To get certified to teach in Missouri:
- Determine what you want to teach.
- Choose the right certification area.
- Find the right pathway to certification.
- Review the steps to certification.
- Get answers to more frequently asked questions.
We do our best to keep all information updated, but because licensing requirements are regularly reviewed and revised, it is best to confirm requirements with your educator preparation program and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education before applying.
Which statement fits you best?
If you know the grade and subject matter you’d like to teach, the next step is to identify your certification area. Each certification area requires its own set of exams, and when it’s time to apply to a teacher preparation program, you can make sure they offer your desired certification area.
Choosing a Certification Area
Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select a certification area. (Check out the list below).,
In some cases, you may have multiple options to choose from. In Missouri for example, if you want to teach fifth or sixth grade, you’ll have to decide between two possible certificates—one that allows you to teach all core subjects in grades 1-6, and another that allows you to teach specific subjects in grades 5-9.
You don’t have to get all your certifications at once. At any time during your teaching career, you can take tests or additional classes to add additional areas to your certification.
Pathways to Missouri Teacher Certification
Earn your bachelor’s and certification at the same time.
Earn your certification after you earn your degree.
Choose “alternative certification” through a provisional certificate program.
Choose “alternative certification” through a temporary authorization certificate.
Earn a certificate through the American Board of Certification for Teacher Excellence
Find more in-depth information about how to select a teaching program on our About Programs page.
Missouri Teacher Certification Requirements
Gain admission into an accredited university and earn a bachelor’s degree.
Missouri accepts degrees from a large number of universities, the degree must lead to certification in that state and upon completion of the degree program a certificate must be issued. You should confirm that they have been accredited by one of the Missouri-approved accreditation agencies.
If you have a bachelor's degree from outside of the United States, you will need to have your transcripts evaluated by a state-approved credentialing agency.
Paying for your program can feel like a lot. That's where our financial aid guide comes in: get our favorite tips to find grants, scholarships, loan forgiveness opportunities and other strategies to cover your costs.
Graduate from an approved Missouri teacher education program
You can meet this requirement either as part of your undergraduate coursework or by applying to and graduating from a teaching program after earning your bachelor’s degree.
You can review programs with the Missouri Program Explorer.
Need a little support to prepare your teaching program applications? Our teacher prep program application guide has all the info you need to ace your exams, request your transcripts, write a top-notch essay and more.
Pass the Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA)
The MoCA measures your understanding of the subject you want to teach. Depending on the subjects you would like to be certified in, you may take multiple MoCA exams.
In an undergraduate teaching program, you’ll take the MoCA halfway through, prior to student teaching. In a post-graduate program, you may need to submit a passing score on the MoCA to get into the program or after you enroll.
Before applying to a post-graduate program, make sure to check the MoCA requirements. See the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments website for more information about the MoCA assessments.
Stressed about testing? You're not alone! Our testing guide covers everything from exam registration to study materials to what to expect on test day.
Submit a state application
After you meet the requirements above, you can apply for your teaching certificate. Confirm with your educator preparation program that you are eligible to apply. See the Missouri Educator Certification Help Guide for instructions on applying for your certificate.
Complete fingerprinting for a criminal background check
While having a criminal history does not automatically disqualify you from being a teacher, you are required to complete a fingerprint check for $41.75. You must pre-register at the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site for a fingerprint-based background check. See the background check registration process for more details