Missouri teachers enjoy fair wages, a low cost of living, and a manageable student-to-teacher ratio. More than 66,000 teachers serve in Missouri public schools, and the state maintains a graduation rate of nearly 86%. The Missouri Department of Education issues teaching licenses in the state. Before earning an on-campus or online teaching degree, Missouri students should ensure their program holds approval from the Missouri State Board of Education, along with regional accreditation.
Students who attend schools outside Missouri must typically apply for licensure as out-of-state learners, which requires more time and an additional certification fee. Keep reading to learn how to earn and maintain teaching licensure in Missouri.
How to Become a Teacher in Missouri
Each state has different requirements to earn teacher licensure, and Missouri's largest metropolitan areas, St. Louis and Kansas City, attract teachers from other states since they are located on the border.
Out-of-state teachers planning to work in Missouri must submit a non-Missouri graduate application and a $100 processing fee. Out-of-state candidates must provide college transcripts, a copy of a valid teaching license from their current state, and verification of approved teaching experience. Candidates can complete a teaching experience form or request that their current school district supply an official letter to the Missouri Department of Education.
Missouri professionals with an associate degree in teaching qualify for roles such as teaching assistants, teaching aides, preschool teachers, and child caretakers. However, candidates for a Missouri teaching license must have at least a bachelor's degree in education. The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education oversees Missouri teaching requirements, and the Missouri State Board of Education provides a directory of approved professional educator programs. A list of approved associate programs is also available.
Regardless of their chosen path, all teachers must complete a year of student teaching before receiving licensure.
Because not all educators enter the field through teaching programs, the Missouri Department of Education provides the alternative or innovative route for aspiring teachers with bachelor's degrees in content areas, such as science or mathematics. Most individuals pursuing the alternative route receive a temporary license while completing approximately 30 additional credits and a teaching assessment. These educators typically earn full licensure in about two years.
Regardless of their chosen path, all teachers must complete a year of student teaching before receiving licensure. Learners complete student-teaching hours while enrolled in a teacher preparation program. Because Missouri does not participate in an interstate reciprocity agreement, Missouri teachers who plan to move should check with their new state's department of education for information about which of their credentials will transfer.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Missouri
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Child Growth and Development||This course introduces students to the core tenets of child development, from conception through adolescence. Students review developmental theories and children's emotional, intellectual, physical, and social development.|
|Intro to Curriculum||Students learn how to plan, prepare, and deliver curriculums that meet the needs of diverse classrooms. The course emphasizes the role of teachers as facilitators and classroom leaders.|
|Principles of Teaching Young Children||Students review theories, methodologies, and philosophies related to early education. Learners explore curriculum models and analyze childhood development alongside curriculums.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Educational Technology||This course provides an overview of technologies commonly used in classrooms and introduces students to helpful websites and programs, such as Google Classroom.|
|Educating Exceptional Children||Students learn how to identify, understand, and effectively educate children with special needs. Students are prepared to create inclusive learning environments.|
|Subject Area Methods||Students review literature and explore methods for teaching various subjects at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Trends and Issues in Education||Students examine and analyze pressing issues in education through literature reviews, independent research, and group discussions. Learners collaborate to develop substantiated positions on field-related topics.|
|Classroom Management||Students review theories and management models related to overseeing classrooms of diverse learners. Learners learn practical techniques and tools for fostering good behavior.|
|Thinking and Learning Visually||This course helps future teachers consider how to present materials visually through picture-based media. Learners think outside the traditional textbook model.|
How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Missouri
Candidates for teaching licensure in Missouri must have a bachelor's degree from a program holding regional or programmatic accreditation. Those following the traditional path to licensure must hold a degree in education or a core subject area, such as mathematics or English. Candidates following the core subject area path must have completed a program with a teacher-preparation component. Aspiring teachers complete a one-year, supervised internship at an approved Missouri school; interns undergo the Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment.
Candidates pursuing Missouri teaching credentials must take the Missouri General Education Assessment and the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments. The first exam ascertains skills and knowledge in core subject areas, and the second test ensures candidates possess adequate knowledge in their subject and grade level. Educators submit an application, official transcripts, teacher assessment scores, fingerprints for a criminal background check, and a processing fee. The initial professional certification is valid for four years.
Missouri teachers receive tiered licenses. Teachers with initial professional certification can obtain a career continuous professional certificate after completing one year of beginning teacher support, two years of mentoring, annual evaluations, 30 continuing education credits, and a professional development plan.
Choosing a Degree Program in Missouri
Aspiring teachers should choose an approved education program to ensure they will be eligible for teaching positions in Missouri. On-campus and online programs qualify graduates to earn Missouri teaching credentials. Online students often save money on transportation costs and campus fees. By earning an online teaching degree, Missouri students from rural areas can pursue a program that fits their goals without relocating. Online students have access to support resources, and most schools allow distance learners to complete student teaching locally.
Though most bachelor's degrees require four years of study, online students can complete self-paced programs quicker. Prospective students should ensure any program they consider offers specializations that meet their interests, such as the grade level and content area they want to teach. learners can also enroll part time and continue working while earning their degree.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Missouri?
According to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, teaching programs with regional or programmatic accreditation meet licensure requirements, regardless of whether they are taught on campus or online. An increasing number of institutions are offering distance learning programs. In addition to making education programs accessible to students throughout the state, online teaching degrees allow learners to balance their studies with professional and personal obligations. When considering an online teaching degree, Missouri students should ensure the program is accredited.
Students must complete at least one year of student teaching to obtain licensure. Contact the program administrator of any prospective institution to learn whether the program assists students with securing practicum locations and whether distance learners can complete student teaching locally.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Missouri
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Missouri
Education students have a variety of options for financing their degree and should begin by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA helps students determine their eligibility for federal scholarships, grants, loans, and work-study programs, and many public schools use FAFSA information to award state funding. Both private and public schools use FAFSA information to award institutional, need-based scholarships.
After seeking federal aid, students should research field-specific scholarships and grants, which are offered locally and nationally. Foundations, organizations, and companies provide awards to future teachers, and many colleges and universities offer teaching scholarships. Some companies provide tuition reimbursement programs, which support employees pursuing work-related degrees.
Loan Forgiveness for Missouri Teachers
Loan forgiveness programs help educators lower their debt. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant provides $4,000 per year for four years. Recipients must teach full time in a low-income school or educational service agency for at least four years after graduation; otherwise, the grant converts to a loan.
The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to $17,500 of loan forgiveness for direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Recipients must serve as a full-time classroom teachers for at least five consecutive years and must work in a school district or educational service agency focused on serving low-income families.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program supports teachers in public and private school districts. After ten years of teaching and 120 on-time, monthly payments, the program forgives the remainder of a teacher's loan balance.
Scholarships for Missouri Teaching Students
Scholarships are an ideal form of financial aid, as they do not have to be repaid. Below are scholarships available to teaching students in Missouri. Learners should also research local and national funding opportunities.
T.E.A.C.H. Missouri Bachelor's Degree Scholarship 90% of Costs
Minority Teaching Scholarship $3,000 per year
Kent King Scholarship $250
Educators Rising Scholarship $500
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Missouri
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
Although teachers in Missouri earn less than the national average, the state's cost of living is also lower than the national average, which means Missouri teachers pay less for housing, food, and transportation. Individuals in St. Louis enjoy a cost of living that is approximately 26% lower than Chicago. Individual salaries for Missouri teachers also depend on whether they live in a rural or urban location.
Teaching level and level of education also impact a teacher's salary. Preschool teachers in Missouri earn less than primary and secondary school teachers; however, preschool teaching positions do not require a bachelor's degree. Kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers in Missouri earn similar salaries.
|Elementary School Teachers||$52,700|
|Middle School Teachers||$52,620|
|Secondary School Teachers||$51,720|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Missouri
How do I get certified to teach in Missouri?
What is the average salary for a teacher in Missouri?
Resources for Teachers in Missouri
- Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education The department oversees the certification process for Missouri teachers and sets continuing education requirements. The department's website provides information about teaching in Missouri.
- Missouri State Teachers Association In addition to advocating for teachers, MSTA provides field service representatives, offers legal services, and ensures educators have opportunities for professional learning and career development. The association maintains regional chapters.
- Missouri National Education Association The Missouri chapter of NEA offers professional resources, including online learning, on-demand training, scholarships and grants, classroom resources, professional development opportunities, and events throughout the state. MNEA provides advocacy, legal resources, and a leader resource center.
- American Federation of Teachers, Missouri Chapter AFT-Missouri serves as the state's teaching union. An affiliated international union of the AFL-CIO, the AFT provides health care, legal services, collective bargaining, occupational liability and legal action trust insurance, lobbying services, contract negotiation, and professional development opportunities.
- Missouri Association of School Administrators MASA unites school administrators and provides support, professional education, job information, access to news and publications, and video training programs. The group hosts conferences and workshops across the state.