Missouri State University

Secondary (9-12) or (K-12) Education

Students who are interested in working as a teacher in a public or accredited private school in grades 9-12 or K-12 for Art, Music, Physical Education and Birth - Grade 12 for Family and Consumer Sciences should consider Secondary Education Certification. Secondary Education teachers must choose a content area to teach, and can only teach in their content area. Students with a bachelor's degree in a field closely related to an area of Secondary Education who wish to teach in a High School setting would choose this program.

Students choosing Secondary Education certification may also add Middle School (grades 5-9) in the same content area.  Post-bac students may add middle school by completing an additional 12 credit hours of middle school coursework, and Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) students may add middle school for only 3 additional hours. For those with a related degree, it is typically  faster to complete both Secondary and Middle School certification than to pursue the Middle School.

Currently Missouri State has several options for certification in Secondary Education.  Applicants are encouraged to review ALL options below before selecting a program.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program

The Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is an "Alternative Certification Program" as defined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) which allows students to obtain their teaching certificate AND a Master's Degree in the same program. This program was originally designed to enable people considering a mid-life career change to pursue certification in an area of Secondary Education similar to their undergraduate degree program and/or work experience. 

This program has now also been expanded to include students who have recently graduated with a Bachelor's Degree, but have decided to pursue teaching as a career. Students should have a minimum of two (2) years of work experience in their field before being considered for admission to the MAT program. For these students without significant work experience in their field, additional content and teaching methodology coursework may be required. 

Since the MAT program is an "Accelerated" or "Alternative" route to certification, as defined by DESE, it is strictly sequenced and cannot be completed one course at a time while working full-time outside the field of education. However, this program WAS designed for those who desire to teach full-time in the high school setting on a Provisional Certificate while pursuing certification.

This program is currently offered at Missouri State University in Springfield, on the Missouri Southern campus in Joplin, and at Missouri State - West Plains.  All programs are classroom-based, so students are required to attend classes on that campus. However, Joplin and West Plains students can complete their entire program (including content coursework) without ever coming to the Springfield campus. (Because West Plains is a Community College campus, any required 300 level or above content coursework will need to be taken at a 4 year institution.  See your advisor for options.)

Since the MAT program has a competitive admissions policy and can only admit a certain number of students each summer, the following criteria are considered when selecting students for this program:

  • Those pursuing Secondary Education or K-12 certification (currently not available in Physical Education, Agriculture, or Technology Education)
  • Those with a Bachelor's Degree in an area closely related to the area they wish to teach and have significant work experience in their field. 
  • Those with an Overall Cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 and a content area (the area you will be teaching) GPA of at least 2.50 (2.75 for Social Studies).
  • Those who are interested in teaching in high need areas (preference is given to candidates pursuing math, science and foreign languages, but candidates in all certification areas are considered).

For more information on the Master of Arts in Teaching program, including coursework required and the application process, please visit the Master of Arts in Teaching website.

Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification

The post baccalaureate (post-bac)  teacher certification program at Missouri State University allows candidates with a 2.50 (2.75 for social studies) minimum GPA and a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university to pursue certification at the undergraduate, non-degree seeking level. This program offers a flexible schedule, and most courses are offered both during the day and in the evening. Please review the Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certification admission criteria.

Students can work at their own pace, attending classes part time or full time.  Post-bac students complete the same courses as our undergraduate BSED majors, but the certification program may be streamlined to allow post bac students to complete the program in the shortest time possible. The average amount of time to complete a post-bac certification program if the student attends full time is 1 1/2 years. Students seeking this option are not eligible for PELL grants (not available after the initial bachelor's degree) but may be eligible for student loans as a teacher certification student.

Who would choose the Post-Bac route to certification?

  • Students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 2.75 for admission to the Master's level  program
  • Students who cannot take evening courses in the MAT program
  • Students who do not feel ready to complete a Master's Degree program, already have a master's degree in another field or are also interested in eventually pursuing Education Administration or School Counseling and therefore would need a different master's degree.

What courses will I need to take? For a list of courses required for certification in Secondary Edcuation at the post-bac level, you can view the appropriate Academic Program Guide for the area of certification you wish to pursue .

How do you apply for the post-bac program? Getting started couldn't be easier!  Just go to our Application Process website and follow the detailed instructions on that page.

Post-Bac, Teacher Certification combined with Content area Master's Degree

Students may choose to pursue the post-bac, teacher certification program concurrently with a Master's degree (MA, MS, MNAS) in their content area. Because these programs combine two distinct programs into one certification/master's option, the program is tailored to meet the individual needs of each student. Therefore, no program guides are available. Students interested in this option would be required to complete all post-bac, teacher certification requirements, but may be allowed to complete some of that coursework at the graduate level and then apply those courses toward the master's degree. While this option will require more coursework than the MAT degree program, this option may be appropriate for individuals who want to earn a degree that will allow them to work either in education or in their content area. 
 
For more information regarding this option, prospective students would need to meet with two different departments:
  1. The Teacher Certification Office:  An advisor in this office will evaluate your transcripts and determine the coursework required for certification in the content area of your choice.
  2. The Department of your Content Area:  If you are interested in this option, your advisor in the Teacher Certification Office will then refer you to the appropriate graduate advisor in your content area. You will then take that analysis to the graduate advisor and discuss the possibility of combining certification and a Master's degree in your content field. 

Students who choose this option would have two distinct programs of study - one for the certification, and one for the Master's degree. However, select courses may count toward requirements in both programs. 

Second Bachelor's Degree (BSED, BME) seeking Students

Students may choose to pursue a second bachelor's degree. Individuals pursuing this option would apply to the Admissions Office as an undergraduate, degree-seeking student and would choose the degree program that corresponds to the area of certification they wish to pursue. All prior coursework from other institutions would be transferred to Missouri State and evaluated for equivalency by the Admissions Office, and the student would then be admitted to a degree program. Upon completion, the student would be issued a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSED or BME) degree and would be recommended for certification.
 
Because this is a degree-seeking option, all transfer coursework must be determined "equivalent" to a Missouri State course in order to count toward the degree. Therefore, this option may include additional coursework not required in the post-bac teacher certification program. Therefore, students interested in this option should compare this option to the post-bac option in order to make an informed decision. This option does not make a student eligible for Pell Grants (not available after the first bachelor's degree), but students seeking this option may be eligible for the TEACH grant or student loans.