Routes to Certification
Missouri has several methods for an individual to enter the education profession with a “certificate of license to teach.” The following routes are available:
- Traditional route: An individual completes a four-year, college-recommended course of study, does student teaching, passes the designated assessment test, and graduates with a bachelor’s degree in a field of education and is issued an initial certificate.
- Alternative or Innovative route: An individual with a bachelor’s degree in a content area (such as mathematics or English) returns to a college of education for a program of study that may enable him to take courses and teach simultaneously. The teacher works under a two-year, provisional certificate and usually completes about 30 semester hours. When the college program is completed and the designated assessment test passed, the college recommends and the individual receives an initial certificate. Some of these programs are offered via distance learning, some programs offer a master’s degree plus certification and some offer only the certification.
- Temporary Authorization route: An individual with a bachelor’s degree in a content area (such as mathematics or English) takes self-directed courses – a maximum of 24 college credits (varies for different areas) to meet specified competencies, teaches for two years, is mentored by the school district and passes at least two exit examinations. The individual works under a one-year, renewable certificate that requires 9 semester hours of college credit each year in order to be renewed. When requirements are completed, the individual receives an initial certificate.
- Out-of-State Certified route: An individual with a valid teaching certificate from another state can be granted a comparable certificate in Missouri. Verification of certification from the other state must be provided. Depending on the number of previous years of teaching experience, the individual may qualify for an initial or career certificate.
- American Board of Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) route: An individual with a bachelor’s degree can complete a program of study from ABCTE, pass their specific test and be certified. Missouri accepts certificates from ABCTE only in the areas of middle- or high-school mathematics, U.S./world history, English/language arts, biology, chemistry, general science and physics. The individual receives an initial certificate.
- Doctoral route: Individuals with a doctorate degree in a content area (such as mathematics or English) may be issued an initial certificate by passing the appropriate designated assessment test. Individuals entering via the doctoral route are not eligible to advance to the career certificate but may renew the initial certificate as often as needed.
*The Missouri initial certificate is a four-year license requiring two-years of mentoring, annual evaluation, one year of beginning teacher assistance, a professional development plan, and professional development for a total of 30 contact hours during the four years. Upon successful completion of the four years of teaching and requirements, the educator may apply for the career continuous certification.
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.