The Mississippi Teaching and Certification Resource

Mississippi teacher certification is required to work as an educator in the state’s K-12 education system. The Mississippi Department of Education Office of Educator Licensure 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 Mississippi teacher certification. To be eligible for certification in the state, aspiring teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a Mississippi teacher preparation program. Additionally, applicants must pass the required Praxis teaching skills and content-area tests.

There are four class levels of Mississippi educator 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 doctoral degree may earn a Class AAAA license. Candidates who already hold a degree but did not complete teacher preparation may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Mississippi.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Mississippi

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in MS through 20262

One of the most important steps towards earning teaching certification in Mississippi is completing a state-approved teacher preparation program. If in Mississippi, the program completed must be approved by the Mississippi Board of Education. If located out-of-state, the program must be approved for the preparation and licensing of teachers by that state’s Board of Education. To compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs in Mississippi, you can use the sortable table on our Mississippi schools page.

While teacher preparation programs must be approved by the Mississippi State Board of Education, all other coursework completed may be from any institution that holds national or regional accreditation. To ensure quality in education, applicants should confirm that their school of choice is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education.

Some schools also hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP was formed by the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). CAEP accreditation is a marker of rigorous standards in terms of teacher preparation.

Mississippi Teacher Education Requirements

The first step towards teaching certification in Mississippi is completing the education 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. For a Class A license, candidates must have at least a 2.75 GPA in the subject area(s) for which a license endorsement is sought.

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 Core Academic Skills for Educators basic skills test. After completing a Mississippi teacher preparation program, the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam must be passed; this test measures teaching skills and knowledge of child development. Finally, the content-area Subject Assessments appropriate for the grade level(s) and subject(s) to be taught must be passed.

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, individual school districts may require criminal background checks prior to employment.

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:

  • Official sealed college transcripts as verification of bachelor’s degree.
  • Teacher preparation program verification completed and signed by the program administrator.
  • 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.
  • Completed application for teacher certification in Mississippi.
  • Payment of non-refundable application fee.

Applications can be completed through the online ELMS portal. Visit the Department of Education for further details on Mississippi teacher certification.

Mississippi Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

During the 2016-2017 school year, there were 1,066 public K-12 schools in Mississippi, which served an estimated 483,150 students.3 With 31,924 public school teachers, this gave Mississippi a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1.3

Estimates project 1,220 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 460 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 700 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Mississippi from 2016 to 2026.2 Excluding special education teachers, Mississippi elementary school teachers make an average annual salary of $43,860, middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $46,370, and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $47,190.4 Visit the Mississippi Association of Educators for updates on the education job market and state policy.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers2,820$27,940
Preschool Teachers, Special Education40$46,590
Kindergarten Teachers1,140$43,110
Elementary School Teachers13,390$43,860
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School2,300$46,590
Middle School Teachers5,510$46,370
Middle School Teachers, Special Education850$48,800
Secondary School Teachers8,920$47,190
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education1,230$49,460
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education990$48,020

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Mississippi

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Mississippi broadly has the following shortages5:

  • General shortages (Multiple districts), Pre-K-12
  • Mathematics (General), Pre-K-12
  • Science (General), Pre-K-12
  • Special Education (General), Pre-K-12
  • World Languages (General), Pre-K-12

Frequently Asked Questions

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 before qualifying for a renewable five-year license.

Question: Is there a teacher shortage in Mississippi?

Answer: Yes. According to the US Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas report, many school districts in Mississippi reported general teacher shortages, as well as statewide shortages in math, science, special education, and world languages for the 2021-22 school year.5 For this reason, Mississippi may be a good state to be a teacher.

Question: How much do teachers make in Mississippi?

Answer: Mississippi teachers earn average annual salaries of around $45,800 (for elementary, middle, and high school teachers excluding special education and career/technical education).4 Factors that may affect teacher salaries include school district, teacher experience and education, and grade level taught.

1. Mississippi Department of Education: https://www.mdek12.org/OEL
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Mississippi: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/