Online Teaching Programs in Mississippi

On its face, teaching in Mississippi seems like a daunting task. Fewer than 10 years ago, the state ranked last in the nation for educational achievement, and more than 200 of its schools received "F" grades. While much work remains, today only 24 Mississippi schools maintain the lowest ranking, and the state has improved its average ACT scores dramatically to rise above the national average. Teachers wanting to make a significant difference in the lives of individual children and whole communities can find much to keep them busy in the Hospitality State. The Mississippi Adequate Education Program, launched in 2008, infused much-needed funding throughout school districts across the state, but achievement is only possible with a combination of continued funding and dedicated teachers.

Teachers wanting to make a significant difference in the lives of individual children and whole communities can find much to keep them busy in the Hospitality State.

The state maintains a friendly attitude toward online education: teaching requirements in Mississippi note that any state or NCATE/CAEP-accredited program -- regardless of delivery method -- qualifies toward a Mississippi teaching license. Because significant areas of the state are rural, online education, whether local or otherwise, offers learners from Tupelo to Biloxi the chance to complete educational requirements and earn their teaching certificate in Mississippi.

The following guide considers the process of becoming a teacher, common classes for each degree level, methods of paying for school, and the landscape of teaching jobs in Mississippi.

Like all other states, Mississippi requires prospective teachers to meet specific requirements in order to receive licensure. Because states establish their own rules, individuals aspiring to classroom roles need to review carefully the requirements of individual states to ascertain exact requirements. This rule also applies for currently-licensed teachers living elsewhere who want to transfer their license to Mississippi.

Though the state isn't currently part of a reciprocity pact, the Mississippi Department of Education makes it relatively easy for qualified teachers to cross state lines. Five-year Mississippi teaching licenses are available for applicants who complete an application, provide an original and valid out-of-state license (no photocopies are accepted), submit sealed copies of transcripts, and show passing scores on required Praxis core subject tests. Individuals unable to meet these requirements have the option of receiving a two-year license, during which time they complete any outstanding minimum certification mandates.

Educational Requirements

Those interested in pursuing an associate degree in teaching compete for numerous educational positions in Mississippi, including roles as teaching aides, teacher's assistants, and childcare providers. In order to receive full classroom teacher licensure, however, they must hold at least a bachelor's degree. The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) -- the overarching body responsible for licensure in the state -- delineates four levels of licenses: Class A denotes bachelor's degree holders while Class AA is for those with a master's degree. Class AAA provides classification for those with a specialist degree, and Class AAAA is reserved for individuals with a doctoral degree.

Because Mississippi does not have a formalized reciprocity agreement with any states, transfer of licensure is considered on a case-by-case basis.

The traditional path to teaching in the state includes completing a bachelor's or master's degree in education or teaching, yet the MDE recognizes that some students come to the discipline by nontraditional means. For example, Alternate Route Programs allow teachers with non-teacher education degrees from accredited colleges or universities to obtain certification. Though each pathway varies, three common components include testing, training/coursework, and a one-year teaching internship.

Individuals obtaining a traditional bachelor's degree typically need to spend four years completing educational requirements and taking part in required student teaching hours -- offered as part of the educational program. All degree-seekers must complete at least one year as a student teacher via a non-renewable teacher intern license before being considered for conversion to a five-year educator license. Because Mississippi does not have a formalized reciprocity agreement with any states, transfer of licensure is considered on a case-by-case basis. Students looking for more information about educational requirements or the process for licensure should review the Mississippi Department of Education's Licensure Guidelines for K-12 handbook.

Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Mississippi

Associate Degree in Teaching

Child Development Introduces learners to growth and development principals from conception through childhood, with special emphasis on cognitive, emotional, physical, and psychosocial factors that commonly affect typical and atypical development.
Education Careers Helps students learn about the field of education and which careers exist. Learners also review trends and developments within the field.
Guidance and Discipline Covers common behavioral frameworks used in preschool and primary school classrooms, ensuring students understand how to help students become responsible and engaged learners.

Bachelor's Degree in Teaching

Social, Historical, and Cultural Factors in Education Centers on a study of issues related to the intersection of history and public life. Students look at shifts in politics and ideologies over time, and how those affect education.
Children's Literature Reviews literature ranging from infancy through young adulthood and helps teachers-in-training identify appropriate materials based on age, literacy skills, and cognitive/emotional development.
Assessing Classrooms Covers evaluation practices within school contexts, with special emphasis on standardized measures, formal and informal observations, development of portfolios, and reporting to all relevant stakeholders.

Master's Degree in Teaching

Growth and Development Psychology Reviews the process of human development over the lifespan, with special emphasis on conception through adolescence. This course prepares learners for classrooms spanning Pre-K through high school.
Learning Within Diverse Classrooms Immerses students in studies related to the cultural, socioeconomic, ethnic, and historical factors at play in diverse learning environments. Often offered with a field experience component.
Teaching Exceptional Children Addresses common teaching methods, appropriate educational experiences, and how to develop inclusive classrooms for all learners. Helps teachers best serve students with special needs.

Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Mississippi

Becoming a teacher in Mississippi requires multiple steps, but organized educators may complete the process with little to no stress. The Mississippi Department of Education issues teacher certifications throughout the state and requires learners to meet a number of criteria to qualify for Class A licensure.

The first step includes earning at minimum a bachelor's degree in teaching from a state or NCATE/CAEP-accredited university. While enrolled, students must also complete a year-long internship and maintain a 2.75 GPA or above on pre-major coursework. When completing the required Praxis exams, students must achieve the nationally recommended passing score for the Praxis CORE or an ACT score of 21 or higher. Additionally, their Praxis II score must be at least the nationally recommended score, and they must also take the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching exam.

Standard licenses issued by the MDE are good for five years and must be renewed in the final year.

Unlike other states, the Mississippi Department of Education does not require teachers to pass a background check to receive licensure, but individual schools and districts typically do. Attaining a license costs no money, but learners wanting a duplicate license must pay a fee of $5 and complete a licensure application. Teachers looking for more information about this process can visit the Mississippi Department of Education's Office of Educator Licensure. Additional information about the traditional route, as well as the alternate route, exists on this website.

Standard licenses issued by the MDE are good for five years and must be renewed in the final year. Requirements for renewal offer four different paths for Class A teachers: they can complete either (1) 10 continuing education units related to their content or skill area, (2) three semester hours and five continuing education units related to their content or skill area, (3) six semester hours related to their content or skill area, or (4) the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards Process. More information is provided in the general guidelines of the Mississippi Educator Licensure guide.

Choosing an online teaching program can be difficult, and there are many aspects to consider before making a decision.

First, for many students, no factor ranks higher than cost. The average estimated undergraduate budget for 2017-2018 at CollegeBoard shows that individuals attending in-state at a public four-year school spend approximately $25,290 each year, while those at a private school pay $50,900 for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses.

Second, location must also be considered. Many students in Mississippi elect to complete online degrees as they provide easier access to support resources without extensive travel. Students wanting to avoid some of the aforementioned expenses may also find it more cost-effective to study online.

Because teachers receive licenses for specific grade areas, they must find a program that offers specialized coursework required for their intended grade area.

Time is a third factor. While most programs take four years, online degrees often offer accelerated or learn-at-your-own-pace paths that make it possible for distance learners to graduate quickly. Conversely, these programs frequently make it easier for part-time learners to create schedules that balance work, school, and their personal obligations.

A final consideration is specialty areas. Because teachers receive licenses for specific grade areas, they must find a program that offers specialized coursework required for their intended grade area. Students without a nearby college or university that offers certain specialties often turn to online degrees as they make it possible to complete required coursework without extra travel. More information regarding online teaching degrees in Mississippi is provided below.

Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Mississippi?

According to the Office of Educator Licensure, a subsection of the Mississippi Department of Education, any teacher who graduates from a nationally or regionally accredited institution is eligible for licensure in Mississippi. The Certification Commission and State Board of Education approve all teacher programs for licensure, and this includes online teaching programs. When applying for licensure in Mississippi, students must provide sealed official transcripts from any institutions they've attended and proof they've completed the required student internship component.

When considering an online teaching degree in Mississippi, students should research the intuition's accreditation status and ask an admissions counselor about the internship process. The Mississippi Department of Education provides a list of Mississippi Education Preparation Providers (EPPs) to help students find an appropriate school. If attending a school outside the state, learners should fully understand how the school handles the internship program. Some provide a list of approved schools/districts while others require students to find an internship location. Be sure you understand this process fully before committing to a school, as it affects your ability to be licensed after graduation.

Directory of Teaching Schools in Mississippi

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It's no secret that a degree costs a significant amount of money. Whether pursuing an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree, students spend thousands of dollars moving from matriculation to graduation. Thankfully, there are several options available to help students pay for their online teaching degree in Mississippi. Regardless of where a student attends, the most important financial document is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Filled out annually, information provided on the FAFSA is used to disburse federal and state scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study funds. Private schools also use this document when awarding funds based on financial need.

Loan Forgiveness for Mississippi Teachers

Recognizing the invaluable contribution teachers make to society and future generations, a number of federal loan forgiveness programs are available for qualified teachers who meet specific requirements. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program allows students who teach full-time for five consecutive years to be forgiven up to $17,500 on any direct subsidized or unsubsidized loans. Another option is the TEACH grant. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides funding of up to $4,000 per year to individuals who agree to teach in a high-need field or at a school that serves low-income families. They must also agree to complete at least four academic years within eight years of graduating. This grant is renewable up to four years.

At the state level, Rise Up Mississippi provides the Mississippi Teacher Loan Repayment Program. Recipients get up to $3,000 each year towards undergraduate loans; as long as students complete teaching requirements upon graduation, the amount does not have to be repaid. The William Winter Alternate Route Teacher Forgivable Loan functions in a similar manner but provides $4,000 annually for up to two years.

Scholarships for Mississippi Teaching Students

Teachers are integral to our society, and many foundations, companies, and educational institutions recognize their value and reward them monetarily. In addition to teacher-specific scholarships, grants, and fellowships, students can often find generic awards to further augment their funding package. Review the scholarships below, but also be sure to do your own research for additional funding opportunities.

Mississippi Excellence in Teaching Program Full Tuition

Who Can Apply: A partnership between Ole Miss and Mississippi State, this award is given to top-performing undergraduate students who plan to become teachers in the state upon graduation. View Scholarship

Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Program Full Tuition

Who Can Apply: This award is for teachers pursuing a master of education or educational specialist degree who plan to teach in one of the critical teacher shortage areas of Mississippi. View Scholarship

Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Program Full Tuition

Who Can Apply: Delta State University offers this scholarship to a resident of Mississippi who commits to teaching at least three years in a critical shortage district and is planning to complete a master of education or educational specialist degree program. View Scholarship

The University of Southern Mississippi Educational Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: USM offers a number of scholarships to Mississippi residents planning to become teachers at various academic levels. Requirements vary by scholarship. View Scholarship
Location Employment Annual Mean Wage
Mississippi 75,450 $42,790
United States 8,636,430 $54,520

In reviewing the table above, future teachers may be concerned that the annual mean wage for teachers in Mississippi is substantially lower than the average for the United States. Before you get too despondent, consider the cost of living. When comparing the costs of rent, utilities, and food, for example, Mississippi offers far greater return for money than other regions. For instance, an average home in New York City costs $1.47 million while in Mississippi it costs $237,000. To maintain the standard of living that $42,790 provides in the Big Apple, residents of the Hospitality State only need to make $15,655.

As evidenced by the table below, preschool teachers earn the lowest salary, while those in high school classrooms command the highest wages. That being said, the differences between kindergarten and secondary school teachers is negligible, so students should pick the grade level they feel provides the most personal and professional satisfaction.

Average Annual Salary by Teaching Level in Mississippi
Source: BLS
Preschool Teachers $28,950
Kindergarten Teachers $40,560
Elementary School Teachers $42,370
Middle School Teachers $42,650
Secondary School Teachers $43,950
  • Mississippi Building Blocks MBB exists to help preschool teachers and childcare centers find the resources and support systems needed to ensure the readiness of school children entering kindergarten. The organization provides a range of resources as well as information about current issues and policy efforts.
  • Mississippi Professional Educators As the state's largest organization of professional educators, MPE serves nearly 14,000 teachers by providing resources, publications, and opportunities for professional development. The organization serves individuals working in Pre-K through graduate education. MPE also partners with other organizations in the state to provide teacher-specific benefits, scholarships, and virtual field trips.
  • Mississippi Music Educators Association Designed specifically for teachers who educate students about music, the MMEA provides separate divisions for elementary, junior high, and high school educators. In addition to specific resources, the association also plays host to an annual conference designed to bring music teachers together and discuss relevant topics related to music education.
  • Mississippi Association of Educators A division of the National Education Association, the MEA serves elementary and secondary teachers alongside higher education faculty and educational support faculty. The group advocates for teachers at the state legislative level, provides representation, hosts conferences, and shares relevant resources.
  • Mississippi Association for Middle Level Education Specifically designed for teachers of middle school, the MAMLE provides up-to-date news and research to this teaching population while also advocating for them throughout the state. MAMLE also hosts an annual conference with featured speakers and opportunities to meet and share resources with other Mississippi-based middle school teachers.
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