Become a Teacher in Missouri

Missouri Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $52,920
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $47,960
Vacation Weeks per Year 15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 1:25
Expenditure per Pupil $9,875

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report and pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing.

205 Jefferson St
Jefferson City, MO 65102
(573) 751-9060

Missouri Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage occurs when there are not enough teachers in key subject areas, which has been partly caused by years of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession, a growing student population and fewer people entering teacher preparation programs, according to the Learning Policy Institute.

The following is a list of teacher shortage areas in Missouri for the 2016-17 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. (see page 87)

  • Music–Instrumental (Instrumental and Vocal)
  • Speech & Theatre (Grades 9-12)
  • English (Grades 9–12)
  • Journalism (Grades 9–12)
  • Language Arts (Grades 5–9)
  • ESL (K– Grade 12)
  • Foreign Languages (K–Grade 12)
  • Health
  • Physical Education (K–Grade 12)
  • Driver Education (Grades 9–12)
  • Mathematics (Grades 5–12)
  • Biology (Grades 9–12)
  • Chemistry (Grades 9–12)
  • Earth Science (Grades 9–12)
  • General Science (Grades 5–12)
  • Physics (Grades 9–12)
  • Social Science (Grades 5–12)
  • Mild to Moderate Cross–Cross Categorical (K-Grade 12)
  • Art (K–12)
  • Dance (K– Grade 12)
  • Severe Developmental Disabilities (Birth– Grade 12)
  • Speech Language Pathology (Birth–Grade 12)
  • Special Reading (K–Grade 12)
  • Technology & Engineering (Grades 5–12)
  • Agricultural Education (Grades 5–12)
  • Business Education (Grades 5–12)
  • Family and Consumer Science (Birth–Grade 12)
  • Marketing (Grades 9–12)
  • ROTC (Grades 9–12)
  • Deaf & Hearing Impaired (Birth–Grade 12)
  • Gifted Education (K–Grade 12)
  • Special Education Blind & Partial Sight (Birth–Grade 12)

Lists of subject area shortages are determined by individual school districts which consider factors such as the number of teacher vacancies and applicant-to-vacancy ratios in assessing whether there is a shortage. Shortage determinations are then sent to the U.S. Department of Education, which compiles an annual nationwide listing.

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Missouri

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: 11/1/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Missouri, teaching candidates must meet the following 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.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Missouri Teaching Credential

To earn your Missouri teaching credential you will have to complete required the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. Beginning teachers in Missouri receive an Initial Professional Certificate that is valid for 4 years.

Teachers who have met the requirements for full certification (which include two years of mentoring) are issued a permanent Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC) and a Continuous Career Education Certificate (CCEC) which is valid for 99 years as long as performance evaluations are satisfactory and professional development requirements are met. Learn more about earning your Missouri teaching credential on the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education website.

Learn more about getting your teaching credential on

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in Missouri

All states require at least a bachelor’s degree to teach. Additionally, Missouri has very specific course requirements depending on desired grade level and content area.

Please visit the Missouri Certification Requirements Index or contact the Department of Education at (573) 751-4212 for more information, including elementary, middle and secondary education certification requirements as well as areas of specialized education. For more information on prerequisite coursework in Missouri, please visit

Step Two: Missouri Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher certification programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. A list of approved teacher preparation programs can be found at the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.

Step Three: Required Tests for Missouri

Most states require tests to show competency in basic skills as well as in the desired subject area. Missouri requires the College Basic Academic Subjects Examination (CBASE) for admission to a college or university teacher education program.  It also requires a series of tests called Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments, which includes several exams.

See details of each required test on the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments website.

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Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

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Alternative Teacher Certification in Missouri

Missouri allows prospective teachers to attend an accredited teacher preparation course or an alternative certification program while simultaneously teaching under a two-year provisional certificate. Additionally, Missouri recognizes the ABCTE alternate certification program. For more alternate certification info, visit the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for details on alternative routes to certification.

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Benefits of a Master's Degree in Missouri

It is no longer enough to only have years of experience teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, teachers are almost solely evaluated by their success in the classroom. A master’s in teaching provides more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor.

In Springfield Public Schools, a new teacher with a master’s degree earns almost $4,000 more than a beginning teacher with only a bachelor’s degree and the differential grows wider with each year of experience. During the course of a teaching career, educators with a master’s can earn $17,000 more than a teacher without an advanced degree, according to the Missouri National Education Association.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on

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Certification Reciprocity in Missouri

Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. Missouri is considered an “open” state and, in most circumstances, will honor a valid and active teacher license from another state. Please visit Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for more information or visit the reciprocity page. Or, for more specific questions about your situation, contact the Missouri Department of Education.

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Financial Aid in Missouri

Missouri residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

Learn more about how to finance your master's degree on

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Missouri Teacher Salary and Incentives

In Missouri, teachers earned an average of  $47,517 in 2012-13, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.  Missouri does not provide any additional pay for teaching high-demand districts or school subject. More salary information can be found by using the Stl Today salary tool, which allows you to look up salary by district, position and experience level.

Learn more about teacher salaries on

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Missouri Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Missouri public school teachers are covered by the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri (PSRS/PEERS). Under PSRS/PEERS, teachers are eligible for full retirement at any age with at least 30 years of teaching service, or at the age of 60 with at least five 5 years of teaching service. Teachers with 25-29 years of teaching service are eligible for reduced-benefit retirement. Retirement compensation is determined by years of teaching experience and highest average salary.

Learn more about benefits for teachers on

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Professional Development for Teachers in Missouri

Missouri uses a continuum of teacher standards toward which it gears a series of conferences and workshops. The state offers online professional development courses on its eMINTS website. To find out more about Missouri Professional Development, visit the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s page on educator quality.

While teaching under an Initial Professional Certificate (IPC), teachers in most core areas must complete 30 professional development contact hours. After being issued the permanent career certification, teachers must complete 20 professional development contact hours annually.

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Missouri Teaching Jobs

Teachers in the state can use an employment resource exclusively for Missouri educators called Missouri Teaching JOBS website where applicants can search and apply for teaching jobs.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education partnered with to create a searchable online database for Missouri teachers. Job seekers are able to browse teaching vacancies by region and by specialty and submit applications for them online.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

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