Education Requirements for Becoming an English Teacher in Missouri

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If you are seeking a teaching certificate in Missouri in order to teach English Language Arts, you will have to follow certain steps that prepare you for this career.

Preparing for a career as a teacher in Missouri will require dedication to the job and a willingness to become a skilled educator. You will want to be as well prepared as possible by following these basic steps on the route to teacher certification in Missouri.

Complete an Educational Program for Teachers
Pass Missouri Gateway Educator Tests
Apply for Certification
Renew Your Teaching Certification



Step 1. Complete an Educational Program for Teachers

Standard Programs

If you are considering becoming a Language Arts teacher in Missouri, you will first need to complete a *degree program that prepares you for the job. There are many options from colleges and universities around the state that tailor their programs to your goals. Many colleges have the requisite undergraduate degree in Language Arts for teaching junior high and high school. They also have elementary educational programs for teaching in the lower grades and pre-K through kindergarten programs.

A typical degree will be broken down into main categories and specify a certain number of units that must be accomplished in each. The general categories are:

  • General education
  • Core Language Arts courses
  • Electives
  • Pedagogy
  • Student Teaching

One of the most important parts of your education will be the teacher training (pedagogy). During these courses you will learn the methods and practices of teaching. You will gain knowledge that is relevant to your academic subject and learn theoretical concepts about teaching as well.

Once you have completed these courses, you will be required to student teach. Missouri is currently considering extending the mandatory student teaching portion to a yearlong intern session. Some believe that allowing teachers to work under a Master Teacher who will be there to guide them through their first year will create a greater atmosphere for teaching successfully over the long run. If the state decides to make this extension, it will also extend your time spent in college.

*Since the fall of 2013, all candidates entering Missouri educator preparation programs will need to complete the Missouri Educator Profile (MEP). You will also need to pass the MoGEA test— an assessment of basic skills exam — prior to being allowed into a teaching program.

Additional Routes For Current Degree Holders

Not everyone will seek a teaching career from the very start. There are some that will begin a career in one sector, only to later discover that they really want to teach. The question is, “Will I have to start all over?” Many degrees will have courses that satisfy some or all of the requirements for teaching. If that is the case, the only thing left to complete is the teacher training.

This kind of teacher preparation program in Missouri allows for the fact that you may need to work immediately. If that is the case, some schools may have emergency or hardship waivers that allow you to teach and go to school. Typically the teaching portion may count towards your student teaching. You will be granted a two-year provisional certificate during this time. The program will typically be thirty semester hours.

Another possible route — if you hold a bachelor’s degree — is participating in the American Board’s program. They will offer a specific test and if you pass, you will be eligible for certification.  Missouri schools accept certification from ABCTE only for teachers in middle school or high school English and Language Arts. If you plan on teaching in the lower grades you will choose a different route.

One final possibility is for candidates who hold a doctorate in English. If this describes you, you may be eligible for certification after you pass the state exams (see next section). No further schooling will be required.

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Step 2. Pass Missouri Gateway Educator Tests

You are now ready to take the next step towards your teaching certificate. Every teaching candidate must pass a certain set of state exams. The Missouri Certification Fields and Content Assessments will be required for all teachers and is broken down in the following manner:

  • Elementary Education- take the Elementary Education Multi-Content test as well as subtest 007 Elementary Education: English Language Arts.
  • Middle School Education- take test 011 Middle School Language Arts.
  • High School Education-take test 020 High School English
  • Temporary Authorization Certificate Candidate- must pass The DESE-designated content test and 062 Professional Knowledge: Middle School or test 063 – Professional Knowledge: Secondary School.

When you have determined which test(s) is appropriate for you, the next step is to take advantage of the practice material that’s available to you online. Making use of the practice material will give you a better chance at doing well on the actual exams.

When you feel you are ready to take the test(s) you will need to create an online account and register for your testing date.



Step 3. Apply for Certification

Once you have all your education and testing completed you are ready to move on to the final step in teacher certification. Here are the basic steps to take in order to apply for your teaching certificate in Missouri:

  • Register online and create a username and password.
  • Connect your account to the Application System.
  • Choose-Educator Certification System and Request Educator Access once you have logged in.
  • Select the Initial Certification in order to apply for your first certificate.
  • Complete the application.
  • Get fingerprint set and DOJ background check



Step 4. Renew Your Teaching Certification

The state of Missouri sees the cooperation of teachers, administrators, and board members as paramount to the success of education. They believe that everyone should be committed to improving instruction. This will allow students to perform at their best. Because of this, it is required that all Missouri teachers continue their education in order to learn all the new practices in teaching and methods that develop as the years go by.

During your first two years teaching at a Missouri school you will need to have a mentor oversee your work and complete a Professional Development Plan. Once you have completed these steps, you will be eligible to renew your certificate.

For a comprehensive understanding of Missouri’s renewal policies, refer to the Missouri Department of Education Guidelines.



Missouri English Teacher Salaries

When looking at Missouri teacher salaries the focus is often on comparing salary schedules of Missouri school districts using only two factors: education and time on the job. Most Missouri salary schedules will pay teacher salary increases based on the number of years of teaching as well as allowing for additional steps for highly educated teachers.

In recent years performance is also beginning to be discussed and other factors can already impact what a teacher may expect as their annual compensation. Regardless of the variables, the state requires that all districts pay teachers with an undergraduate degree a minimum salary of $25,000 a year and a teacher with a master’s degree, plus ten years of teaching experience, a minimum of $33,000 annually. These numbers are not the norm however.

For instance, an English teacher in the Kansas City, Missouri schools will earn the following in their first year of teaching:

Kansas City

  • BA – $37,376
  • MA – $37,376

The spread is not very significant between the English teacher with the BA or the MA in Kansas City until year five. The salary difference then goes over $3,000. By year fifteen the spread is $6,000 dollars.

As mentioned before time and education are not the only considerations. The English teacher in Kansas City schools could also teach yearbook and earn an additional $2,200 a year. He could teach Journalism and create the school’s newspaper adding another $2,200.

In 2014 the Mehlville School District discussed how they might implement merit pay for their teachers. While they have had this discussion in the past, they are once again revisiting the idea. The current salaries for the English teacher mentioned above are:


  • BA-$36,059
  • MA-$38,948

To see more salary information from other cities and counties around Missouri, see the chart below:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Columbia MO
Springfield MO
Estimate Not Released
Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area
North Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released

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