Substitute Authorization

How do I Obtain a Substitute Authorization?

Substitute Authorization Requirements

As part of the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency signed July 17, 2020, a substitute authorization may be issued by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to an individual who: 

  • Has attained a minimum age of 20 years
  • Has successfully completed the course, Substitute Authorization Course (see Step 1 below)
  • Has at least one of the following:
  1. Holds an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree or 60 semester hours of credit from a regionally-accredited institution
  2. Holds a Paraeducator Certificate issued by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners
  3. Holds a bachelor’s degree or higher issued outside the United States (credential evaluation must be established, see more information below)
  • Has successfully completed the application process including the background check (see Step 2 below)

Iowa Teacher Preparation Program Participant

Substitute Authorization course is not required if:

  • You have completed an Iowa teacher preparation program but are waiting on passing Praxis test scores or you have not completed your student teaching (see more information below)
  • Or, if you are a Junior or Senior in an Iowa teacher preparation program, and have a recommendation from your preparation program – Preservice Substitute Authorization (see more information below)

Step 1: Complete Substitute Authorization Course 

Substitute Authorization Course is a 20-hour course addressing the four components required by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners: Classroom Management, Strategies for Learning, Diversity, and Ethics.

Registration Fee: $100

For a list of Heartland AEA classes and to register, visit: 

Substitute Authorization Quick Search Catalog 

Step 2: Submit Application to the Board of Educational Examiners

The application directions and assistance will be provided during the Substitute Authorization course. The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners’ application system is entirely online at its website.

Background Check and Fingerprinting

As part of the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners’ application process, a background check and fingerprinting are required for all new applicants for Iowa licensure. 

Application Fee (subject to change by the BOEE): $160 ($85 Application Fee; $75 Background Check Fee)

Substitute Authorization Authority

Receiving a Substitute Authorization will allow an individual who holds an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree or has completed 60 semester hours through a regionally-accredited institution to substitute in grades PK-12. An individual who holds a paraeducator certificate without an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree and completes the Substitute Authorization course will be authorized to substitute in any classroom except driver’s education as stated in the Governor’s Proclamation of Disaster Emergency (subject to change).

Term of a Substitute Authorization

A Substitute Authorization is valid for five years. 

Renewal of a Substitute Authorization

For renewals, the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners accepts licensure renewal credits from an approved Iowa provider such as the AEA system, ISEA, or PEI, or undergraduate or graduate college credits from a regionally-accredited institution. If you choose an out-of-state program, college semester hour credits must be earned (not CEUs or staff development). Credits need to be earned after the issue date of the current license, or be no more than five years old if the license is expired. Credits should be relevant to education.

Employment Opportunities

Once you have obtained your Substitute Authorization, you can apply to your preferred school district(s). View the list of districts in the Heartland AEA area:

School Districts in Heartland AEA area

You can also visit the Teach Iowa website for more opportunities.

Please note: Local school districts have the option of hiring individuals with a Substitute Authorization. It does not guarantee employment. It is your responsibility to contact districts for which you are interested in subbing.

Substitute Authorization vs. Substitute License

A Substitute Authorization is not the same as a Substitute License. To obtain a Substitute License, you must have completed a full state of Iowa approved teacher preparation program and held, or are eligible to hold, an Iowa teaching license.

Iowa Teacher Preparation Program Options

Waiting on Praxis Test scores or have not completed your student teaching?

If you have completed a teacher preparation program but are waiting on passing Praxis test scores, or you have not completed your student teaching:

  • You do not need to take the substitute authorization course. 
  • You can apply for a Substitute Authorization through the Board of Educational Examiners’ online application system at www.boee.iowa.gov.
  • As part of the online application process, you will need to upload a short letter asking to have your transcripts reviewed in order to waive the Substitute Authorization class requirement.

Preservice Substitute Authorization

If you are 21 years of age, a Junior or Senior in an Iowa teacher preparation program, and have a recommendation from your preparation program, contact the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners or view their BOEE Newsletter.

Degrees Earned Outside the United States 

If you earned your degree outside of the United States, you will need a credential evaluation that establishes the equivalent degree that would be awarded in the United States. 

The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners will accept evaluations from members of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. For a list of current members, visit their website. You will need to contact the members directly to obtain information about their services, fees and requirements.