How to Become a Teacher in Missouri
If you’re interested in becoming a teacher in Missouri, you’ll be in good company. Missouri has over 2,000 active public schools and a teacher force of 66,000 strong. With over 900,000 students enrolled in K-12 public education in Missouri, the state maintains an above-average graduation rate of 85.7%.
Many districts in the state face a teacher shortage for both certified and qualified substitute teachers, and in recent years, efforts have made to address this. Prospective teachers may be eligible for a recruitment bonus, and the state offers several flexible pathways to certification for professionals, veterans, and students hoping to become a teacher. If you’re inspired by the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and young adults, teaching may be a secure and rewarding career choice in Missouri. View more information on becoming a teacher in Kansas City or St. Louis.
Steps to Become a Teacher in Missouri
There are several education career paths to choose from. Consider what age group you’d like to work with, as this will affect what certification you’ll need to earn. Teachers wanting to work with very young children (birth–kindergarten) need an early education certificate, teachers working with young, school-aged children (kindergarten–sixth grade) will require an elementary certificate, and those working with middle–high school students require a secondary certificate to teach. Additionally, you can specialize further, focusing on children with special needs, English language learners, or school counseling.
Traditional Teaching Degrees in Missouri
The traditional path to becoming a teacher in Missouri requires a bachelor’s degree in education and valid state certification. You’ll need to complete a teacher degree program approved by the Missouri State Board of Education, and most students earn a Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) upon graduation. Many schools offer both campus-based and online teaching degree programs that combine courses in teacher training and core subject requirements. Students also complete the student teaching requirement of at least 30 hours and 12-weeks in a classroom. It’s also good to note that the coursework differs for those in early childhood or elementary education versus those aspiring to teach in secondary classrooms. Secondary teachers complete additional subject-level requirements for certification.
While admission requirements vary by school, here are a few you can expect to see:
- Successfully pass the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA) exam. Some schools also require the Missouri Educator Profile (MEP)
- A minimum GPA and ACT/SAT threshold
- Community service or volunteer work
- A criminal background check and fingerprinting
- An interview with an academic advisor or the school’s faculty
While not required for state certification, many teacher preparation programs also offer a graduate-level master’s degree for prospective teachers or administrators, which allows you to focus more intentionally on an area of education.
Finally, after earning a bachelor’s degree, students can apply for state certification upon passing the appropriate content assessments in the subject area they want to teach.
Alternative Teaching in Missouri
The state of Missouri offers several alternative pathways to becoming a teacher for those moving from another state or for those who earned a bachelor’s degree something other than education. As a state with a teaching shortage in several core and elective subjects, Missouri incentivizes prospective teachers with a more flexible and straightforward route to certification.
For teachers with an active certification in another state: If you’ve completed a teaching degree program in another state and have an active certificate, you typically receive a Missouri license without additional coursework. Submit a Non-Missouri Graduate Application that includes past transcripts, verification of your classroom experience, and a copy of your certificate for consideration.
For teachers with an active certification in another country: If you taught in another country, you can still apply for a Missouri certificate using the Non-Missouri Graduate Application, but you’ll first need to have your transcripts evaluated by a credentialing agency.
For prospective teachers with a bachelor’s degree in another content area: If you completed an undergraduate degree in a subject area other than education and would like to become a teacher, the state of Missouri requires you to complete a two-year or 30-hour education program before applying for certification. If you’re already employed at a Missouri school, you may also be eligible for a Temporary Authorization Certificate (TAC), which grants you a one-year certificate while you complete requirements.
For prospective teachers with a doctoral degree: If you’ve already achieved a doctoral-level education a subject you want to teach, you can apply for certification after completing the relevant content assessment exam(s).
Missouri Teaching Certifications and Licensing
If you complete a teacher preparation program through an approved school, you’ll have completed several steps of the certification process:
- Complete core coursework and training in compliance with the Missouri Standards for the Preparation of Educators (MoSPE)
- Complete student teaching with an approved cooperating teacher, including 30 hours at the start of your program, an additional 45 hours mid-program, and a minimum of 12 weeks of classroom time at the end of your program
- Maintain an overall GPA of at least 2.75
- Pass the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA) exam (to qualify for a bachelor’s program)
- Complete a criminal history check and fingerprinting
Once you’ve completed this work, there are only a few steps left:
- Complete the Missouri Standards-Based Performance Assessment and the applicable content assessments
- Apply for certification with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
The state will issue an Initial Professional Certificate (IPC), which is valid for up to four years. During that time, teachers need to complete at least 30 hours of continuing education, work as a teacher at least half time, and be mentored by a more seasoned teacher to qualify for the Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC), which is valid for 99 years.
How Much do Education Programs in Missouri Cost?
Depending on if you plan to attend a public or private university and whether you study on campus or earn an online teaching degree in Missouri, you can expect the sticker price to vary quite a bit. The net price – or, the average amount you’ll end up paying for a bachelor’s degree minus scholarships and grants – at a public university will range from around $9,000–$13,000 each year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Private universities are higher, with tuition ranging from $19,000–$30,000 a year. Here are a few examples of annual net price from schools in Missouri with approved teacher preparation programs:
- University of Missouri-St. Louis: $9,481
- Columbia College: $22,306
- Calvary University: $6,768
- Saint Louis University: $31,460
Of course, you’ll want to look beyond price when making your decision and consider factors like location, program type, and program rankings.
Tuition Assistance, Scholarships, and Loan Forgiveness Programs for Teachers in Missouri
It’s a good idea to begin financial planning for your education now so there are no surprises down the road. Here are few options for scholarships and financial aid to get you started.
Financial Aid: The Department of Education awards federal aid and grants to students depending on eligibility. You’ll need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year to be considered.
Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program: Teachers who have taught at least five years in a low-income school may be eligible for up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness through this federal program.
There are also several state-level grants and scholarships opportunities:
- The Minority Teaching Scholarship awards up to $3,000 each academic year to academically talented students of color.
- The Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program awards up to $2,850 each academic year for students who meet certain need thresholds.
- The Bright Flight Program awards merit-based grants to top-performing seniors. Students receive up to $3,000, with amounts based on ACT scores.
- The E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship offers bonuses and scholarship money for the completion of a semester of work. Students also agree to an additional 6–12 months of service to children after each academic year.
Finally, Missouri lawmakers are considering a state-level financial aid program, which, if approved, can help offset the cost of your education.
Career Outlook for Educators in Missouri
It’s a good time to become a teacher in Missouri. The state is projected to see overall job growth of about 4–6% for teachers in the coming years, which is slightly higher than the national average. Elementary schools are projected to add 2,100 new teachers, middle schools anticipate needing 980 new teachers, and high schools around 1,930 new teachers.
|2018 Median Annual Teaching Salaries in Missouri|
|● Elementary: $49,860|
● Middle school: $55,070
● Secondary: $54,280
● Post-secondary*: $88,613
Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
*Average of all individual post-secondary teaching salaries provided by BLS.
If you still have questions about earning a teaching degree in Missouri, here is a list of government and state-run organizations that provide additional information to get you started.
- Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- Missouri National Education Association (NEA)
- Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA)
- Missouri School Board Association
- Association of American Educators – Missouri
- Missouri State Teachers Foundation
- Missouri Charter Public School Association
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