Missouri Teacher Certification Guide


How to Become a Teacher in Missouri

Missouri teaching certificate requirements are typical of other states. If you want to be a teacher in Missouri you need the following:

  • a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university, which includes a teacher preparation program
  • a passing score on state mandated exam(s)
  • a background check

Missouri has a two-tiered level of traditional teaching certificates. They are as follows:

  • Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) - To attain this license, you must have a bachelor's degree in a field of education or a core subject area. Your course of study must have teacher preparation courses, and supervised student teaching. Once you pass the state mandated exams, you will be granted an IPC.
  • Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC) - To move up to a CCPC, you must have four years of teaching experience under the initial certification. These four years must include one evaluation per year, one year of assistance for beginning teachers, two years of mentorship, and a 30 hour professional development plan.

These Missouri teaching certificate requirements, and alternate paths to certification will be detailed in the sections below.

Missouri Teacher Certification Programs

Missouri teaching certificate requirements include completing an approved teacher preparation program. There are 43 regionally accredited colleges and universities in Missouri that have Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs). A complete list of colleges and universities that offer EPPs can be found at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). The DESE rates the effectiveness of each EPP each year, based on Missouri Standards for the Preparation of Educators (MoSPE). The results are released in the Annual Performance Report for Educator Preparation Programs (APR-EPP). This is a valuable resource when you are determining which EPP would best fit your needs. Several colleges in Missouri also appeared on the Princeton Review's Great Schools for Education Majors 2020. They are listed right below.

  • College of the Ozarks (100 Opportunity Ave., Point Lookout, MO 65726) - This distinguished private college offers programs in elementary education, and middle school add-on endorsements such as mathematics, social sciences, science, and English language arts.
  • Stephens College (1200 E. Broadway, Columbia, MO 65215) - This college has an on-campus PreK-5 school. This allows teacher candidates to get supervised clinical experience in the classroom from the first semester they are enrolled. They offer programs in elementary and early childhood.
  • William Jewell College (500 College Hill, Liberty, MO 64068 - This institute offers programs in elementary education, grades 1-6, and secondary education, grades 9-12, in the subject areas of biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, English, social studies, and speech and theatre. Student teaching is for one full year, rather than the usual one semester.

Another thing to consider when choosing an EPP, is how it is accredited. One of the most highly regarded accreditation rating is given by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The DESE provides a list of the 22 colleges and universities that have been accredited by CAEP.

When you are enrolled in an educator preparation program, what you can expect is detailed in the section below.

Missouri Teaching License Education Requirements

As mentioned above, Missouri teaching certificate requirements include completion of an EPP. When you are enrolled in an educator preparation program, you can expect the following:

  • Foundational Educational Courses - These courses can include classes on growth and development, child development, technology in education, educational psychology, and social justice.
  • Teaching Methods - These classes include courses on different methods of teaching, how to teach literacy, and how to make content accessible to all populations.
  • Clinical Experiences - These are short-term clinical experiences, or fieldwork, that give you opportunities to get into the classroom, under supervision, to practice what you are learning.
  • Student Teaching - The culminating experience of your time in an EPP is student teaching. It is considered your capstone project. Your college or university will have partnerships with local schools so you will have an opportunity to do your student teaching. Under supervision, you will work full-time as a teacher in the appropriate grade level for the endorsement you are pursuing, usually for a semester.

Missouri Teacher Certification Tests

Another one of the Missouri teaching certificate requirements is a passing score on two state mandated exams. The DESE collaborated with Pearson Vue to develop the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments (MEGA). There are two exams under the umbrella of MEGA that you must pass if you want to be a teacher in Missouri. The Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA) measures basic skills and must be taken before you can enroll in an educator preparation program. You must pass the Missouri Content Assessments (MoCA) in your endorsement area before you will be granted an initial certification.There is also a survey under the MEGA program. The Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) is a survey that you take as a teacher candidate. It compiles an inventory of work style preferences and habits. This information is used by the EPPs in the state to enhance the development of their teachers.

Missouri General Education Assessments (MoGEA)

The MoGEA measures basic skills and must be taken if you are entering a teacher preparation program. It is computer based and taken either at a test center, or at your home through online proctoring. The MoGEA contains four subtests in five areas. Passing scores are determined by each EPP and each subtest must be passed. See the chart below for more details on the subtests.

Subtests Format Time
Reading Comprehension and Interpretation 39 multiple choice 75 minutes
Mathematics 40 multiple choice 75 minutes
Science and Social Studies 40 multiple choice 60 minutes
Writing essay 60 minutes

The total time allowed for the test is four and a half hours. If you choose to take all the subtests in one day, the fee is $59. If you take the subtests separately, the fee for each one is $25.

Missouri Content Assessments (MoCA)

Missouri teaching certificate requirements include passing a subject specific exam that correlates with your desired endorsement. For example, if you want to teach social studies at a middle school level, you will take the MoCA for social studies. If your desired endorsement area is early childhood development, you will take the MoCA for that. There are 100 multiple choice questions on the content assessments. You have two hours to complete the test, and fifteen minutes for a computer-based testing tutorial before you start the exam. You can take the exam at a testing center and there are testing locations throughout Missouri. Breaks are allowed, but count towards your total time. If you choose to take the test at home through online proctoring, no breaks are allowed. You must receive a passing score of at least 220 to be granted certification.

Missouri Praxis Exam

Missouri teaching certificate requirements used to include passing Praxis Subject Assessments, but the state decided to develop a new system based on more rigorous standards. So DESE partnered with Pearson Vue Evaluation Systems to replace it with the MEGA assessments MoGEA and MoCA. However, the Praxis Subject Assessment is still required for school psychologists working in K-12 schools.

Other requirements for Missouri Teachers

Missouri teaching certificate requirements include a criminal background check and fingerprinting. Background checks are done by the Missouri Highway Patrol (MSHP), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This is the process you should follow:

  • Preregister online with the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS)
  • Locate an Identgo office near you to be fingerprinted.
  • Pay the fee of $41.75

Fingerprint and background check results will be posted on the DESE website under your personal profile, and given to the school district you will be working for.

Missouri Teacher License Application Process

Once you have met all the Missouri teaching certificate requirements, you must apply for certification from DESE.

  • fill out an certification application from DESE
  • provide evidence that you have completed a state approved teacher preparation program
  • provide evidence of passing scores on state mandated assessments
  • provide evidence that you submitted your fingerprints for a background check
  • pay the required certification processing fee

Alternative Teaching Certification in Missouri

Missouri teaching certificate requirements can be met through several non-traditional routes.

Alternative Route

If you already have a bachelor's degree in an endorsement area and decide you would like to teach you can enroll in a college of education. Under a provisional two-year license, you can simultaneously teach and take courses. You need 30 credits in educational courses. You must also pass state mandated tests. When that is complete, you will be recommended by your program for certification, and you will receive an Initial Professional certification. You can do only the certification program, or pair it with a master's degree.

Temporary Authorization Route

You can earn a Missouri alternative teaching certification using a temporary authorization license. You need to have a bachelor's degree in an endorsement area and take 24 credits at an approved institution that meet certain educational competencies. While you are taking these courses, you can teach under a temporary authorization license while being mentored at your school of employment. This is a one-year, renewable license that can be renewed as long as you take 9 credits per year towards the required 24 credits. You also have to pass two exit exams. When you complete all requirements, it will result in an Initial Professional certification.


If you have a bachelor's degree, and decide you want to teach, one route you can take is through the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). To earn an initial license in Missouri you must complete a program of study from ABCTE, as well as pass an ABCTE exam. This route to certification is only for middle school and high school subject endorsements. Subject areas offered are:

  • elementary education
  • mathematics
  • English language arts
  • general science
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • biology
  • US/world history

This route to certification will result in an initial certification.

Doctoral Route

If you have a PhD in a secondary endorsement area you would be eligible for initial certification in Missouri. To obtain certification, you must pass the Professional Knowledge: Secondary assessment.

Missouri Substitute Teaching Certificate

You must have a Missouri substitute teaching certificate to be a K-12 substitute. Take the following steps to obtain a certificate.

  • create a profile in the Certification System on the DESE website
  • fill out the appropriate application and submit it
  • pay the $50 fee
  • mail official transcripts to Educator Certification, PO Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480
  • include your social security on all documents
  • complete a fingerprint and background check

If you do not have a college or university degree, you can complete the following in lieu of transcripts.

  • complete an approved substitute training
  • submit a high school diploma or the equivalent

Certification in Missouri for Out-of-State Educators

Another route to a license in Missouri is through Missouri teacher certification requirements reciprocity. If you have been teaching under a valid teacher certification in another state, you are eligible for a Missouri teaching certificate of the same level. For instance, if you have been teaching in another state for five years, that would make you eligible for a Career Continuous Professional Certificate. Follow these steps to apply for certification in Missouri.

  • submit an application to DESE
  • pay the $100 fee
  • mail original transcripts (do not send electronically) from all colleges and universities you've attended to DESE
  • submit a copy of your valid teaching certificate or license from out-of-state
  • include your social security number on all documents
  • verify your teaching experience by submitting a verification of teaching form


  • verify your teaching experience by submitting an official letter from the school district that you worked for
  • complete a background check

Missouri Teacher Employment Outlook and Salary

Missouri lags behind many states in terms of teacher salary. It ranks 45th in the nation. However, the teacher to student ratio is low, and the job growth projections are high.

There are 6,048 public and private schools in Missouri. The breakdown of the numbers is shown below.

  • 6,048 total schools
  • 2,294 public schools
  • 82 public charter schools
  • 3,672 private schools

The teacher to student ratio is 1:14. Average salaries and job growth outlook for teachers can be seen in the table below.

Grade Level Salary Job Growth Outlook 2018 - 2028
Kindergarten $51,630 9.7%
Elementary $49,860 9.8%
Middle School $55,070 9.8%
Secondary $54,280 9.8%
Kindergarten & Elementary
Special Education
$54,190 9.7%
Middle School
Special Education
$51,340 9.8%
Special Education
$48,840 9.8%

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Missouri use the Praxis test?

    Missouri no longer uses the Praxis test as a requirement for teacher certification. It is only used for school psychologists seeking licensure.

  • What replaced the Praxis in Missouri?

    The Praxis was replaced by MEGA. Teachers need to take the MoGEA, which measures foundational skills, and the MoCA, which is subject specific.

  • How do I become a teacher in Missouri?

    To become a teacher in Missouri you need to have at least a bachelor's degree, pass several state mandated assessments, and pass a criminal background check.

  • How do you get a substitute teaching certificate?

    To obtain a substitute teaching certificate you need to submit an application to the Department of Education. Requirements include:

    • a bachelor's degree


    • a high school diploma or equivalent
    • complete substitute teacher training
  • Can I teach in Missouri with an out of state license?

    If you hold a valid out-of-state license that is comparable to Missouri certification, you are eligible for certification in Missouri.

  • How do you get a provisional teaching license in Missouri?

    Yes, if you already have a bachelor's degree in an endorsement area and decide you would like to teach you can enroll in a college of education. Under a provisional two-year license, you can simultaneously teach and take courses.