Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Mississippi

All About Early Childhood Education in Mississippi

Mississippi shares the same name as the river that flows past it on the west and offers so many opportunities for commerce, boating, and fishing and to the cities along it.

One area Mississippi is not wholly engaged in yet is the education of its smallest residents. Early childhood education is not yet fully funded by the state, meaning that programs are not readily available to everyone. A new law was introduced in 2012 by the governor to begin slowly phasing in state-funded pre-kindergarten programs, a step in the right direction, but it is still in an early phase. The hope is to start delivering state-funded programs no later than the 2014-2015 school year.

There are private preschool opportunities available in the state, however, for licensed candidates.

Even though a state-funded program is not available, this state does offer Mississippi Building Blocks (MBB). This program was begun in 2008 by business leaders and foundations, and aims to provide high-quality preparation for early childhood educators.

Despite the lack of state-funded preschools, an early childhood teacher may still find work at a private preschool or teach kindergarten through grade three. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 2,940 preschool teachers in Mississippi in 2012 with an average annual salary of $25,580.

How to Become an Early Childhood Educator in Mississippi

There are three avenues to becoming an early childhood educator in Mississippi: a traditional teacher program, an alternative teacher program, and reciprocity.

The traditional route calls for a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a K-through-three concentration, which can be obtained at several institutions in Mississippi.

The alternative path requires the candidate to have a bachelor’s degree already, a GPA of 2.0 or 2.75 depending upon the graduation date, and passing scores on the Praxis I and II. To get a one-year alternate-route license, candidates have to undergo the 90-hour MAPQT training program, which prepares them to deal with the classroom and with state administrative requirements. Candidates may then apply for the one-year license, which is non-renewable.

The requirements for a five-year alternate-route renewable license include completing a one-year teaching internship and a practicum taking place on nine Saturdays. After finishing these steps, the prospective teacher may apply to the Office of Licensure for the license.

A five-year Reciprocity License is available to applicants with out-of-state licenses. To apply for this license, candidates must submit, along with an application, their valid out-of-state license, transcripts, and proof of passing a core subject test, or else some other verification that their out-of-state license satisfies Mississippi’s requirements.

Individuals with valid credentials less than a standard license or certificate can obtain a two-year Reciprocity License by submit an application, the out-of-state license, and college transcripts.


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Early Childhood Degrees in Mississippi

Mississippi State University’s undergraduate program

offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a concentration in either middle school or early childhood education. The early childhood program aims to prepare for K through three or K through six, along with preschool teaching, and also covers early childhood special education.

confers bachelor’s degrees in elementary education, early childhood education, and child care and family education, as well as several master’s degrees in similar areas. Jackson’s education department is very active in the community, offers a personal approach to instruction and advising, and has one of the highest enrollments in the university.

Finally, Alcorn State University has a bachelor’s program in elementary education

that can open up teaching opportunities for graduates.

Teacher Certification in Mississippi

In Mississippi, early childhood teaching requires an elementary license for grades K through three. Four types of licenses are offered: Class A, Class AA, Class AAA, and Class AAAA.

The requirements for the Class A license are:

  1. A bachelor’s or higher degree in teacher education
  2. Praxis II (Principles of Learning & Teaching Test)
  3. Praxis II (Specialty Area Test) in degree program

The Class A license has to be renewed every five years through one of the following avenues:

  1. Complete 10 continuing education units.
  2. Complete three semester hours in content AND five continuing education units.
  3. Complete six semester hours in content.
  4. Complete the National Board of Professional Teaching Standard Process.

The Class AA requirements are the same as for Class A with the addition of a master’s degree endorsement or master’s degree in education. Renewal comes up every five years, and can be accomplished in one of the following ways:

  1. Three semester hours in content.
  2. Five continuing education units in content.
  3. Completion of the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards process.

A Class AAA license has the same requirements as Class A with the addition of a specialist degree in education or an endorsement in your license area. The license must renewed after five years with the same requirements as a Class AA license.

Finally, a Class AAAA license is the same as Class A with the added requirement of a doctorate in education in the area you are licensed for. Once again, the renewal period is five years, with the same requirements as Class AA.

Where to Look for a Job in Early Childhood Education

Mississippi’s Department of Education provides a link to teacher vacancies in the state, listing schools, addresses, contact names, and available positions. Seekers of teaching jobs should become familiar with this site.

La Petite Academy in Mississippi offers positions for lead teachers. This company is actually part of the Learning Care Group, which has child care centers throughout North America. The Academy offers both full- and part-time positions, with benefits, to licensed candidates.

Universities with early childhood programs may be an option for some career-seekers. For example, Willie Price University Nursery School requires full-time teachers. These teachers help to provide a positive lab experience for college students to observe and interact with children. Candidates need a bachelor’s degree, CPR training, and a valid state teaching license.

Professional Organizations for Teachers in Mississippi

Mississippi Early Childhood Association advocates for early childhood educators, supports networking and collaboration among early childhood professionals, and works to increase public awareness and knowledge of early childhood needs, all with the aim of giving young children the best opportunities.

Mississippi Professional Educators, founded in 1979, is a statewide organization aiming to be an alternative to union participation. Their stated top priority is the education and achievement of students.

Mississippi Association of Educators is the state affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), the national teachers’ union that works to provide successful education experiences for both students and educators.


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Blogs For Teachers In Mississippi

Peace, Love, and First Grade is the creation of a teacher of 21 years, most spent teaching first and second grades. She has been blogging since 2011 and shares her experiences and discoveries day to day as her students learn.

Kindergarten Rocks!! is a classroom blog allowing readers a look inside a kindergarten class.

Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk comes to readers from a Mississippi mom and her life with her toddler. She shares their everyday experiences as she implements the state framework for early childhood education. Readers will find lots of activities to view and try out with their own children.

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