Mississippi is currently experiencing shortages in some teaching areas. Because of this, you may be starting your new career at an optimum time. Not only will you find teaching rewarding and satisfying, there are potential incentives for teacher candidates who teach in these shortage areas (including Language Arts). The incentives may include moving fees, loan forgiveness, and assistance with books and classroom materials.
If you’re considering a teaching career in Mississippi, check out the various counties that are experiencing shortages to determine if you may qualify for assistance. No matter when you plan on earning a teaching license, below are some basic steps that may help you work through the process:
|Complete Your Education|
|Pass Teaching Exams|
|Apply for a Teaching Certification|
|Renew Your Standard License|
Step 1. Complete Your Education
If you’re planning a teaching career in Mississippi, you will find more than one option available to you in order to earn a teaching license. Many students prefer the traditional route and seek the required undergraduate degree in teaching. Others may prefer to maximize their college experience and earn a master’s in Education or English.
There are many brick-and-mortar schools around the state that are accredited for offer teaching programs. There are also online options that may fit in some circumstances. No matter what route you take, all teaching careers start with a good educational program.
At the minimum, you can expect to complete fewer than 130 units for an undergraduate degree. If you are planning on seeking a master’s, it will add an additional 30-36 units. All of these programs are created so that you become proficient in your subject matter, skilled at your grade-level, and understand the pedagogy of teaching.
They also require an in-class internship at the end of your program. Here you will get hands-on experience with actual classroom teaching. This will allow you to be ready when you are hired for your first teaching position.
Alternative to Standard Route
There are currently four alternative ways that you can earn a teaching certificate in Mississippi. Each one will offer something a bit different than the other. If you already have earned a degree in the past, one of these alternate ways may be the plan for you:
- Earn a Master of Arts in Teaching
- MS Alternate Path to Quality Teachers
- Teach Mississippi Institute
- American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)
Step 2. Pass Teaching Exams
Each teacher in Mississippi will have to pass a series of Praxis exams. The first is a three-part test that will determine your basic educational skill levels in reading, writing and math. The tests each have a set time limit and set number of questions. The writing portion is essay driven.
Along with basic skills, a teaching candidate will need to be proficient in their area of practice. For an English Language Arts teacher, this means you will need to be well qualified in your subject area as well as accomplished in teaching the age level of your students.
For instance, the skills you will need to teach an elementary class will be very different from a junior high school teacher. Therefore, the additional test you take will be specific and appropriate for age and content.
To prepare for each test, you may find the following study materials helpful:
Core Academic Skills for Educators
Once you feel confident that you are ready to test, you can begin the application process. To apply for a test date, you will first need to have an account on the Praxis website. Once you have registered, you can select which tests you want to take, set up a date, and pay your fee. You will also be able to access test score requests from this site.
Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certification
Once you have completed all the above steps, you are now ready to apply for your first teaching license in Mississippi. The process will require that you have a background check and get fingerprinted. You will also be fingerprinted at each district that you apply for work.
The initial teaching certificate will be valid for five years. If you earned a Provisional License, it is not renewable. You will have to complete the requirements for standard renewal (see below). For your first standard certification in Mississippi, you can follow these steps to begin the licensing process:
- Read all the instructions for the Standard license
- Complete the Application
- Available online or submit a paper application
- Collect all the documents that are required:
- Test Scores
- Other supporting documents
- Pay the appropriate fee
Mail your completed packet to:
Mississippi Department of Education
Office of Educator Licensure
P.O. Box 771
Jackson, MS 39205-0771
Step 4. Renew Your Standard License
Your first Class A Standard License will be good for five years. Within that time you will be expected to complete a number of educational units in order to renew. There are a few ways in which you can acquire your continuing educational credits. Choose one of the following:
- Take ten continuing education units in English, elementary education or in a skill related to teaching.
- Take three college semester hours in content or job/skill related area, plus five continuing education units in content or job/skill related area in English, Elementary education or in a skill related to teaching.
- Take six college semester hours in content or job/skill related area in English, Elementary education or in a skill related to teaching.
- Complete the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards
Mississippi English Teacher Salaries
The state of Mississippi has recently revised its minimum salary for all teachers that must be followed by each school district. These salaries ensure that a licensed teacher is paid a certain wage based on their education and time on the job. The schedule impacts any teacher hired after July 2014.
For instance, it indicates that a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree is reported to receive at least $37,000 a year. In their second year they will receive a $1,800 raise. For each year after, their annual salary will be $40,000.
For the teacher with a master’s degree, the guaranteed salary is $41,500 the first year. The second year the teacher would earn $43,000. In subsequent years the salary will go to $44,500. Again any additional increases will depend on local district funding and negotiations. Most districts have managed to subsidize teacher salaries and raise the minimums. As an example, the salary previously for an English teacher in Mississippi in these two school districts was:
- Entry Level BA – $33,390
- Entry Level MA – $35,780
- Entry Level BA – $36,818
- Entry Level MA – $39,525
These amounts were fairly close to many other districts for English teachers. The total sources of a typical year’s budget for Mississippi’s schools are broken down by the following:
- Federal: 16.35%
- State: 51.10%
- Local: 32.55%
As the economy continues to improve and more money is allocated on all government levels, teachers will hopefully see these improvements affect their salaries in the coming years as well.
To view more salary data from other metro areas around Mississippi go to the chart below: