To become a licensed preschool teacher in Mississippi and work in the State’s public schools, you must complete the following steps:
|Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program or Higher in Child Development|
|Complete the Required Praxis Examinations|
|Apply for a Five-Year Educator’s License|
|Renew your Educator License and Participate in Continuing Education|
The Mississippi Office of Curriculum and Instruction helps school districts improve the readiness and reading achievement of Mississippi students from preschool through 12th grade. The Office of Curriculum and Instruction provides guidance to local districts regarding teacher requirements and coordinates the adoption of early childhood materials.
Mississippi’s Early Learning Collaborative, with councils for each district, oversees the State’s voluntary Pre-K Programs in each county. Lead partners of the Collaborative are public school districts or non-profit establishments with the operational capacity and expertise needed to manage pre-k programs. Each collaborative must include a school district and/or a Head Start affiliate.
Only teachers working in public schools are required to achieve licensure through the Mississippi Department of Education. However, teachers in private pre-k programs must possess, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related area.
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree Program or Higher in Child Development
Educator licenses in Mississippi and the associated degree requirements are organized as follows:
- Class A: Bachelor’s license
- Class AA: Master’s license
- Class AAA: Specialist license
- Class AAAA: Doctorate license
A teacher’s license in child development, which is defined in Mississippi as pre-k through grade 5, is considered a Special License. Requirements for licensure as a child development educator vary according to the type of license being sought:
Class A License
To qualify for a Class A license in Mississippi, you must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher with a child development emphasis from a regionally/nationally accredited institution of higher learning and with official verification of program accreditation by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences or the National Association for Education of Young Children.
There are 4 programs accredited by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in Mississippi.
Class AA License
To qualify for a Class AA license in Mississippi, you must meet the requirements for a Class A license in child development and possess a master’s degree in child development or possess a Master in Education degree.
Class AAA License
To qualify for a Class AAA license in Mississippi, you must meet the requirements for a Class A license in child development and possess a specialist degree in child development or a Master of Education degree.
Class AAAA License
To qualify for a Class AAAA license in Mississippi, you must meet the requirements for a Class A license in child development and possess a doctoral degree in child development or a Doctor of Education degree.
Step 2. Complete the Required Praxis Examinations
To become a licensed preschool teacher in Mississippi, upon completion of the required education in child development, you must take and pass the following Praxis examinations:
- Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching for Early Childhood (5621)
- Praxis II: Education of Young Children (5024)
The content categories of both examinations include:
- Childhood development and learning: 17 percent
- Observation, documentation, and assessment: 13 percent
- Developmentally appropriate practices: 13 percent
- Professionalism, family, and community: 13 percent
- Content pedagogy and knowledge: 24 percent
- Knowledge of teaching: 20 percent
All Praxis examinations are administered by ETS, who provides computer-based tests through its testing centers throughout Mississippi:
- Prometric Testing Center in River Oaks Drive in Flowood
- University Testing Center, University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg
- Webb Hall, Meridian Community College in Meridian
- Rice Hall, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State
- F. Yerby Conference Center, University of Mississippi, Oxford
- Hinds Community College, Hinds Boulevard, Raymond
- Prometric Testing Center, Spicer Drive, Tupelo
You can learn more about registering, scheduling, and taking the Praxis examinations here.
Step 3. Apply for a Five-Year Educator’s License
Once you have determined you meet the requirements of one of the above-described licenses, you may apply for an educator license by downloading a Licensure Application Packet or applying online through the Mississippi’s Educator Licensure Management System (ELMS).
Once you have completed the application and collected all required documentation, you must mail the complete packet to:
Mississippi Department of Education
Office of Educator Licensure
P.O. Box 771
Jackson, MS 39205
Step 4. Renew your Educator License and Participate in Continuing Education
To renew your five-year educator’s license, you must complete the following:
Class A License:
- Complete at least 10 continuing education units (CEUs) in child development or a job-skill related area
- Complete at least 3 semester hours in child development and 5 CEUs in child development
- Complete at least 6 semester hours in child development
Class AA License/Class AAA License/Class AAAA License:
- Complete at least 3 semester hours in child development or a job-skill related area
- Complete at least 5 CEUs in child development
Early childhood educators often opt to pursue graduate work in the area of early childhood education and special education. Not only do specialized master’s in education (M.Ed. M.A.Ed., M.S.Ed., M.S.E., or M.Ed.L) satisfy requirements for higher levels of licensure, they also assure a higher salary and confer the level of mastery in the field needed to serve in administration.
Mississippi Preschool Teacher Salaries
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security expects an 8.3% statewide job growth rate in the field of early childhood education in the ten-year period leading up to 2020. Growth is projected to be even higher in these metropolitan areas:
Pascagoula – 4%
Hattiesburg – 6%
Gulfport-Biloxi – 8%
The 2014 average preschool teacher salary in Mississippi was $25,960. Experienced preschool teachers earned $32,760 a year on average while those entering the workforce averaged $16,940.
Salaries were higher in the Jackson area where the average salary was $27,700. Preschool teachers with experience averaged $32,760 a year, while entry-level salaries in Jackson averaged $17,570.
In 2014, 2,560 preschool teachers were licensed in Mississippi. A 2010 labor market analysis showed that most of Mississippi’s preschool teachers work outside of the major metropolitan areas. Only 39% of the state’s preschool teachers worked in one of these cities:
Jackson – 8%
Gulfport-Biloxi – 8%
Hattiesburg – 5%
Pascagoula – 1%
The Mississippi Department of Education emphasizes the benefits of preschool education. Its Office of Curriculum and Instruction proposed Early Learning Standards for three and four year olds. They are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and set additional goals in developmental areas such as physical, social, and emotional.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a detailed breakdown of 2013 Mississippi preschool teacher salaries in the table below: