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Frequently Asked Questions: Educator Certification

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Where should I mail my correspondence?

Please mail correspondence to Educator Certification, PO Box 480, Jefferson City MO 65102.  Include your Educator ID number on all correspondence. 

How can I obtain a copy of my certificate?

The department no longer prints and mails paper certificates, but you do have access to an electronic version in our online certification system.  You will need to log on to DESE Web Applications with your user id and password.  Once you have access to your profile page, the Certificate Status link is located in the Menu to the left.  By clicking on Certificate Status, you will see the box that says View Certificate.  You will then be able to view and print your teaching certificate.

Where do I find my certificate number?

The department does not issue or utilize certificate numbers.

Once I have applied online or made a written inquiry, how long should I wait for a response?

  1. Due to fluctuations in the volume of online applications and inquiries received, it is often difficult to estimate processing time. During the months of April to October, processing time may be as long as six (6) weeks from the date of receipt.

How may I check the status of my application?

You may check the status of your application on your profile page in our online certification system at any time. You will need to log on to DESE Web Applications with your user id and password.  Once you have access to your profile page, an Application Status link is located in one of the gray bars near the bottom of the page.

Will my degree and/or coursework be accepted for certification?

For your degree and/or coursework to be accepted to meet certification requirements, they must be completed at a regionally accredited college or university. The regional accrediting agencies accepted by our department include the following: 
Middle States, Association of Colleges and Schools 
New England Association of Schools and Colleges
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
Northwest Association of School and Colleges 
Southern Association of Colleges and School 
Western Association of Schools and Colleges

What classes can I teach with my certificate?

Appropriate certification for teaching assignments is determined and monitored by the Office of Quality Schools.  You can also consult the department’s Core Data and Missouri Student Information System Reference Manual (see Exhibit 10 starting on page 295).

Am I a Highly Qualified Teacher?

For information regarding these requirements, please contact the Federal Programs section of the Office of Data System Management.

How long does it take for the background check to be completed?

Results are received by our department approximately two (2) weeks after fingerprints have been collected by the fingerprint company.

Do I have to complete a Missouri background check if I have recently completed one in another state?

Yes. You are required to complete a Missouri fingerprint and background check for the department.

What is the fee for a background check?

The fee for this process is currently $44.80.

Will I be notified of the results of my background check?

No.  You can check the status of your background check on your profile page in our online certification system.  You will need to log on to DESE Web Applications with your user id and password.  Once you have access to your profile page, a Fingerprint Information link is located in one of the gray bars near the bottom of the page.

If I am upgrading my certificate or applying for an additional area of certification, do I have to be fingerprinted again?

No, not unless your certificate has been expired for more than 11 months.

If I am changing school districts do I have to be fingerprinted again?

Yes.  All new hires to school districts must be fingerprinted if a background clearance has not been received within the past 12 months.

Can I receive a certificate if I have felony or misdemeanor charges and/or convictions?

Please see Educator Certification Conduct and Investigations for information regarding the related rules and statutes.

Am I subject to disciplinary action if I resign at my school district and take a position at another school district?

If you break a written contract without your employing School Board’s approval, your school district may ask the State Board of Education to discipline your certificate.