A substitute authorization may be issued by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to an individual who:

  • Has successfully completed all of the requirements of the approved course “Substitute Authorization: Fostering Student Learning as a Substitute,” including two hours of classroom observation after completion of the face-to-face class (form provided at the class).
  • Has at least one of the following: 1) a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution OR 2) completed an approved paraeducator certification program and holds a paraeducator certificate.
  • Has attained a minimum age of 21 years
  • Has successfully completed an Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation background check. (fingerprint cards provided by the BOEE)
  • Has successfully completed a national criminal history background check.

Individuals holding a bachelor's degree

Receiving a substitute authorization will allow an individual who holds 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 for a regularly assigned teacher who is absent, except in the driver’s education classroom. A school district administrator may file a written request with the board for an extension of the 10-day limit in one job assignment on the basis of documented need and benefit to the instructional program. The licensure committee will review the request and provide a written decision either approving or denying the request.

Individuals holding a paraeducator certificate

Receiving a substitute authorization will authorize an individual who holds a paraeducator certificate without a bachelor’s degree to substitute ONLY in the special education classroom in which the individual paraeducator is employed for no more than five consecutive days and no more than 10 days in a 30-day period.

Paraeducators that have a Substitute Authorization can not teach in the general education classroom or other special education classrooms in which they are not assigned. 

Iowa Board of Education Substitute Authorization Rules  http://www.state.ia.us/boee/subrules.html

Frequently Asked Questions

The cost of the Substitute Authorization Class is $125

The cost of the Authorization is $85

The cost of the background check is $75


Visit our Professional Learning Registration System for a schedule of when the Substitute Authorization course is being offered. You may register online if paying by Visa or MasterCard, or you may print off a registration form and mail it in with your payment. 



Dr. Judy Sweetman
License Renewal Coordinator
800/352-9040 Ext. 6088