Become a Teacher in Missouri

Missouri Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $52,700
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $51,720
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics External link  report.

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 08/10/2018

This page is sponsored by our partner Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in Missouri.

To become a certified teacher in Missouri, you will need to fulfill these requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Missouri teaching credential application.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating with new information on a regular basis.

Step One: Missouri Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Please see the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Certification Requirements Index for more information.

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Master’s Requirements

Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring or working teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.

The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.

Learn more about getting your MAT online with our partner USC Rossier School of Education.

Step Two: Missouri Teacher Preparation

Teacher preparation includes the completion of an accredited teacher education program. All new teachers must also participate in a two-year mentoring program focused on professional development.

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching) and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching and an internship.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers exclusive to the State of Missouri, visit our Missouri Teacher Scholarships page.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Visit the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for more information.

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Step Three: Missouri Required Tests

Basic Skills Assessment
The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education does not require teaching candidates to complete basic skills assessments for student teaching and/or initial licensure.

Principles of Learning and Testing
All teaching candidates obtaining certification in grades 5-9, 9-12 and/or K-12 are required to complete and pass the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) test in their area of certification.

Missouri Required Tests
Certification Required Test Qualifying Score

Middle School (5-9)

PLT: Grades 5-9


Secondary (K-12; 9-12)

PLT: Grades 7-12


Content Area Assessments
All teaching candidates seeking their Missouri teacher licensure must complete and pass the content test(s) required for their specific licensure area.

Content Area Assessments
Certification Required Test Qualifying Score

Early Childhood Education (Birth-3)

Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood


Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-3)

PLT: Grades 7-12


Elementary Education (1-6)

Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment


Middle School Education

English Language Arts
Social Studies

Middle School English Language Arts
Middle School Mathematics
Middle School Science
Middle School Social Studies



Secondary (9-12)

Earth Science
General Science
Social Science
Unified Science: Biology
Unified Science: Chemistry
Unified Science: Earth Science
Unified Science: Physics


Biology: Content Knowledge
Chemistry: Content Knowledge
Earth & Space Sciences: Content Knowledge

English Language, Lit, & Comp: Content Knowledge
General Science: Content Knowledge
Mathematics: Content Knowledge
Physics: Content Knowledge
Social Studies: Content Knowledge
Speech Communication: Content Knowledge
Biology: Content Knowledge
Chemistry: Content Knowledge
Earth & Space Sciences: Content Knowledge
Physics: Content Knowledge




Special Education (B-12)

Blind/Partially Sighted
Deaf/Hearing Impaired
Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical Disabilities
Severely Developmentally Delayed

Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
Education of Deaf & Hard of Hearing Students
Core Knowledge & Mild to Moderate Applications
Core Knowledge & Severe to Profound Applications


Please visit the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for additional information.

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Step Four: Missouri Application Requirements

The Compendium of Missouri Certification Requirements Index provides teaching candidates with the certification requirements for each subject area and license type in the state of Missouri.

Background Check

Please visit the Missouri DESE Fingerprint Information Checklist and background check FAQs for resources regarding how to obtain background clearance to become a teacher in the state of Missouri.

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Missouri Certification Reciprocity

Missouri will accept teaching credentials from all but the following states: Alaska, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. Contact the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

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Missouri Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: Missouri provides no additional compensation for teachers teaching in high-needs schools or teachers teaching in shortage subject areas.
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $52,700
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $51,720
  • Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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Missouri Certification Resources & Links

205 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

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