The Missouri Teaching and Certification Resource

Becoming a certified Missouri educator requires that candidates complete a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program and meet the state’s educator testing requirements. The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education oversees the teacher certification process, which is outlined in detail below for those who wish to learn how to become a teacher in Missouri.

How to Become a Teacher in Missouri

Anyone considering becoming a certified teacher in Missouri must have a bachelor’s degree in the field of education or in a core subject area that includes an approved teacher preparation program. Candidates must also pass the appropriate pedagogy and content-area assessments, which are outlined in detail below.

Completing the initial requirements leads to an Initial Professional Certificate (IPC), which is valid for four years. Missouri uses a tiered licensing system to move teachers to highly qualified status. While the IPC is valid candidates must complete four years of teaching experience including one year of beginning teacher assistance, two years of mentoring, yearly evaluations, a professional development plan, and 30 contact hours of professional development. Once these requirements are met, teachers move to the Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC), which is a lifetime teaching credential in Missouri.

There are alternative routes to Missouri teacher certification for applicants who have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program. You can read more about these routes on our guide to alternative teacher certification in Missouri.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Missouri

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in MO through 20242

The most important step to becoming a teacher in Missouri is finding a quality teacher preparation program. For applicants evaluating programs, it’s imperative to confirm that the program is offered by a regionally accredited institution and, if in Missouri, approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education. You can see a list of Missouri approved professional education programs here.

The Missouri Department of Education recognizes out-of-state and distance learning degree programs that hold accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation organizations, which are overseen by the US Department of Education. Aspiring teachers should look for this accreditation when evaluating educator preparation programs.

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 Preparation (CAEP). Although this accreditation is not mandatory, many schools apply for it because it is seen as a high marker of quality curriculum within the teacher education sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Missouri.

Missouri Teacher Outlook
From 2014 to 2024, the Missouri Department of Economic development projects 1,128 job openings due to growth for elementary school teachers, 654 openings due to growth for middle school teachers, and 1,061 openings due to growth for secondary school teachers.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are about 65,050 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Missouri, excluding teachers in special education.4 The average annual salary for Missouri elementary school teachers is $52,920, for middle school teachers $53,630, and for secondary school teachers $47,960.4 For more information on teaching and education career news in Missouri visit the Missouri state chapter of the National Education Association.

Missouri Teacher Education Requirements

Candidates for Missouri teacher certification must complete a bachelor’s degree program at a regionally accredited institution. Teacher preparation programs can be completed as part of or following a bachelor’s degree program, but in either case must be approved by the Missouri Board of Education, which provides a list of approved programs.

Missouri Teacher Testing Requirements

Missouri State SealThe Missouri State Board of Education has replaced its exam series, formerly the Praxis, with the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments (MEGA) and Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA). The MEGA exams measure content area knowledge based on the subject and grade level to be taught. The MoGEA exam measures skills and knowledge in language arts, writing, mathematics, and the sciences. Candidates must achieve a passing score on all exams required for the endorsement area(s) sought before applying for a teaching certificate. In addition, candidates must complete a Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment during their classroom internship, which will be included in a Missouri-approved teacher preparation program.

Additional Missouri Teacher Certification Requirements

As in most states, those pursuing 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) and complete the fingerprinting process before submitting their teacher application documents.

Missouri Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all requirements for Missouri teacher licensing are fulfilled, applicants must apply for a certificate. The required documents to support an application to become a teacher in Missouri are as follows:

  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
  • Proof of teacher preparation program completion at an approved school.
  • Passing scores on the required examinations.
  • Submission of fingerprints for criminal history background check.
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Missouri.

Applications should be submitted through the DESE Secured Web Application Logon. Visit the 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

Missouri Teacher Salary and Jobs

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers4,980$27,500
Preschool Teachers, Special Education250$49,470
Kindergarten Teachers2,350$47,520
Elementary School Teachers25,730$52,920
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School2,280$49,460
Middle School Teachers12,850$53,630
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,330$52,050
Secondary School Teachers26,470$47,960
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,840$55,210
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education980$45,940

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

Missouri Teacher Interview

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 substitute teaching certificate through the state. To get the certificate, you need to have taken at least 60 college credits and have passed a criminal background check. To substitute in career and technical education areas, candidates must have at least an associate’s degree in the content area to be taught and 5,000 hours of work experience.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Missouri State Department of Education: https://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Missouri Department of Economic Development: https://www.missourieconomy.org/occupations/occ_proj.stm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Missouri: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mo.htm