Become a Preschool or Kindergarten Teacher in Missouri

In the state of Missouri, persons can become a preschool or kindergarten teacher by completing an approved educator preparation program and passing the relevant assessments set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

An Overview of Preschool and Kindergarten Teacher Certification in Missouri

In Missouri, preschool and kindergarten teachers fall under the category of early childhood teachers who focus on students under the age of five. To become an early childhood teacher, the candidate must attain an Initial Professional Certificate. The general requirements for this certificate are summarized in the table below.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA
Exam Requirements MoGEA
Content Assessments
Certification Renewal Period Four years (initial certificate)
Requirements for Renewal Initial certificate cannot be renewed
Mean Salary (2018)$30,440 (preschool teachers in MO)
$51,630 (kindergarten teachers in MO)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (preschool teachers nationally)
7% (kindergarten teachers nationally)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

General Academic Requirements for the Initial Professional Certificate

In order to qualify for the Initial Professional Certificate, the candidate must complete an approved educator preparation program from an accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 2.5. There is a list of approved institutions that offer these programs on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. Stephens College, Park University, Columbia College, and Missouri State University are a few of the institutions that are approved to offer an Early Childhood (B - 3) educator preparation program.

Assessment Requirements

The first assessment that the candidate must pass is the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA). This assessment is comprised of the four areas of reading comprehension and interpretation, science and social studies, mathematics, and writing. The MoGEA is administered prior to starting the educator preparation program. Early childhood teachers will also be required to pass the Early Childhood Education content assessment. The Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) is generally optional for Missouri applicants but some educator preparation programs may still require its completion.

Background Check Information

All persons looking to obtain educator certification in Missouri will need to pass a background check. The check requires the collection of the applicant's fingerprints, which will be carried out by the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). To start the process, the applicant must pre-register on the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS), www.machs.mo.gov, in order to be guided to the relevant IdentoGo locations nearby. The applicant will need a four-digit registration code from his or her school district so the results can be sent to the right institution when completed. Non-Missouri residents must also pre-register on the website but have to submit fingerprint cards by mail.

Application Process

Applications for a certificate can only be submitted through the Certification Account Portal on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. Applicants will need to create a user ID and password to use the site. While the application can be submitted online, the applicant will be required to send in supporting documents such as official transcripts by mail to:

Educator Certification,

P.O. Box 480,

Jefferson City, MO 65102

Certificate Information

The Initial Professional Certificate is valid for four years and cannot be renewed as the educator is expected to upgrade to the 99-year Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC). The requirements for upgrading the initial certificate include completing four years of teaching experience, participating in a mentorship program, completing 30 contact hours of professional development, participating in a beginning teacher assistance program, participating in annual evaluation, and creating a professional development plan. If the educator is unable to meet the requirements for the upgrade within the certificate's four-year duration, he or she may apply for an extension.

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