Mississippi Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. There are four main alternative certification routes for those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a traditional teacher education program in Mississippi. These pathways are the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), the Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers (MAPQT), the Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI), and the American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). In addition, Mississippi has alternate routes for career and technical education teachers (CTE). If you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, see our guide to traditional route certification in Mississippi. Otherwise, continue reading to find out more about alternative route programs in the state.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

Candidates for Mississippi alternative teacher licensure must have a bachelor’s degree and either a passing score on the Praxis Core Skills for Educators exam or a cumulative score of at least 21 on the ACT or its equivalent. The required Mississippi alternative teacher preparation and training programs can be completed in as little as one year as a post-graduate certificate; some pathways may allow the teacher to lead a classroom while completing the required program. Candidates may also elect to pursue a master’s degree in education, or in an academic subject that includes an approved certification program.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Mississippi

Alternative teacher certification in Mississippi typically requires testing, a training program and/or formal coursework, and a one-year teaching internship. Note that each path may be limited to licensure in only certain grade levels and subject areas. No alternate routes for certification are offered for those interested in teaching Elementary K-3. In order to earn an early childhood teaching license in Mississippi, an approved educational program must be completed. You can find further information through the Mississippi Department of Education.

Master of Arts in Teaching Licensure

Candidates for Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) licensure must have a bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.75 GPA in coursework for the requested content area and pass the Praxis subject exam for the endorsement area sought. After completing six graduate credit hours through an approved MAT program, candidates can apply for a three-year non-renewable license which allows them to teach while continuing graduate work. Once the MAT program is successfully completed candidates may apply for a renewable Class AA teaching license.

Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers License

Those seeking the Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers License (MAPQT) license must have a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.75 in coursework for the requested content area and complete an approved training program of 90 clock hours. Once these requirements are met candidates are eligible for a non-renewable one-year license. During that year, teachers must complete a practicum for one Saturday each month for nine months in order to receive a five-year renewable license.

Teach Mississippi Institute

The Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) pathway to licensure is open to those with a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 2.75 in coursework for the requested content area. Candidates attend either an intensive eight-week summer training session or an online program through the University of Mississippi to qualify for a one-year internship license. During the teaching internship candidates complete a mentorship and induction program. Successful completers who are recommended by a local school district for licensure may earn a five-year renewable Class A license.

American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence

American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) licensure is available in the subjects of biology, chemistry, English, math, and physics for grades 7-12. Those with a bachelor’s degree can earn a one-year license by passing the appropriate ABCTE subject area exam and submitting an employment offer from a school district. To receive a five-year license, candidates must complete three weeks of MAPQT training, the MS Public Broadcasting professional development course, or six credit hours of MAT coursework.

Career and Technical Education Licensure

Career and technical education (CTE) licensure is available in the secondary grades for candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in the content area to be taught, depending on subject area. Candidates must also pass the appropriate Praxis exams and have a minimum of one year of full-time occupational experience. Candidates who meet these requirements may be issued a three-year vocational license. To earn a five-year renewable license, candidates must enroll in a Vocational Instructor Preparation (VIP) program and complete a recommended professional development plan (PDP).

Testing Requirements for Mississippi Alternative Certification

Candidates for all alternative pathways in Mississippi must have a minimum score of 21 on the ACT exam or its equivalent and pass the appropriate Praxis content-area exam for the endorsement(s) sought. Candidates who do not meet the minimum ACT score requirement may qualify for licensure by passing the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

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. For more specific information on transferring teacher certification between states, see our guide to teacher certification reciprocity or contact the Mississippi Department of Education.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Certification Programs in Mississippi

To seek certification in Mississippi, you must have completed a state-approved education program. The school-based programs below culminate in the award of a certificate or master’s degree and have been approved by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE):

  • Alcorn State University* (Master’s)
  • Belhaven University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Delta State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Jackson State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Mississippi State University-Meridian* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Mississippi University for Women* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Mississippi Valley State University* (Master’s)
  • University of Mississippi* (Alternative, Master’s)i
  • University of Southern Mississippi* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • William Carey University* (Alternative, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Mississippi Department of Education: https://www.mdek12.org/