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Iowa has embraced the latest options in program delivery, with institutions offering coursework, endorsements, and degrees via video conferencing, e-learning, Blackboard delivery, hybrid formats and the more traditional on-campus model.
ESL Teacher Certification
The Iowa Department of Education (IDE) and the Iowa Board of Education Examiners administer all certificates and endorsements for state educators. The Licensure Handbook lists the following types of educator licenses issued in Iowa, as of 2014:
- Initial License
- Standard License
- Master Educator
- Class B (Conditional) License
Note that IDE does not automatically issue certificate reciprocity with any other state. However, out-of-state educators can submit their official documents and ancillary materials for an analysis to confirm they meet Iowa requirements. Teachers must have 18 semester hours of ESL coursework that covers TESOL and bilingual methods and curriculum; language proficiency assessment; linguistics; second language acquisition; cultural and linguistic diversity; and TESOL/bilingual education theory, models, and research.
To earn the endorsement for ESL, a teacher must already hold a valid Iowa teaching credential. Additional course requirements, as outlined by IDE’s Licensure Handbook, must total 18 semester hours and include:
- Bilingual and ESL Teaching Methods
- TESOL Methods in Subject Matter Content
- Adapting and Modify Curriculum for ESL
- Language Development
- Second Language Acquisition
- Language Structures
- Multicultural Education
Alternative Certification Options
According to the Iowa Board of Education Examiners’ guide to Non-Traditional Licensure, would-be educators can meet the criteria for a Teacher Intern License if they hold a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA; have completed the subject matter courses that correspond with IDE’s secondary teaching endorsements; have three years of post-college work experience; and complete an introductory teacher intern program approved by the state. This program is known as the Master of Arts in Teaching – Iowa Track and is offered by several institutions in Iowa.
TESOL Master’s Degrees in Iowa
Graceland University makes the list of the country’s top online graduate education programs as ranked by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. While not offering a TESOL degree, Graceland offers a M.Ed. Literacy Instruction. This course of study includes classes in teaching adults and ELLs. University of Iowa earned a spot on the National Council on Teacher Quality’s 2013 Honor Roll. The M.A.T. in Foreign and Second Language Education program is geared toward bilingual and foreign language education rather than ESL education. University of Northern Iowa offers a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).