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Missouri Special Education Certification Requirements

Working with exceptional students is a noble decision, and your work will pay off once you obtain certification in Missouri. Continue reading to find out what kind of degree you need, as well as the exams you'll have to take and how to apply for certification.

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Special educators in Missouri must undergo similar certification procedures to those who run traditional classrooms. Several exam categories will appear on your path to earning a special education teacher's certificate.

Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Missouri

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Missouri (2017)* $53,910 (Elementary), $52,630 (Middle), $47,250 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Special Education
Testing Requirements Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment (MoPTA), Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA), Missouri Educator Profile (MEP), Missouri Content Assessment for Special Education and grade level

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Missouri

Potential special education teachers in the state of Missouri should earn a bachelor's degree to work with students who have special needs. A Bachelor of Science in Special Education fulfills this obligation, and each accredited program will include a student teaching experience as required for eventual certification. Special education degree programs are cross-disciplinary in nature, and they cover grades K-12 throughout the curriculum. Some of the courses you might take can include children's literature, introduction to teaching and assessing students with autism, and educating exceptional children. Student teaching will take place during the final year of the degree program.

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Testing Requirements for Missouri Special Education Teachers

As with all educators in Missouri, aspiring special education teachers have many exams to undergo before they obtain certification. The Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA) consists of four subtests in Reading Comprehension and Interpretation, Mathematics, Writing, and Science and Social Studies. Each subtest is in multiple-choice format, except for writing, which requires one long-form answer. These subtests can be taken all at once or broken up into several sessions.

The Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment (MoPTA) exists so that the state and a student teacher can work together to identify strengths and areas of needed improvement before the student becomes certified and runs a special education classroom on their own. Should the institution where the student teaches allow it, student teachers can use video recordings to add to their submissions for the exam components. Once submitted, the scores for this test are usually available within four weeks after the deadline.

Unlike other MEGA exams, the Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) is not a traditional test with right or wrong answers. Instead, this 192-question survey helps Missouri better understand a student teacher's personality ahead of issuing a certificate for teaching a special education classroom. Furthermore, this test does not have to be taken at any official location; any computer with an active Internet connection will suffice.

Several Missouri Content Assessment exams fall under the special education category. Depending on career path, test-takers will have to go through exams for Blind & Low Vision, Deaf & Hard of Hearing, or Severely Developmentally Disabled. There is also an exam for Early Childhood Special Education, as well as Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical Special Education; anyone taking this exam is also required to pass the four subtests included in the Elementary Education Multi-Content exam. All of the content assessments are in multiple-choice format and require a score of 220 in a 100-300 range to pass.

Certification Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Missouri

New special education teachers in Missouri must go through the same process as any other new teacher for certification. A background check and criminal history investigation is needed if one has not been performed in the twelve months leading to the application. This can be done through the Missouri State Highway Patrol's website, and the cost is $40.30. New educators will seek an Initial Professional Certificate, which also requires a 2.75 minimum overall GPA, as well as a 3.00 in special education courses. Once the university receives the application, they will include a recommendation for certification and forward it to the state department. Processing times will change depending on the timing of document receipt and how many current applications are pending.

Additional Resources for Special Education Teachers in Missouri

Before obtaining certification in Missouri, special education teachers can review what they have learned with Study.com's practice guides. Review for the MEGA exams with the following examples:

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