The Mississippi Teaching and Certification Resource

Anyone looking to become a teacher in the state must obtain a Mississippi teacher certification before working in the education system. The pathway to certification may vary depending on education and experience. The Office of Educator Licensure within the Mississippi Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Mississippi

In order to start a career as a teacher in the state of Mississippi individuals must first earn a Mississippi teacher certification. In order to be eligible for certification in the state, aspiring teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a Mississippi teachers certification program. Additionally, applicants must pass the required Praxis content tests.

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There are four class levels of Mississippi educator certifications or licenses. Class A is the bachelor’s level license. Class AA is the master’s level certification, and Class AAA is the specialist degree level. Finally, those with a doctorate degree may earn a Class AAAA license.

Teachers who complete a traditional preparation program will earn a five-year educator license. Individuals may also receive the following alternate route licenses: MS Alternate Path to Quality Educators, Teach MS Institute, Master of Arts in Teaching, or American Board Certification. In addition, school districts can request the following licenses: JROTC, Special Administrator Fellowship, Three-Year Interim Certificate, or One-Year License for Veteran Teachers.

Reciprocity in Mississippi is possible for teachers who hold an out-of-state certification. In most cases, two-year and five-year licenses are offered through reciprocity. However, the state may issue a temporary license for those who have not completed the remaining requirements until teachers fulfill the requirements, at which point, they will be eligible for a permanent license. For more specific information on reciprocity as well as the steps towards Mississippi teacher certification renewal, please contact the state’s Department of Education.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Mississippi

One of the most important steps towards teaching certification in Mississippi is completing a state-approved teacher preparation program at an accredited school. Applicants should confirm that their school of choice is accredited by the corresponding regional accreditation body.

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The US Department of Education oversees six regional accreditation agencies that serve US schools. Mississippi schools are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Additionally, applicants who may be considering an online teaching certification program, should know that all schools that offer distance programs must also be accredited. If the schoo is located out of town (University of Phoenix, for example), it must be accredited by the regional accreditation organization which corresponds to the school’s headquartered state.

In addition to the mandatory regional accreditation, some states will also look for an accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. CAEP is a recently formed organization resulting from the merger of TEAC and NCATE, two highly distinguished accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. Under the new name and organization, CAEP will continue to be a marker of rigorous standards in terms of teacher preparatory schools. Although a CAEP accreditation is not mandatory for state approval of programs, most schools will apply for the accreditation as it is a highly respected signal of quality curriculum and process within the education sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Mississippi.

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Mississippi Teacher Education Requirements

One of the first steps towards a teaching certification in Mississippi is completion of educational requirements. Candidates looking to become a teacher in Mississippi must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved educator preparation program at an accredited university. Unlike some states, Mississippi does not require additional coursework other than that offered in most Mississippi teacher preparation programs.

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Mississippi Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand projects 500 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 310 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 380 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Mississippi during the 2012-2022 period. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 32,570 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Mississippi (2013). Excluding special education teachers, elementary school teachers make an average annual salary of $41,490, middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $41,760, and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $42,820 (BLS 2013). Visit the Mississippi Association of Educators for updates on the education job market and state policy.

Mississippi Teacher Testing Requirements

Mississippi State SealIn order to become certified to teach in Mississippi, candidates must complete state testing requirements. Those seeking Mississippi educator certification must first pass the Praxis I Reading, Writing, and Math basic skills test. After completing a Mississippi teachers certification program, the Praxis II test must be passed in the candidate’s content area. For those who receive an alternate certificate through American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence, a Passport to Teaching subject exam is required. Only after completing these testing requirements may a person receive teacher certification.

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Additional Mississippi Teacher Certification Requirements

Unlike most states, the Mississippi Department of Education does not require a background check prior to applying for Mississippi teacher certification. However, under state law, all state teachers must submit to a state and federal background check by submitting fingerprints before they can be eligible employment. Therefore, it’s recommended that teaching applicants submit to a background check while in the process of completing all of the requirements to become a teacher. The process can be started by requesting a fingerprinting card from the state’s Department of Public Safety.

Mississippi Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all of the steps to Mississippi teaching certification are completed, applicants should send in their applications with the following documents:

  1. Official sealed college transcripts as verification of bachelor’s degree.
  2. Original Praxis score reports if the tests were taken out-of-state. If tested in Mississippi, Praxis scores will automatically be sent to the Mississippi Department of Education.
  3. Teacher preparation program verification completed and signed by the program administrator.
  4. Completed application for teacher certification in Mississippi.
  5. Payment of non-refundable application fee.

Mississippi Department of Education
Office of Educator Licensure
P.O. Box 771
Jackson, MS 39205-0771

Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on Mississippi teacher certification.

Mississippi Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 2,940 $25,580
Kindergarten Teachers 1,270 $41,750
Elementary School Teachers 13,490 $41,740
Middle School Teachers 8,250 $41,740
Secondary School Teachers 10,610 $42,710

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Misssissippi

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Mississippi?

Answer: Becoming an elementary teacher in Mississippi requires licensure through the state. To get the initial license, you must have a bachelor’s degree and have taken approved teacher preparation coursework. You must also participate in elementary student teaching and student mentoring. You must pass a criminal background check.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Mississippi State Department of Education: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/educator-licensure
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.