Become Certified as a Teacher
To BECOME CERTIFIED as a Teacher in Missouri:
An applicant who possesses a valid professional certificate from another state may be granted a Missouri certificate in an area most closely aligned to the certification if Missouri issues such certificate. If an educator is completing or has completed a teacher education program in another state (either on campus or online), it would be beneficial to obtain that state's certificate whether one plans to reside in that state or not. In most cases, a Missouri certificate is issued with no further coursework or test requirements. If an area of certification is not equivalent, an educator may be evaluated based upon Missouri's current requirements for the most closely aligned certificate.
- Complete the online Non-Missouri Graduate application.
- Submit remaining items on the Non-Missouri Graduate Application Checklist in one packet to: Educator Certification, PO Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102. We do not accept faxed or emailed application materials.
- If you have out-of-state teaching experience, you will need to complete the Verification of Teaching Experience form.
- As noted within the checklist, if your out-of-state professional certificates have expired, or if you never held an out-of-state certificate, you must provide an institutional recommendation from the certification officer at the college or university where you completed your initial teacher education program. The recommendation form can be downloaded by clicking on the appropriate button when completing the online Non-Missouri Graduate Application. The form should be mailed back to you to be included in your packet. Educator Certification will evaluate your transcripts based on current Missouri requirements and does not guarantee immediate issuance of a Missouri certificate. All evaluations will be posted at the Certificate Status link located on your Profile Page in the Educator Certification System.
- An Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) is the first certificate a new educator receives. A minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a college or university having a teacher education program approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required. The applicant must have a recommendation for certification from the designated official for teacher education at the college or university where the program was completed. The applicant must have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, both overall and in the content area. The applicant must obtain Missouri's passing score on the appropriate assessments.
- Complete one (1) online initial application and submit it to the Missouri institution where you completed your teacher education program. The institution will complete their portion and then forward the application to DESE for processing. If you have not received a background clearance within the past 12 months, you will need to do so.
- The application processing time is dependent on receipt of background clearance, institution recommendation, official transcripts, and current DESE workload. Your application status can be monitored online at the bottom of your profile screen and it is beneficial to the expediency of processing that you utilize this mode of checking the status of your certification.
- Must be employed in a Missouri public school or accredited private school
- Must be within 12 hours of completing a traditional teacher preparation program or enrolled in a state-approved alternative program at a Missouri college or university
- Must submit the following:
- Online Provisional (academic contract) Certificate Application
- Current Missouri fingerprint and background clearance
- Original transcripts to Educator Certification, PO Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102. We do not accept faxed or emailed application materials.
- Plan of Study-to be completed online or mailed by the teacher preparation institution.
- If you have completed all of the requirements listed on your academic contract and your college/university will be recommending you for an initial certificate, complete the online Initial Professional Application
- We are unable to evaluate foreign credentials in this office. Before we can process your application for a Missouri teaching certificate, you must send all transcripts and other certification information to a credentialing agency approved by our department that provides a transcript analysis service. The analysis must be translated into English and include the following: specific course titles, credit hours earned, letter grades received, the cumulative grade point average, and a statement verifying the completed program’s equivalency to a United States degree. Although we do not endorse any of the agencies listed, we have contacted each of them and verified that they provide all the information we require.
- After you receive the official analysis from the credentialing agency, you may apply for a Missouri teaching certificate. The credentialing report will be accepted in lieu of the institutional recommendation. Upon receipt of all application materials, our office will complete a course evaluation to determine your eligibility for Missouri certification. All evaluations will be posted at the Certificate Status link located on your Profile Page in the Educator Certification System.
- Complete the online Non-Missouri Graduate application.
- Submit remaining items on the Non-Missouri Graduate Application Checklist in one packet to Educator Certification, PO Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102. We do not accept faxed or emailed application materials.
- Review our Routes to Certification
Temporary authorization route to certification: An individual with a bachelor’s degree in a content area (such as mathematics or English) takes a prescribed list of coursework, teaches for a minimum of two years, is mentored by the employing school district, and passes at least two exit examinations. The individual works under a one-year, renewable certificate that requires the completion of nine (9) semester hours of college credit each year in order to be renewed.
Temporary authorization certificates are not issued in the areas of elementary (1-6); early childhood (B-3); early childhood special education (B-3); blind and partially sighted (K-12); and/or deaf and hearing impaired (K-12). Applicants for the areas of driver's education, English for speakers of other languages, gifted, and special reading must already hold a certificate of license to teach or must seek a certificate of license to teach in a stand-alone area.
- The applicant for a temporary authorization certificate must comply with the following criteria:
- Must possess a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited college or university in the subject area to be taught. Applicants for a special education temporary authorization certificate must possess a baccalaureate or higher degree;
- Must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale both overall and in the subject area; and
- Must have at least half-time contracted employment with a Missouri public school district or accredited non-public school.
- Temporary authorization certificate application procedure
- If you have completed the required courses and tests on your DESE-approved Plan of Study and have taught on a Temporary Authorization Certificate for a minimum of two years, please complete the online Upgrade Professional Application
- Submit original transcripts showing completion of required coursework to Education Certification, PO Box 480, Jefferson City, MO 65102. We are unable to accept faxed, scanned, emailed or photocopies of transcripts. Please be sure your social security number or educator ID number is listed on all transcripts. Transcripts become the property of the department and cannot be returned.
The Educator Certification System located within DESE Web Applications provides users with access to each of the following:
- Apply for a certificate
- Print out a certificate
- View a certificate or pending application
- View assessment scores
- Check fingerprint/background status
Please Note: If you have not logged in to your certification account in over 12 months, then you will need to register for a new userid and password in order to restore your access. The directions to complete this process are located in the Educator Certification System Help Guide.