Certification through ABCTE

On May 1, 2008, Governor Matt Blunt signed Senate Bill 1066, authorizing another form of alternative certification of teachers in Missouri.  The law took effect August 28, 2008.  It allows persons who hold a certificate from the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) to be eligible for a regular Missouri teaching certificate.

Quick facts about the ABCTE

Certification through ABCTE is not administered by ANY College or University in Missouri. The only way to pursue certification through the ABCTE is by going to their website. Missouri State University is providing the information below as a service to potential teachers but is not promoting nor participating in this program.

  • An Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) In Missouri can be obtained through the completion of the ABCTE Passport to Teaching program. No coursework at a college or university with a state-approved professional education program is required, and there are no GPA requirements. Candidates must simply meet the following requirements:
    • Hold a Bachelor’s Degree in any subject area from an “approved” college or university. The subject area does not need to be related to the area of certification. There are no GPA requirements, and ABCTE does not indicate whether or not the institution needs to be accredited.
    • Pass a Background Check. In Missouri, we would likely require an FBI background check.
    • Pass the ABCTE Professional Teaching Knowledge Exam
    • Pass the ABCTE subject area exam in the candidate’s chosen subject area
    • Complete 60 contact hours verified by the school principal in one of the following areas:
      • 60 contact hours in a public school or accredited nonpublic school classroom, of which at least 45 hours must be teaching
      • 60 contact hours as a substitute teacher in a public school setting or an accredited nonpublic setting with at least 30 consecutive hours in the same classroom
      • 60 contact hours as a paraprofessional
  • Certification through ABCTE can only be obtained in Missouri in the following content areas
    • Biology (9-12)
    • Chemistry (9-12)
    • Elementary (1-6)
    • English (9-12)
    • General Science (5-9)
    • Language Arts (5-9)
    • Mathematics (9-12)
    • Physics (9-12)
    • Social Science (9-12) - Must pass the US and World History Tests)
    • By law, ABCTE certificate-holders are NOT eligible for a regular Missouri license in the areas of Early Childhood Education or Special Education.

  • Certification to teach in State-Accredited Public Schools through ABCTE is only transferable to other states that accept the ABCTE for certification. As of May 1, 2008 only 8 states (including Missouri) accept this certification through ABCTE. To see which states accept the ABCTE, you need to go to the following website and look at each state individually. It does not appear that ABCTE produces a list of states currently accepting certification through their program. To check on other states, click here
  • ABCTE advertises that it offers a “passport to teach” in all states to teach in private and charter schools. In Missouri, this would include schools that do not require a Missouri Teaching Certificate. For example, ABCTE indicates that you can teach in a private, non-accredited setting in areas such as Elementary Education, Special Education Social Studies and Reading. It is important to note that those schools would be hiring you to teach WITHOUT a Missouri Teaching Certificate, and at no time could you transfer from a Private school setting as an elementary teacher to a Public School setting without having first earned certification through an approved program at a College or University. You could also teach in many of those private school settings without the ABCTE.
  • Certification through ABCTE requires that you complete a series of tests both in teaching pedagogy and in your content area. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be able to pass the tests and earn certification through ABCTE unless you have earned a bachelor's degree in a related field and are competent in that area.
  • While it is now possible to earn certification in Missouri in the areas listed above, there is no guarantee that a hiring administrator will hire a candidate who earned certification through ABCTE. School administrators may ask candidates how they earned certification. Before pursuing certification through ABCTE, it is highly recommended that candidates contact the administration at schools where they may apply to determine whether or not their application would be considered.

For more information on certification through ABCTE, please visit their website.

It is important to note that the Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) at Missouri State University, the Missouri Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) and the Missouri Advisory Council of Certification for Educators (MACCE) have all indicated strong opposition to this rule, and do not support certification through ABCTE.

For more information on how you can obtain certification through a State and nationally accredited Teacher Education Program at Missouri State at either the post baccalaureate or Master’s level, please contact the teacher certification office at 417-836-8772.