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Frequently Asked Questions: Educator Certification

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). 

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.

How long is the processing time during the summer months?

Due to fluctuations in the volume of online applications and inquiries received during the summer months in anticipation for the upcoming school year, it is often difficult to estimate processing time of an application/certificate.  Processing time may be six weeks or longer from the date of the last piece of information received (application, transcript, background clearance, etc.) . You may monitor the status of your application on your online profile page under “Application Status” in the menu on the left or at the bottom of the page.  We will not expedite an application at the request of an individual educator.  If a Missouri school district must have a certificate processed sooner, the superintendent must make the request by phone. We are aware that contracts are contingent on valid certificates. We assure you we are working diligently to be prepared for the upcoming school year.

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
  • AdvancEd
  • Higher Learning Commission 

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 background check for the department.

What is the fee for a background check?

The fee for this process is currently $41.75.

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.

How do I become a paraprofessional and do I need to be certified?

Paraprofessionals are identified as those who possess, at a minimum, 60 college hours or have passed the Paraprofessional or ParaPro Assessment (MEGA) and who work under the direct supervision of an appropriately certified teacher to provide instructional assistance. The Paraprofessional Assessment is for individuals seeking to be employed as teaching assistants residing in Title I schools.

Paraprofessionals do not need to be certified and do not need to contact Educator Certification.  However, some districts require paraprofessionals to have their substitute certification. Learn about how to get your substitute certification here: https://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification/substitute-teachers 

Note: Paraprofessionals cannot have a caseload.

For more information about paraprofessionals, please see the Consolidated Federal Programs Administrative Manual