The Missouri Teaching and Certification Resource

Becoming a certified teacher in Missouri requires a number of steps, but the process is fairly straightforward. The Office of Educator Quality within the state’s Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Missouri

Anyone considering becoming a certified teacher in Missouri must have a Missouri teacher certificate. In order to obtain this certification, there are several requirements that an individual must complete. The most common certificate for new teachers is the Initial Missouri teacher certification. Although requirements may differ depending on certification pursued, all teachers in Missouri must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a Missouri teachers certification program and pass the required state examinations.

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An Initial Certificate is valid for four years, and two years of mentoring, yearly evaluation, one year of beginning teacher assistance, a professional development plan, and 30 contact hours of professional development during those four years are necessary to apply for a career continuous certification.

Another route to Missouri teacher certification is for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree, but not in the educational sphere. In this case, teachers may work under a two-year, provisional certificate while they complete their studies, which and usually requires about 30 semester hours.

Additionally, for teachers with out-of-state certification, it is possible to obtain a Missouri educator certification provided certain additional requirements are met. Experienced teachers looking for information on teacher reciprocity or the Missouri teacher certification renewal process should contact the Department of Education.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Missouri

Becoming a certified teacher in Missouri requires quite a few steps. However, perhaps the most important is finding a quality teacher education program. For applicants evaluating programs, it’s imperative to confirm that the program is offered by an accredited institution.

There are six regional accreditation organizations, which are overseen by the US Department of Education. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) accredits all Missouri learning institutions. Therefore, aspiring teachers should look for this accreditation when evaluating Missouri teacher educator certificate programs.
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Additionally, there is a national accreditation body that is highly regarded and recognized by the US Department of Education: The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. This organization is the result of a recent merger between NCATE and TEAC, two respected accreditation organizations. Although this accreditation may not be mandatory for all Missouri schools, many apply for it because it is seen as a high marker of quality curriculum and organization within the teacher education sector.

In summary, when evaluating teacher preparatory schools, applicants should confirm that the school is confirmed by the NCA as well as hold a CAEP accreditation. Online teaching certification programs should also be offered by institutions accredited by its corresponding regional accreditation organization.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Missouri.

Quick Guide

Missouri Teacher Education Requirements

Candidates for becoming a teacher in Missouri complete a four-year education program at a higher education institution. Teacher education programs must be approved by the Missouri State Board of Education. Some institutions also offer graduate programs for advanced certification or programs for non-traditional candidates to receive alternative certification.

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Missouri Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 750 average annual new job opportunities for elementary school teachers, 450 average annual new job opportunities for middle school teachers, and 610 average annual new job opportunities for secondary school teachers in Missouri through 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are about 59,720 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Missouri, excluding teachers in special education (2013). The average annual salary for Missouri elementary school teachers is $48,460, for middle school teachers $53,380, and for secondary school teachers $47,510 (BLS 2013). For more information on teaching and education career news in Missouri visit the Missouri & National Education Association.

Missouri Teacher Testing Requirements

Missouri State SealMissouri’s 1985 Excellence in Education Act established teacher testing requirements in the state, and the Missouri State Board of Education has chosen two assessments as requirements for a Missouri teaching license. Before being admitted into a professional education program, individuals must take the College Basic Academic Subjects Examination (CBASE). Prior to certification, candidates must also complete the Praxis II assessment in their content or specialty areas.
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Additional Missouri Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most states, anyone pursuing a teacher certification in Missouri must submit to a federal and state background check. All applicants must register through the State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) before submitting their teacher application documents.

Missouri Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all the requirements for Missouri teachers licensing are fulfilled, applicants must send in all of the information. The Missourit Teacher Certification Office is incredibly busy during the summer months, so it’s recommended to send in all information three to four months in advance of the estimated date of employment. The required steps to become a teacher in Missouri are as follows:

  1. Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  2. Proof of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
  3. Passing score on the required examinations
  4. Submission of fingerprints for criminal history background check
  5. Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee
  6. Completed application for teaching certification in Missouri

PO Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Street Address:
205 Jefferson St.

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

Teacher Quote “There are so many reasons for teachers to feel bogged down: standardized testing, assessments, teaching based on the standards and more, but there is no better feeling than seeing the look in a child’s face when that light bulb goes on. It makes everything worth it!” -Sarah Moellering, Missouri Second Grade Teacher

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Missouri Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 5,950 $27,950
Kindergarten Teachers 2,680 $46,790
Elementary School Teachers 23,380 $47,290
Middle School Teachers 13,870 $50,450
Secondary School Teachers 20,480 $45,810

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

Missouri Teacher Interview

Interview with Sarah Moellering, Missouri Second Grade Teacher

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Missouri

Question: How can I become a substitute teacher in Missouri?

Answer: To become a substitute teacher in Missouri, you must obtain a 180-day certificate through the state. This certificate is renewable. To get the certificate, you need to have taken at least 60 college credits and have passed a criminal background check.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Missouri State Department of Education: http://dese.mo.gov/eq/cert/
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.