any accredited institution.
Carries UNI institutional recommendation. Does not carry institutional recommendation.
May be accepted out-of-state. Usually recognized only in the State of Iowa.

UNI's Approved Program Requirements:

A practitioner that wishes to obtain an additional endorsement based on the completion of UNI's approved program requirements will need to request a transcript evaluation by completing the following steps:

Office of the Registrar
115 Gilchrist Hall
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0006

UNI will grant the institutional recommendation, and the form and fee will then be sent to the BOEE for processing.

Iowa Minimum Requirements:

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners does allow Iowa four-year institutions to do minimum requirement endorsement evaluations. However, not all Iowa four-year institutions have chosen to do minimum requirement evaluations. UNI does do minimum requirement evaluations, but only for graduates of UNI. Non-UNI graduates can obtain an evaluation from another Iowa four-year college. If a college or university will not provide an evaluation, and if the applicant believes the Iowa requirements have been satisfied, the applicant may file for a transcript review directly from the Iowa BOEE.

UNI graduates that wish to obtain an evaluation for an endorsement based on BOEE minimum requirements need to do the following:

  • Obtain the BOEE checklist for the endorsement you want to complete from the BOEE website.
  • Fill out the checklist based on the coursework you have completed.
  • Submit the following items to the appropriate Record Analyst based on the subject area of the endorsement you are completing:
    • Completed BOEE checklist;
    • Official transcripts from all institution(s) you have attended since your last enrollment at UNI; and
    • Catalog course description and/or syllabus for non-UNI courses you have listed on the BOEE checklist as satisfying a content area.
  • The Record Analyst will review all documents and will provide you with a written evaluation. An evaluation may take anywhere from four to six weeks.
  • When you have completed the BOEE minimum requirements, you are eligible to add the endorsement on to  your teaching license.
  • To add an endorsement, you need to complete the Application to Add an Endorsement. You will need to submit the form and required fee to the address provided below for completion. UNI will verify completion of the endorsement and the form and fee will then be sent to the BOEE for processing.

Office of the Registrar
115 Gilchrist Hall
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0006

How Do I Apply for an Out-of-State Teaching License?

Practitioners who are contemplating teaching in a state other than Iowa will need to apply for licensure in that specific state. Information and application forms for applying for a teaching license in a specific state can usually be found at that state's website. Click here for more information.

Out-of-state licensure/certification applications may contain a section that requires an institutional recommendation to be signed by the Registrar, Dean, or Certification Official. UNI is the "Recommending Institution," and grants an institutional recommendation for applicants that have completed UNI's approved practitioner pre-preparation program. Out-of-state applications that require an institutional recommendation should be submitted to the following location for processing:

Office of the Registrar
115 Gilchrist Hall
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0006

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Office Location/Hours

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Fall/Spring: (M-F) 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


(319) 273-2241


(319) 273-6792


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