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Find an Education Path For Teaching in Missouri, MO

Once the decision has been made to become a teacher, the level of education completed determines the next steps.

Look over the information below and discover steps you should take to become a teacher in Missouri.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

Having a high school diploma or a GED opens doors to many institutions of higher learning that can lead you to a teaching career in Missouri. Bachelor’s degree programs typically require applicants to be high school graduates or to have earned a GED. Missouri offers a variety of choices for high school graduates who are on the road to becoming teachers.

  1. Learn about accredited, state-approved schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, child development, specific academic content areas, grade levels or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching, and find out if the school you want to attend offers a teaching major. If you want to teach a specific subject, consider pursuing a degree that combines a Bachelor’s in Education degree with a degree in your subject of choice, for example, a Bachelor’s in Science Education degree.
  3. There are a number of academic paths that may prepare you to apply for a Missouri teaching license. Students who have the grade point average and prerequisites required to enroll in a four-year college, are qualified to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. Some colleges include a teacher preparation program within the B.A. curriculum.
  4. After graduation from high school, aspiring teachers in Missouri can enroll at a two-year college or community college where they can earn an Associate in Arts degree in Teaching, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Childhood and Early Development, or a Certificate of Achievement in Childhood and Early Development. Not all Associate degree coursework credits are transferable to a teaching program at a four-year college, so before you choose this route, ask a community college representative about transferability.
  5. Talk to your high school advisors, and contact two-year and four-year colleges that fit your needs, to request information that will help you make a decision about which school to attend and what degree to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Attending a community college and earning an Associate’s degree can be a valuable step toward becoming a teacher in Missouri. Community college classes completed before entering a Bachelor’s degree program may provide some necessary prerequisites for courses offered in a four-year program.

  1. Some community college credits can be transferred to public and independent four-year colleges and universities where students can complete a Bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor’s degree is required of all applicants seeking a Missouri teaching license or certificate. 
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the two-year college you attended. Earning an Associate degree may qualify you to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Education. This is a major step towards a teaching credential.
  3. Some two-year colleges offer specific programs that lead to an Associate degree in early childhood education. Graduating with an Associate degree in some of these programs may increase your chances of entering a four-year college or university Bachelor in Education program. Credits and coursework from Missouri’s Associate of Arts in Teaching degree will be transferable, if university-specific requirements are met.
  4. Some aspiring educators choose to earn a degree that will allow them to enter the work force directly after completing their two-year college coursework. Some Associate degree or certification programs prepare students for jobs as child care professionals so they can begin working with infants, toddlers and pre-school children.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree or higher, from a regionally accredited institution, is essential to qualify for a Missouri Teaching Certificate. If you want to teach in Missouri and already have a Bachelor’s degree, the next steps toward teacher certification will often depend on your undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree that emphasized early childhood, elementary or secondary education, you may have fulfilled many of the academic requirements that must be completed prior to applying for licensure in Missouri.
  2. Teaching candidates are required to successfully complete a Professional Education Program approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This preparation program may be part of a Bachelor in Education degree or it may be offered as a stand-alone Teacher Preparation Program.
  3. The most direct path to teacher licensure is to complete a Bachelor’s degree from a college or university that provides a Elementary, Middle or Secondary school teacher education program. Prospective teachers must pass the College Basic Academic Subjects Examination (CBASE) prior to admittance into Professional Education Programs offered by Missouri's colleges and universities.
  4. A Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S. Ed.) with a major in Elementary Education prepares an aspiring teacher to become a Missouri educator for children in grades 1 to 6. Earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Middle School or Secondary Education, with an emphasis in at least one content area, will prepare aspiring teachers to become a Middle School teachers for grades 5 to 9 or a High School teachers for students in grades 9 to 12.
  5. The Missouri State Board of Education requires licensing candidates to pass the state’s official licensing exams, which include the grade-level appropriate Praxis II tests in Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment; Principles of Learning and Teaching; and Content Area Knowledge tests for each subject the educator intends to teach.
  6. To be issued a Missouri Initial teacher’s license, all applicants must complete a Bachelor’s degree, a regionally accredited Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation program and/or a Master in Education degree that includes a Teacher Preparation Program. By exploring the different routes leading to licensure, you will discover which option satisfies your academic and career requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs typically include classroom observations, fieldwork and student teaching.
  7. Once you have successfully completed all academic and experiential requirements and passed all official licensing exams, you are ready to begin the multi-phased application process that will culminate in being issued Initial Certification to teach in Missouri.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or Are in a Master’s Degree Program

Master’s degrees in Education typically offer a course of study that includes a Teacher Preparation Program approved by the state of Missouri. If your Master’s degree major was not Education, a Teacher Preparation Program must be completed prior to applying for a full teaching certificate. You can move forward in a few different directions once you have a Master’s degree.

  1. Some Missouri-accredited universities offer a Master of Education degree (M.Ed.) that is blended with a Teaching Credential program. You can earn a Master of Education degree in Elementary Education or in Secondary Education. Some M.Ed. degrees have a concentration on the subject area the prospective educator hopes to teach. A Teacher Preparation Program is integrated into some but not all Master’s in Education degrees, so look into available Master’s programs and contact the universities that interest you.
  2. If you want to begin your teaching career shortly after completing coursework and mandatory teacher preparation, passing all required tests, and fulfilling student teaching requirements, the next step is to apply for your teaching certificate. Contact the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to request information and an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree. Missouri has a variety of Educational Doctoral Programs, so gather information to discover the best university and program for you.