Requirements for Early Childhood Education Jobs in Missouri

The projected job outlook for preschool teachers in Missouri during the ten-year period between 2012 and 2022 is strong, at nine percent. The average salary among Missouri’s early childhood educators was $27,800 as of 2013. Early childhood education jobs are concentrated in St. Louis and Kansas City; however, the highest paying preschool teacher jobs were found in Missouri’s northern nonmetropolitan area where the average salary was $36,010.

Review the steps in this guide to learn how to become a licensed preschool teacher through the Missouri Board of Education:

Earn a Relevant Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program
Complete Required Exams and Teacher Performance Assessments
Apply for Early Childhood Educator Certification
Complete CPE Requirements for License Renewal



Step 1. Earn a Relevant Degree and Complete a Teacher Prep Program

A bachelor’s degree in early childhood education is required for early childhood educator licensure in Missouri. This certification will allow you to work in a public or private school setting with young learners from birth to grade three.

The Missouri Board of Education offers a list of schools with approved programs that include the requisite 60 semester hours of coursework in early childhood education.

Early childhood education programs include pedagogy courses and student teaching rotations, during which time you will participate in supervised teaching experiences.

Early Education program courses include:

  • Behavior Management
  • Educational Psychology
  • Introduction to Education
  • Childhood Assessment
  • Emerging Literacy
  • Elementary Math

The state of Missouri requires you to pass several tests during the teacher education program to establish basic competencies and to qualify for certification. These tests are generally taken at school, throughout the course of the program, rather than solely after graduation. Some of these tests are taken on admission, some later on during the program, and some upon completion of the program. All of them must be passed in order to qualify for early educator certification in Missouri.

You must also receive a recommendation from the designated official for teacher education at your college or university upon graduation in order to be licensed.

Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA)

You must pass this test before you can be admitted to a state professional education program. It tests understanding of subjects such as English, writing, math, science and social science. This new test replaces the College BASE (CBASE) test. The MoGEA is an internet-based assessment with four multiple-choice subtests and one writing assignment. You must pass all five subtests.

Your educator preparation program will set the passing score for these tests. The tests may be scheduled at Pearson Vue test centers in many cities in Missouri, and nationwide. There is a $49 test fee for all subtests, or a $25 fee for a single subtest. You can register to take the test here.



Step 2. Complete Required Exams and Teacher Performance Assessments

There are a number of assessments that the state requires teachers to take:

Missouri Educator Profile (MEP) – You are required to complete this test on entry into a Missouri educator program. This is an assessment of your work style as compared to that of a successful teacher, and is the basis for a consultation with your counselor before program admission.

This is not a test in the traditional sense; there is no grade. The results of this assessment will not affect your admission to college.

The test is Internet-based, so you can take it anytime. There is a test fee of $22 for the MEP. Register for the MEP here.

Paraprofessional Test – If you have fewer than 60 semester hours, and if you want to work as a paraprofessional in Special Education, or in a Title I setting in Missouri, you must pass the Paraprofessional test. The test assesses your knowledge of English language and basic math skills.

This is an Internet based test, available at test centers in many cities in Missouri. Tests are by appointment and there is a test fee of $35. You can register for the test here.

Missouri Content Assessment – In order to attain certification, you will have to pass the appropriate Missouri Content Assessment – the Early Childhood Education Content Assessment. As of September 2014, the Missouri Content Assessment replaces the Praxis II series for Missouri educator certification candidates.

This is a computer-based test made up of 100 multiple-choice questions. It is administered by appointment at Pearson Vue centers across Missouri and nationwide. Passing scores are to be set by the Missouri State Board of Education. There is a $77 fee for this exam. You can schedule the exam here.

You may also purchase practice tests online. There is a fee of $29.95 for each practice test.



Step 3. Apply for Early Childhood Educator Certification

When you have successfully completed an approved, 4-year Early Education teacher preparation baccalaureate program from an accredited university, and have passed the applicable state certification tests, you are eligible to be licensed as a teacher in Missouri and receive an initial professional certificate.

You must complete an online initial application and submit it to your school. Your school will add required documentation and forward it to the state for processing.

You must also obtain a background clearance from the state, which consists of a criminal background check and fingerprints. You must pre-register online through the State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Automated Criminal History Site (MACHS.)

Your initial license is valid for four years.



Step 4. Complete CPE Requirements for License Renewal

After four years as a teacher in Missouri, you can earn a Continuous Career Education Certificate (CCEC). The CCEC is valid in Missouri for 99 years. To earn the CCEC, you must:

  • Complete four years of Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) approved teaching experience. This includes at least half-time, contracted employment in Missouri’s public schools or in accredited nonpublic schools. Substitute teaching or serving as a teacher’s aide or assistant will NOT count.
  • Be part of a district-provided mentoring program for two years. Your school will assign a teacher to be your mentor.
  • Successfully complete 30 contact hours of professional development.  This may include college credits.
  • Participate in a beginning teacher assistance program offered by a Missouri college, Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC), or professional teacher organization such as MNEA or MSTA.
  • Successfully participate in your employing school’s annual Performance Based Teacher Evaluation process.
  • Develop and implement a professional development plan that is on file with the district.

Missouri Preschool Teacher Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for preschool teachers across the country will grow by 17% between 2012 and 2022. While not the highest employer of preschool teachers, Missouri was home to around 6,000 in 2013. Preschool teachers are an integral part of helping children develop different approaches to learning, social and emotional control, language skills, and many other core knowledge bases that will become indispensable during their school years.

The average salary for preschool teachers in Missouri can vary greatly, depending on the geographical area of employment. The lowest average salary, $19,910, was in Missouri’s Cape Girardeau-Jackson area, while the highest average salary, $36,010, was found in North Missouri’s nonmetropolitan area.

The average salary for preschool teachers, in the whole state, in 2013 was $27,800, which was higher than the national average for early childhood educators.

Early childhood educators will have the opportunity to increase their salaries as they accumulate experience, and many may choose to pursue higher education, which would also increase salary. Every full time teacher in Missouri must hold at least a bachelor’s degree, so further education would require working on a master’s degree or higher.

Those interested in learning more about the salary statistics for preschool teachers in Missouri can find information on this table, compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013):

Area name
Annual mean wage(2)
Cape Girardeau-Jackson MO-IL
Columbia MO
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers AR-MO
Jefferson City MO
Estimate not released
Joplin MO
Kansas City MO-KS
St. Joseph MO-KS
St. Louis MO-IL
Springfield MO
Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area
North Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Southwest Missouri nonmetropolitan area

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