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Get Certified to Teach
Here's what you need to know about resources, state laws and best practices for getting certified to teach in Kansas or Missouri.
Get Certified to Teach
Here's what you need to know about resources, state laws and best practices for getting certified to teach in Kansas or Missouri.

Where do you want to get certified?

We’ve sorted through all the resources, state laws, and best practices—this guide is your one-stop-shop for getting certified to teach in Kansas or Missouri. You’ve got this. 

We’ll cover:

  • Types of certification areas and requirements for teaching certain grades and subjects.
  • Preparation pathways you can choose from to get certified.

Note: Here at TEACH.org, we do our best to keep all information updated, but because certification requirements are regularly reviewed and revised, it is best to confirm requirements with your teacher preparation program and the Kansas Department of Education or the Missouri Department of Education before you apply.

To get started, choose your state.

  • Kansas

  • Missouri

Get Certified to Teach in Kansas

Which statement fits you best?

In Kansas, teachers are awarded certification that allows them to teach a specific set of grades and subjects.

If you know the grade and subject matter you’d like to teach, the next step is to identify your certification area.  Each certification area requires its own set of exams, and when it’s time to apply to a teacher preparation program, you can make sure your desired certification area is available.

  • You Already Know What Subject/Grade You Want to Teach

    If you know the grade and subject matter you’d like to teach, the next step is to identify your certification area.  Each certification area requires its own set of exams, and when it’s time to apply to a teacher preparation program, you can make sure your desired certification area is available.

  • You’re Open To Teaching Different Grades and Subjects

    If you’re open to teaching different  grades and subjects, you may want to consider a state-designated shortage area or a school that serves students from a low-income community, where the need for teachers is greatest. According to the Kansas Department of Education, high needs subjects for  the 2017-2018 school year were: 

    • Special Education (PKK–12)
    • Gifted
    • Hearing Impaired
    • Mental Retardation
    • Speech/Language
    • Visually Impaired
       

Choosing a Certification Area

Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select a certification area. (Check out the list below). 

In some cases, you may have multiple options to choose from. In Kansas for example, if you want to teach fifth or sixth grade, you’ll have to decide between two possible certificates—one that allows you to teach all subjects in K-6, and another that allows you to teach specific subjects in grades 5-8.

In Kansas, certification of new teachers involves getting a “license” and one or more “endorsements” on that license. The license defines the grade levels you are certified to teach, and the endorsements define the subjects and/or specialty areas (e.g., special education, english language learners, etc.) that you can teach.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to get all your certifications at once. At any time during your teaching career, you can take tests and/or coursework to add additional endorsements to your license to teach additional subjects or specialty areas. Some endorsements can be obtained by passing a content test, while others require additional coursework.

  • Core-subjects or generalist certification areas that allow you to teach multiple subjects

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    License area Endorsement area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Birth to Kindergarten Early Childhood Education* All curriculum from birth to Kindergarten for general education students
    Birth to Grade 3 All curriculum from birth to grade 3 for general education students
    Grades K-6 Elementary Education* Any of the following subjects from grades K-6 for general education students:

    • Arts
    • English language arts / reading
    • Mathematics
    • Physical education
    • Science
    • Social studies
    • Health/ movement/ physical activity

    Note: Early Childhood Education Unified and Elementary Education Unified endorsement areas that allow you to teach all students ( including Special Education) are also available. These certifications are covered in the Academic Specialty table further below.

  • Single subject certification areas - core subjects

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    Subject area License area Endorsement area What grades/subjects you can teach
    English Language Arts and Reading Grades 5-8 English Language Arts All English language courses in grades 5-8.
    Grades 6-12 All ELA/reading courses in grades 6-12, except journalism and speech.
    Journalism All journalism courses in grades 6-12.
    Speech & Theater All speech courses in grades 6-12.
    Social Studies Grades 5-8 History, Government, and Social Studies All history, government, and social studies courses in grades 5-8.
    Grades 6-12 All history, government, and social studies courses in grades 6-12.
    Mathematics and Science Grades 5-8 Mathematics All mathematics courses in grades 5-8.
    Grades 6-12 All mathematics courses in grades 6-12.
    Grades 5-8 Science All science courses in grades 5-8.
    Grades 6-12 Biology All biology courses in grades 6-12.
    Chemistry All chemistry courses in grades 6-12.
    Earth and Space Science All earth and space science courses in grades 6-12.
    Physics All physics courses in grades 6-12.
  • Single subject certification areas - enrichment subjects

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    Subject area License area Endorsement area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Fine Arts Grades PK-12 Art All art curriculum in grades PK-12.
    Music: General All music curriculum in grades PK-12.
    Music: Instrumental and Vocal All music curriculum in grades PK-12.
    Grades 6-12 Dance All dance course in grades 6-12.
    Health Grades PK-12 Health All health curriculum in grades PK-12.
    World Languages Grades PK-12 Chinese All courses in certified language in grades PK-12.
    French
    German
    Latin
    Spanish
    Physical Education Grades PK-12 Physical Education All physical education curriculum in grades PK-12
    Psychology Grades 6-12 Psychology All psychology courses in grades 6-12
  • Academic specialty certification areas

    In Kansas, a Unified endorsement area is available for licenses in Early Childhood and Elementary education. It allows a certified teacher to teach both general education students and special needs students (e.g. Special Education, gifted, English as a second language). This is similar to special education certifications in other states.
     

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    Subject area License area Endorsement area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Gifted Education Grades K-6 Gifted All general education and gifted education students in your license area.
    Note: This endorsement must be earned with a general education license.
    Grades 5-8
    Grades 6-12
    Grades PK-12
    Special Education Grades K-6 Elementary Education Unified Any of the following subjects from Kindergarten to sixth grade for students with or without special needs:

    • Arts
    • English language arts / reading
    • Mathematics
    • Physical education
    • Science
    • Social studies
    • Health/ movement/ physical activity
    Grades 6-12 Secondary Education Unified
    • Working with sixth through twelfth grade students with special needs.
    • Support for English language arts and mathematics courses in grades 6-12.
    Birth to Grade 3 Visually Impaired All visually impaired students in the grades of the license area.
    Note: This endorsement must be earned with a general education license.
    Grades PK-12
    Birth to Grade 3 Deaf & Hard of Hearing All deaf and hard of hearing students in the grades of the license area.
    Note: This endorsement must be earned with a general education license.
    Grades PK-12
    Grades K-6 Low Incidence Special Education (Functional Special Education) All students in the grades of the license area who have learning problems and needs in the profound to severe range.
    Note: This endorsement must be earned with a general education license.
    Grades 5-8
    Grades 6-12
    Grades PK-12
    Grades K-6 High Incidence Special Education (Adaptive Special Education) All students in the grades of the license area who have learning problems and needs in the mild to moderate range.
    Note: This endorsement must be earned with a general education license.
    Grades 5-8
    Grades 6-12
    Grades PK-12
    English Language Learners Grades K-6 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) All students in the grades of the license area who are ESOL students.
    Note: This endorsement must be earned with a general education license.
    Grades 5-8
    Grades 6-12
    Grades PK-12
  • Career and technical education certification areas

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    License area Endorsement area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Grades 6-12 Agriculture All agricultural science courses in grades 6-12.
    Business Education All business courses in grades 6-12.
    Communication Technology All communication technology courses in grades 6-12.
    Family and Consumer Sciences All family and consumer sciences courses in grades 6-12.
    Power, Energy, and Transportation Technology All power, energy and transportation technology courses in grades 6-12.
    Production Technology All production technology courses in grades 6-12.
    Technology Education All technology education courses in grades 6-12.
    Includes coursework on communication technology; power, energy, transportation technology; and production technology.

Kansas teacher certification requirements

  1. Gain admission into an accredited university and earn a bachelor’s degree.

    Kansas accepts degrees from a large number of universities, but you should confirm that they have been accredited by one of the Kansas-approved accreditation agencies. Note: If you have a bachelor’s degree from outside of the United States, it is possible to meet this requirement  if the educator preparation program you apply to deems your degree from a foreign credential evaluation service equivalent to an accredited program.

  2. Gain admission into and graduate from an approved Kansas educator preparation program

    You can meet this requirement either as part of your undergraduate coursework (e.g. by earning a BA in Education) or by applying to and graduating from a post-baccalaureate educator preparation program after earning your BA degree. See Pathways below, or select your program now with the Kansas City Program Explorer.

  3. Pass Praxis exams

    You’ll have to pass one or more exams that evaluate your knowledge of teaching and the subject area(s) you wish to teach. 

    • You must take the initial Principles of Learning and Teaching exam for your grade level, and specific content exams based on the subject area you wish to teach.The Principles of Learning and Teaching exam will measure your knowledge and understanding of educational practices and pedagogy, such as  human development, learning processes, instructional processes, diverse learners, educational psychology and professional issues. Principles of Learning and Teaching exam costs $146.
    • You may also need to take one or more subject competency exams. The subject competency exam measures your competency in a specific subject area. To learn more about what tests you need to take, refer to this Kansas Praxis test requirements. Content Knowledge exams typically cost about $120.
  4. Complete fingerprinting card for a criminal background check.

    You are required to complete a fingerprint check for $50. You must submit the fingerprinting card before applying for your state licensure or you will be fined. KSDE provides details and instructions for completing the fingerprinting card on their website. 
     

  5. Submit a state application.

    After you meet the requirements above, it’s time for you to formally apply for your teaching certificate. First confirm with your educator preparation program that you are eligible to apply and use any support they can provide in the process. 

Pathways to Kansas teacher certification

Besides deciding what subject and grade levels you want to teach, the biggest decision you’ll have to make is around the pathway you pursue to get trained. Each pathway has its own pros and cons, so you will have to decide which one is the best fit for you, but we’ve put together an initial summary to help you understand your options and take the first step. In Kansas, we’ve identified three major pathways to become a newly certified teacher:
  • Reduces total cost and time to complete your educator preparation program. 
  • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
  • One of the most established and common pathways of new teachers in Kansas.
  • Undergraduate certification (+bachelor’s)
    • Reduces total cost and time to complete your educator preparation program. 
    • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
    • One of the most established and common pathways of new teachers in Kansas.
  • Post-graduate, traditional certification
    • Gain even greater knowledge of your content and/or practice teaching before entering the classroom.
    • Allows you to choose between a shorter “certification-only” route or a more in-depth Master’s degree route. You can also choose whether you want to be a full-time or part-time student, as well as when you enroll.
    • Start teaching with a higher salary (if you earn a master’s degree).
  • Post-graduate, alternative certification

    Often allows you to start teaching (and earning a salary) as an intern on a restricted teaching license for two years while you finish your post-graduate coursework.

Get Certified to Teach in Missouri

Which statement fits you best?

In Missouri, teachers are awarded certification that allows them to teach a specific set of grades and subjects.

If you know the grade and subject matter  you’d like to teach, the next step is to identify your  certification area.  Each certification area requires its own set of exams, and when it’s time to apply to a teacher preparation program, you can make sure your desired certification area is available.

  • You Already Know What Subject/Grade You Want to Teach

    If you know the grade and subject matter  you’d like to teach, the next step is to identify your  certification area.  Each certification area requires its own set of exams, and when it’s time to apply to a teacher preparation program, you can make sure your desired certification area is available.

  • You’re Open To Teaching Different Grades and Subjects

    If you’re open to teaching different  grades and subjects, you may want to consider a state-designated shortage area, or a school that serves students from a low-income community, where the need for teachers is greatest. According to the Missouri Department of Education, for the 2019-20 school year, the highest needs subjects are: 

    • Elementary education
    • Mild/Moderate: Cross Categorical
    • Early Childhood Special Education
    • Early Childhood Education
    • General Science
    • Math
    • English/Language Arts
    • Family and Consumer Science
    • Physical Education
    • Social Sciences

Choosing a Certification Area

Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select a certification area. (Check out the list below)., 

In some cases, you may have multiple options to choose from. In Missouri for example, if you want to teach fifth or sixth grade, you’ll have to decide between two possible certificates—one that allows you to teach all core subjects in 1-6, and another that allows you to teach specific subjects in grades 5-9.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to get all your certifications at once. At any time during your teaching career, you can take tests and/or coursework to add additional endorsements to your license to teach additional subjects or specialty areas. Some endorsements can be obtained by passing a content test, while others require additional coursework.

  • Core-Subjects or Generalist certification areas that allow you to teach multiple subjects

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    Certification Area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Early Childhood Education: Birth to Grade 3 Early childhood education
    Core Subjects: Grades 1-6 Any of the following subjects from 1st to 6th grade students:

    • English language arts / reading
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social studies
  • Single subject certification areas - core subjects

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    Subject Area Certification Area What grades/subjects you can teach
    English Language Arts and Reading English Language Arts / Reading (5-9) All English language arts courses in grades 5-9
    English Language Arts and Reading (9-12) All ELA / reading courses in grades 9-12, except journalism and speech
    Journalism (9-12) All Journalism courses in grades 9-12
    Speech & Theater (9-12) All Speech courses in grades 9-12
    Social Studies Social Studies (5-9) All social studies courses in grades 5-9
    Social Studies (9-12) All social studies courses in grades 9-12
    Including competency in US history, world history, economics, geography, political science, and behavioral sciences
    Mathematics and Science Chemistry (9-12) (5-9) All chemistry courses in grades 9-12
    Mathematics (5-9) All mathematics courses in grades 5-9
    Mathematics (9-12) All mathematics courses in grades 9-12
    Science (5-9) All science courses in grades 5-9
    Physics (9-12) All physics courses in grades 9-12
    Earth Science (9-12) All earth science courses in grades 9-12
    General Science (9-12) All general science courses in grades 9-12
    Unified Science Biology (9-12) All biology courses in grades 9-12, as well as introductory courses in earth science, physics, and chemistry
    Chemistry (9-12) All chemistry courses in grades 9-12, as well as introductory courses in earth science, biology, and physics
    Earth Science (9-12) All earth science courses in grades 9-12, as well as introductory courses in physics, biology, and chemistry
    Physics (9-12) All physics courses in grades 9-12, as well as introductory courses in general science, biology, and chemistry
  • Single subject certification areas - enrichment subjects

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    Subject Area Certification Area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Fine Arts Art (K-12) All art curriculum from grades K-12
    Dance (6-12) All dance courses in grades 6-12
    Music: Instrumental and Vocal (K-12) All music curriculum in grades K-12
    Theater (EC-12) All theatre curriculum in grades PK-12
    Musical theatre in grades 9-12
    Health Health (K-12) All health curriculum from grades K-12
    Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Junior ROTC (6-12) All Junior ROTC courses in grades 6-12
    Note: An instructor certificate issued by a military branch is also required
    World Languages Chinese (EC-12) All courses in certified language from grades K-12
    French (EC-12)
    German (EC-12)
    Spanish (EC-12)
    Physical Education Physical Education (K-12) All physical education curriculum from grades K-12
  • Academic specialty certification areas

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    Subject Area Certification Area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Special Education Blind & Low Vision (Birth-Grade 12) Blind and low vision education curriculum from birth through grade 12
    Deaf & Hard of Hearing (Birth-Grade 12) Deaf and hard of hearing curriculum from birth through grade 12
    Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-Grade 3) Early childhood curriculum from birth through grade 3
    Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical Special Education (Grades K-12) Mild / moderate cross categorical special education curriculum from grades K-12
    Severely Developmentally Disabled (Birth- Grade 12) Severely developmentally disabled curriculum from birth through grade 12
    English Language Learning English Language Learners (Grades K-12) All ELL education curriculum from grades K-12
  • Career and Technical Education Certification Areas

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    Subject Area Certification Area What grades/subjects you can teach
    Career and Technical Education Agriculture (9-12) All agricultural science courses in grades 9-12
    Business (9-12) All business courses in grades 9-12
    Family and Consumer Sciences,(Birth-12) All family and consumer sciences courses from birth to grade 12
    Marketing (9-12) All marketing courses in grades 9-12
    Technology & Engineering (9-12) All science, technology and engineering courses in grades 9-12

Missouri teacher certification requirements

To become a teacher in Missouri:
  1. Gain admission into an accredited university and earn a bachelor’s degree.

    Missouri accepts degrees from a large number of universities, but you should confirm that they have been accredited by one of the Missouri-approved accreditation agenciesNote: If you have a bachelor's degree from outside of the United States, you will need to have your transcripts evaluated by a state-approved credential evaluation service to determine if your degree is equivalent.

    Required Testing for Undergraduate Programs: If you are planning to pursue your teacher certification while earning your bachelor’s degree, you must pass a core academic skills test—either the ACT or the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA)—in order to be admitted into a Missouri educator preparation program. 

    The ACT and MoGEA both measure your skills in the core academic subjects of reading, writing, science and math. Educator preparation programs set the required scores, which range from 20-22 on the ACT or 170-220 on each section of the MoGEA. Check with your program for specifics.

  2. Gain admission into and graduate from an approved Missouri educator preparation program

    You can meet this requirement either as part of your undergraduate coursework (e.g., earning a BA in Education) or by applying to and graduating from a post-baccalaureate educator preparation program after earning your BA degree. See Pathways below, or select your program now with the Kansas City Program Explorer.

  3. Pass Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA)

    This exam measures your competency in a specific subject area. Depending on the subjects you would like to be certified in, you may take multiple MoCA exams. For undergraduate educator preparation programs, the MoCA exams are taken halfway through your educator preparation program, prior to student teaching. 

    Some post-graduate programs require a passing score on the MoCA exams to apply, while others require a passing score after enrollment into the program. Before applying to a post-graduate program, make sure to check the MoCA requirements. See the Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments website for more information about the MoCA assessments.

  4. Submit a state application

    After you meet the requirements above, you can apply for your teaching certificate. Confirm with your educator preparation program that you are eligible to apply. See the Missouri Educator Certification Help Guide for instructions.

  5. Complete fingerprinting for a criminal background check

    While having a criminal history does not automatically disqualify you from being a teacher, you are required to complete a fingerprint check for $40.30. You must pre-register at the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS) for a fingerprint-based background check. See the background check registration process for more details.

Pathways to Missouri teacher certification

How you pursue training is up to you. We’ve identified five major pathways to certification in Missouri to help you understand your options and take the first step.
  • Reduces total cost and time to complete your educator preparation program. 
  • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
  • One of the most established and common pathways of new teachers in Missouri.
  • Undergraduate certification (+bachelor’s)
    • Reduces total cost and time to complete your educator preparation program. 
    • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
    • One of the most established and common pathways of new teachers in Missouri.
  • Post-graduate, traditional certification
    • Gain even greater knowledge of your content and/or practice teaching before entering the classroom.
    • Allows you to choose between a shorter “certification-only” route or a more in-depth master’s degree route. You can also choose whether you want to be a full-time or part-time student, as well as when you enroll.
    • Start teaching with a higher salary (if you earn a master’s degree).
  • Post-graduate, alternative certification, Provisional Certificate
    • Allows you to teach while taking teaching courses.
    • Good for individuals who have a bachelor’s in the content they want to teach, but need teaching education and experience.
    • Allows you to choose between distance learning programs, master’s degree plus certification, and certification-only programs.
  • Post-graduate, alternative certification, Temporary Authorization Certificate (TAC)

    For individuals with a bachelor’s degree looking to teach a specific subject to middle or high-school level students without having already completed a teacher preparation program.

    Note: To apply for a TAC, you must first be hired by a school district and recommended for this certificate from the district. Schools hiring through the TAC are often experiencing teacher shortages in specific subject areas (e.g., high school math). 

    You will then enroll in an educator preparation program that offers coursework for TAC holders. 

    You have two years to complete the coursework (at least 24 credit hours) and pass at least two exit examinations to earn an initial certificate.

  • Post-graduate, American Board of Certification for Teacher Excellence(ABCTE)

    You must complete a program of study from the American Board of Certification for Teacher Excellence and pass their specific test.

    Note: Missouri accepts certificates from ABCTE only in the areas of middle or high-school Mathematics, U.S./World History, English/Language Arts, Biology, Chemistry, General Science, Physics and Elementary Education.

Additional Resources

If you want to learn more, here are some additional resources you might find helpful:
  • Talk to a Teacher

    Schedule a 1-on-1 conversation with a current KC-area teacher to ask them questions about teaching, certification pathways and more.

  • Kansas State Department of Education

    Learn more about the different certification routes, and the different endorsements you can obtain from specific programs.

  • Missouri Department of Education

    Learn more about the different certification routes, and consult a complete list of Missouri-approved educator preparation programs.

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