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Substitute Authorization Frequently Asked Questions

I earned my substitute authorization when we were only allowed to substitute at the secondary level. What do I need to do to be able to substitute preschool through 12th grade?
All those holding a substitute authorization were grandfathered in to the new allowances. It is suggested that you take a renewal course geared to help better prepare you to substitute in the elementary level. This course is through the Heartland AEA Professional Development catalog.

What is the difference between a substitute teaching license and a substitute authorization?
A substitute teaching license is based on the completion of a teacher education program. The substitute teaching license authorizes the individual to substitute teach on any level, in any area for a maximum of 90 days in one assignment. The substitute authorization allows a person with 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. 

The substitute authorization allows a paraeducator who holds a paraeducator certificate to substitute in the special education classroom where the person serves as a paraeducator for no more than five consecutive days. The authorization is issued upon the successful completion of the substitute training program. Please review the rules for the substitute authorization.

May I begin substituting under a conditional license while I am waiting for the training to be offered?
No. You must complete the training before you would be issued the substitute authorization.

What is a background check?
A person signs a waiver allowing the Iowa State Division of Criminal Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct a background check. An FBI fingerprint card is also submitted and sent to the FBI lab. The child abuse registry, sex offender registry and the dependent adult abuse registry are all checked. The results of all the state and national criminal background checks are sent to the Board of Educational Examiners for review. The Board looks for felonies, misdemeanors and founded child abuse reports.

As required in Iowa Code 272.2.14, the Board must consider the following: 1) the nature and seriousness of the founded abuse or crime in relation to the position sought, 2) the time elapsed since the founded abuse or crime was committed, 3) the degree of rehabilitation which has taken place since the incidence of founded abuse or commission of the crime, 4) the likelihood that the person will commit the same abuse or crime again and 5) the number of founded abuses committed or criminal convictions by the person involved.

I have already had a background check completed. Do I need to have another one done?
A background check and fingerprinting are required for all new applicants for Iowa licensure. If you have had a background check for the Board of Educational Examiners (i.e., paraeducator certificate, coaching authorization), you will not need to have a background check again. If, however, you have had a background check done for any other agency, school district or organization, a new one must be completed as these cannot be shared between agencies/organizations.

Are there reasons why an applicant would be denied an authorization?
Yes, there are. They are the following:

  • The applicant failed to tell the truth.
  • The applicant's criminal history was serious enough to warrant a denial.
  • The applicant failed to provide the Board of Educational Examiners with additional information as required by the Board.
  • The applicant provided a fraudulent license, transcript or other official document.
  • The applicant's license, certification or authorization from another state is suspended or revoked.
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