Like other states in the country, Missouri's elementary and secondary education has dealt with teacher shortages for years. More specifically, Missouri is still dealing with a shortage of high school biology teachers as recent as last school year. If you are interested in becoming a biology teacher in Missouri, this article explains the various pathways to enter the educational profession in the field of biology in this state.
Key Information For Biology Teachers in Missouri
|Mean Yearly Salary (2017)*||$52,700 (Elementary School), $52,620 (Middle School), $51,720 (Secondary School)|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Degree Field||Biology, Education|
|Testing Requirements||Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments (MEGA) composed of the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA), Missouri Educator Profile (MEP), Missouri Content Assessments, and Missouri Standards-Based Performance|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete Your Bachelor's Degree
All the routes to becoming a certified teacher start with at least having a bachelor's degree. However, Missouri has very specific additional requirements for teaching in certain content areas and in either elementary, middle or high school. In order to teach biology in Missouri, a bachelor's degree in Biology or Education is preferred.
There are numerous options to teach biology in Missouri for holders of a bachelor's degree from other schools, countries, or other content areas, as long as the collected credits can be accredited by an approved regional accreditation body and additional requirements are met.
Step 2: Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
Some bachelor studies include a teacher preparation program, which includes classes in education and/or psychology in conjunction with student teaching experience. To become a certified teacher in Missouri, a recommendation from a teacher education program approved by the state's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required. Individuals whose bachelor's degree did not include this program, can enroll in regionally accredited colleges that allow them to take courses and teach simultaneously in order to complete this teacher preparation. They can also choose to take a minimum of 24 college credits in self-directed courses, combined with two years of teaching, mentoring by a school district, and the passing of a minimum of two exit exams.
A third alternative option accepted by the state is to earn credentials through third parties, such as the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE). Missouri does not accept ABCTE credentials in all content areas, but it does for middle and high school biology.
Step 3: Pass the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments
Prospective teachers must take and pass the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments (MEGA). The MEGA is comprised of:
- Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA) - a test for admission to the Missouri teacher preparation programs
- Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) - a profile determination of someone's work style
- Missouri Content Assessments - scored content assessments in Biology (replacing the Praxis test)
- Missouri Standards-Based Performance Assessments - new assessment for those intending to become teachers and other school support/management personnel
Step 4: Apply for Certification
All aspiring teachers need to apply for certification on the website of Missouri's Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The website offers varying options, such as initial certificates for new educators, provisional or temporary certificates for students enrolled in teacher preparation programs, replacement certificates for holders of an out-of-state certificate and more.
Aspiring teachers who have completed an out-of-state teacher preparation program and are eligible for a professional certificate in that state are encouraged to obtain the state certificate. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education states that a Missouri certificate would then most likely be issued without any further coursework or assessments.
Still, all individuals applying for a new Missouri teaching certificate are also required to pre-register on the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) for a background check and fingerprinting.
Resource for Biology Teachers
Study.com provides several courses that can assist aspiring biology teachers. Take a look at the following resource to help you become one: