How to Become a Certified Teacher in Missouri

Feb 27, 2019

When you're ready to get your certification to teach in Missouri, you'll find a few hurdles to clear on the way to starting in your own classroom. Find out more about the required exams, degree programs, and background clearances necessary to teach in Missouri within this article.

In Missouri, certified teachers will undergo preparation through a combination of university attendance, standardized exams, and a background check. The number of exams required will depend on which grade level(s) is/are taught, as well as the subject area of the classroom.

Requirements for Teacher Certification in Missouri

Average Salary for Certified Teachers in Missouri (2017)* $52,700 (elementary), $52,620 (middle), $51,720 (secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Elementary or secondary education
Testing Requirements Missouri Pre-Teacher Assessment (MoPTA), Missouri Educator Profile (MEP), Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA), Missouri Content Assessment for specific grade level and subject

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Missouri teachers will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree to start a career as a certified teacher in Missouri. Several different undergraduate paths can open the door to life as an educator. For those interested in presiding over younger classrooms, a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education allows future teachers to have their own classrooms for students up to the sixth grade level. Introductory courses will include fundamentals of public speaking and adolescent development. Later in the program, elementary education students can take classes such as educational psychology, teaching and learning in elementary classrooms, and literature for children. All education programs will include an accredited teacher education program, complete with a student teaching experience.

For higher-level classrooms, a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education allows for the teaching of high school students. Secondary education majors will select an area of concentration; for example, Secondary Education students in English will choose courses that might include American literature, or the history of the English language.

Step 2: Pass All Exams

Missouri has a rigorous examination process that includes no less than four exams for up-and-coming teachers. First, the Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment (MoPTA) evaluates the teaching process of a student still obtaining their degree. Depending on the institution's policy, student teachers may be allowed to record their classroom practicum sessions and submit them as part of their answers for the exam. The goal of the MoPTA is to allow student teachers to identify their strongest areas and grow as educators on the path to becoming certified. Four weeks after the deadline for submitting all tasks, scores are posted online.

The Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA) is made up of four subtest areas: Reading Comprehension and Interpretation, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies, and Writing. The first three sections are multiple-choice in format, while the Writing section contains one longer assignment. The cost of the exam is $25 for one section, or a flat rate of $49 for taking all four sections at once. Scores are available less than two weeks after the final registration date of a given testing period.

The Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) is a non-scored survey and can be taken on any computer with an Internet connection. The 192-question exam, entirely in multiple-choice format, is self-paced and helps to give Missouri's licensing bodies a better idea of a potential teacher's work habits. The score, known as an MEP Development Report, is immediately available when the survey is completed.

Future teachers will take the appropriate Missouri Content Assessments for their grades and subjects. For example, a third grade teacher would take the Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education Multi-Content exams, while a high school English teacher would need the respective English exam for secondary education. Most of the Content Assessments are $77 and consist entirely of multiple-choice questions, but teachers should check the website to be sure of the format for their given subject areas. A score of 220 in the range of 100-300 is considered passing.

Step 3: Apply for License

Graduates of teacher education programs in Missouri will apply for an Initial Professional Certificate, which requires recommendation from the supervisor/advisor of the student's college or university program, as well as an overall GPA of 2.75 out of 4.00 and a 3.00 in content area and professional education coursework. If no background check has been performed in the twelve prior months before application, another must be submitted. The $40.30 fee for the background check includes fingerprinting. Evidence must also be provided of passing scores on all necessary MEGA assessment exams. The time it takes to approve an application will depend on a number of factors, including transcript receipt, background-clearance processing, and institution recommendation.

Additional Resources for Missouri Teacher Certification

Using, those who wish to get a teaching certification in the state of Missouri can take advantage of different practice guides for the MEGA assessments. Here are a few examples of the practice material available to future educators:

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