How to Become a Teacher In Missouri

Each state in the United States requires slightly different credentials for a teaching license, so those interested in becoming a teacher in Missouri should become familiar with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requirements.

Missouri offers several routes to certification, allowing potential educators from a variety of academic backgrounds to become teachers in the state. This is one of several qualities that make Missouri an excellent state to pursue a teaching career in.

Missouri Overview for Teachers

Located in the U.S. heartland, Missouri has more than 6 million residents. The state has over 900,000 students enrolled in public schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, and nearly 67,000 teachers, resulting in an average student-to-teacher ratio of just 13.77, notably lower than many other states in the region.

Research cited by Parents Across America suggests that smaller classroom sizes result in improved student performance, perhaps because students receive more individualized attention. Educators and families alike enjoy the benefits of a low student-to-teacher ratio, making Missouri an attractive state for potential educators.

How to Become a Certified Teacher in Missouri

Initial Teacher Certification

The traditional route to certification in Missouri is to earn an Initial Teacher Certification. This certification has several requirements:

  • Bachelor degree. In addition to holding a bachelor degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution, candidates must provide official transcripts to the state Board of Education to verify their completion of the degree.
  • Teacher-preparation program. Potential teachers must submit verification that they have completed a valid teacher-preparation program. Many postsecondary institutions, including several high-quality online degree programs, offer education programs that complete this requirement. Students must gain practical teaching experience through practicum or student teaching to qualify.
  • Relevant coursework. Although specific coursework requirements vary by area of specialization, applicants must have completed a minimum number of credit hours in professional education as well as additional coursework in a specialty area. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has more information about specific requirements for each area.
  • Test scores. Applicants for the initial certification must complete Praxis II exams in pedagogy as well as one or more specialty areas.

Alternative Routes to Certification

Because Missouri wants high-quality teachers in its classrooms, the state offers several alternative routes to certification. One route permits bachelor degree holders to teach in a regular classroom under a provisional two-year certificate while taking classes to complete a teacher-preparation program. After completion of the program, the teachers have to pass relevant tests and apply for an initial teaching license.

Another option is Temporary Authorization, which allows someone with a bachelor degree in a specific specialty to take additional credits to establish teaching competencies. After being mentored in a school district and teaching for two years, the person must pass two or more examinations before receiving a certification. Missouri also offers accelerated routes for those who hold a doctorate in a particular specialty.

Benefits of Becoming a Teacher in Missouri

Missouri’s strengthening economy is one key benefit to becoming a teacher in the state. The unemployment rate in Missouri was 6.6 percent in April 2013, well below the national average, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The education and health services sector is particularly well poised to experience growth, having risen by 2.0 percent in the past year. Because of this strong economic climate and Missouri’s commitment to providing small classroom sizes to students, the public school system is expected to hire more teachers in the upcoming years.

Becoming a teacher in Missouri is also a great opportunity to work with particular populations of students. From working in inner-city school districts in St. Louis to farming communities in rural areas of the state, Missouri teachers work with a wide variety of students. This translates into great opportunities for beginning teachers to cultivate their skills in a variety of classroom settings.