Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Missouri

The State of Early Childhood Education in Missouri

Missouri, known as the “Gateway to the West” state, is ranked the 41st state in the nation as of 2013, according to Education Week’s annual ranking system. On the upside, the state’s overall grade rose from a “C-” to a “C” in 2013. However, Missouri early childhood education has suffered millions of dollars in budget cuts as of 2012, lowering the state from its previous funding rank of 35th place.

The state acknowledges the need for improvements in education, making high-quality parent education and early childhood education top priorities. As a consequence, the state needs professionals interested in improving the face of early childhood education across the state.

How to Get Teaching Credentials in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.

Missouri provides the following routes to certification for those pursuing a teaching license:

  • Traditional Route: available to individuals who have completed an approved teacher preparation program as well as certain other requirements.
  • Alternative or Innovative Route: available to applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a subject area who are participating in an education program while teaching.
  • Temporary Authorization Route: available to those with a bachelor’s degree in a subject area who are taking self-directed courses while teaching, receiving mentoring and meeting certain other requirements.
  • Out-of-State Certified Route: available to individuals from another state with qualifications comparable to those required in Missouri.
  • Doctoral Route: available to applicants with a doctorate in a subject area who pass a specific Praxis test.

The Missouri Initial Certificate is valid for four years and is for beginning teachers who follow a variety of two-year teacher development tracks, including mentoring, evaluations, teacher assistance and professional development courses. Once successfully completed, the teacher becomes eligible for “career continuous certification.”

Individuals may apply online through the Educator Certification System within the DESE Web Applications Portal. View the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact the educator certification department should you have any further questions about the certification/licensure process.


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Early Childhood Education Programs in Missouri

There are about 20 early childhood education colleges in Missouri. Some of the more reputable colleges in the state are highlighted below.

is a top-tier university located on a beautiful campus. It offers bachelor’s and higher degrees in early childhood (birth through grade three) and elementary education (grades one through six).

is a Christian liberal arts school. It offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (birth through grade three) and elementary education (grades one through six).

is a Catholic university. It offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (birth through grade three) and elementary education (grades one through six).

is a liberal arts school. It offers bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education (pre-K through three) and elementary education (grades one through six).

Finding a Teaching Job in Missouri

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. Mo Teaching Jobs is a free online service that connects applicants with schools districts, while also providing applicants with pertinent information about the job-seeking process.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant search for highly-qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Missouri’s Top Teacher Organizations

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Missouri that share similar visions.

The Missouri National Education Association (MNEA) is made up of 35,000 educators and aims to improve the profession and local public schools. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization of three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.

The Association for the Education of Young Children-Missouri (AEYC-MO) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. The organization is committed to professional development and networking. It is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

The Missouri State Teachers Association (MSTA) offers protection, advocacy, community involvement, resources and professional development to its members. It serves more than 44,000 educators in the state and is the leader for in-service professional development opportunities in the state as well.


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Missouri Education Bloggers

KSDK’s Back to School Series covers hot topics, issues, and events occurring in Missouri schools.

Mrs. Wills Kindergarten is written by a kindergarten teacher who offers other early childhood educators a place to share ideas and connect with one another.

The Daily Cupcake is written by a veteran teacher of 18 years who enjoys sharing her daily triumphs within her kindergarten classroom.

First Grade O.W.L.S. is written by a first grade teacher who enjoys creating, sharing, and collaborating with other passionate teachers.

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