Iowa Eliminates Requirements that Applicants for Teaching License Be At Least 21

(Radio Iowa) The requirement that applicants for state teachers’ licenses be at least 21 years old is being eliminated. The bill getting rid of that minimum age for Iowa teachers cleared the legislature unanimously this year and the governor has signed it into law. Senator Sandy Salmon of Janesville says the change is important for students who’re taking community college classes during high school.

“Many students graduate from high school with their AA degree and so they finish up their bachelor’s by the time they’re 20,” Salmon says, “so this enables them to go straight into the teaching field.” Representative Thomas Moore of Griswold is a retired educator and coach. He says in today’s Iowa, prospective teachers who’re enrolled in community college and high school at the same time are penalized for completing college before they’re 21.

“This is important because a school could have a great candidate in a student teacher, but is unable to offer a job due to their age,” Moore says, “or a candidate could have a glowing resume, but has to wait a year for employment due to age or a candidate takes another job in a separate field because of age and decides that is a better fit.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, 71 percent of the people teaching in Iowa schools in 2021 had started in the profession when they were under the age of 26. No other state had a higher percentage of teachers who got their initial teaching license when they were in their early 20s.