Become an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher in Missouri

Early childhood special education instructors must undergo specialized training in order to be successful in their careers. Find out what it takes to be an early childhood special education teacher in Missouri! Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview for Early Childhood Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers working in early childhood education provide the fundamental groundwork for children's success throughout their academic lives. Working closely with children aged Pre-K – grade 3 who have special needs, these educators require specialized training in order to help children learn more effectively so they can make sense of the world around them. Aspiring special education teachers in Missouri must graduate from a state-approved program, pass the mandated content-area exam, and participate in ongoing education to maintain their licenses to teach.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree in special education from a regionally accredited college or university;
Educator Preparation Program
Exams Required Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment 049 Early Childhood Special Education
License Validity Period Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) valid four years (nonrenewable);
Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC) valid indefinitely with annual professional development audits
Certification Renewal Process IPC nonrenewable;
CCPC valid indefinitely with qualifying professional development credits
CEU Credits Required for Renewal N/A
Average Salary (2018) $54,190*
Estimated Job Growth 2016 – 2026 8% (national)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Special Skills & Characteristics

Teachers working with students aged Pre-K – grade 3 who have special needs must possess certain skills and characteristics in order to be successful in their careers. The following are just some of the traits special education instructors should have:

  • Demonstrated advocacy for and strong desire to work with individuals with disabilities
  • Exceptional communication skills and ability to convey difficult subject matter in simplistic terms
  • Strong critical thinking skills and willingness to think creatively about the educational process as it relates to children with special needs

Special education instructors should also possess high levels of patience and strong interpersonal skills in order to better connect with their students.

Educational Requirements

Missouri requires all of its educators to possess at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Those pursuing a career in early childhood special education should obtain a degree in this content area from a state-approved program with the following graduation requirements:

  • Graduate must earn a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale
  • Graduate must earn a content-area and professional education GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

All educators must also obtain a recommendation from the designated official within their department-approved educator preparation program.

Exam Requirements

The state of Missouri requires all instructors to pass the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment that corresponds to their content area of expertise. The test for early childhood special education teachers is Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment 049 Early Childhood Special Education. Scores are given on a scale from 100 to 300, and instructors must receive a score of at least 220 in order to qualify for certification.

Certification Requirements

Upon graduating from a state-approved educator preparation program, teachers must apply for their IPC in order to be employed as a teacher in the state of Missouri. Certification requirements for the IPC are as follows:

  • Bachelor's degree from regionally accredited college or university in early childhood special education
  • Qualifying cumulative and content-are GPA
  • Recommendation from designated department official from state-approved educator preparation program
  • Passing scores on Missouri Educator Gateway Assessment 049 Early Childhood Special Education

IPCs remain valid for four years, during which time teachers must complete the requirements for advancement to the CCPC. In order to qualify for the CCPC, candidates must participate in a two-year, district-approved mentoring program; complete 30 contact hours of professional development or qualifying college credit; participate in a Beginning Teacher Assistance program; complete a performance-based teacher evaluation; have at least four years of approved teaching experience; and have a local professional development plan.

Certification Renewal

IPCs are not eligible for renewal in the state of Missouri. Rather, candidates must work to advance to the CCPC level of certification completing the aforementioned requirements for qualification. Once a CCPC is obtained, it remains valid indefinitely, so long as candidates complete at least 20 professional development hours annually. Professional development hours may be completed through qualifying college credits, with one college credit hour equivalent to 15 professional development hours. Professional development is audited annually through the Missouri State Board of Education.

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