FAQ for Upcoming Graduates

This website is designed as a resource for upcoming graduates in education programs certified by the State of Missouri who are finishing their certification programs at Missouri State. If you have a question that is not addressed below, please contact the Professional Education Certification office at 417-836-8772.

1. What if I don't want to start teaching right away? Should I wait to request my certificate?

You should never wait to get your certification, even if you never plan to teach. Once certified, it is a very simple process to re-active your certificate if it expires. However, if you plan to go to graduate school or work outside of education for a few years, and therefore decide to wait to request your certificate, you must meet all certification requirements in place at the time Missouri State recommends you for certification. If certification requirements have changed since you graduated, you will be required to complete additional coursework and meet all other new requirements before being recommended for certification. So, we recommend that all graduates complete the certification process at the time of graduation. This may save you a great deal of time and money later on.

2. How do I get verification of my certification for my job search?

During student teaching or the last semester of the program, most students are also searching for their first teaching job. Many school districts will require proof of your certification at the time of application. Therefore, upon request and after mid-term of the final semester of your program, the Professional Education Certification office can provide you with a letter stating that you will be certified at the conclusion of the current semester pending the completion of your remaining requirements; coursework, Missouri Content (MoCA), and performance (MEES) assessments. That letter will also state the area of certification which will be earned through completion of a program at Missouri State. This letter will not include areas of certification added through MoCA exam.

3. How do I notifiy potential employers of certification areas I will be adding through exam (MoCA)?

Missouri State University can only verify for school districts the area of certification you are earning through the completion of a program at Missouri State. We cannot verify areas that you are adding to your certificate by completing the MoCA exam in that area. We recommend that students who are adding additional certificates through MoCA exam attach a copy of those MoCA scores to your applications as verification. Missouri State also cannot recommend you for certification in an area you are earning through MoCA exam. For instruction regarding how to add certification through MoCA exam, visit our "adding additional certificates" website.

4. How do I add additional certifications to my existing certificate?

For more information on adding additional certificates, please visit the DESE website. The DESE application for additional certificates can be found in the DESE online certification system. Please note: You cannot apply for an "additional" certificate until your initial certificate has been issued by DESE.

5. When will I receive my actual teaching certificate?

At the end of each semester, education students will participate in graduation. However, it is important to note that while everyone is allowed to walk at graduation, each year some students don't actually graduate. After graduation, the Office of the Registrar at Missouri State starts the process of verifying graduation for each person who applies for graduation, and the Professional Education Certification office begins the process of completing certification paperwork for each graduate. This process will take several weeks. Typically, it will be a month or more between graduation day and the day the Professional Education Certification office can actually recommend you for certification. Here is a timeline for a typical spring semester as an example:

  • MId-May - Commencement Day.
  • Mid-June - Transcripts with Degrees will be available. Professional Education Certification office begins recommending all eligible candidates for certification.
  • Mid-July - Certificates should be available to view online in the DESE certification system. You can always check the status of your certification by logging into the DESE online certification system.

6. Is there anything else I need to do to get my certificate once I graduate?

All teacher candidates are required to create a profile in the DESE online certification system and initiate an application for certification. Detailed information on the process, including step-by-step instructions can be found on the Professional Education Services office website. That's the only "paperwork" you need to complete for your initial teaching certificate. You may also need to complete a new FBI background check. Fingerprinting clearances are valid for ONE year. So, you as long as you have had an FBI background check within the last 9-10 months you should not need another one. If your background check will be more than 12 months old at the time of certification, you must get a new one. For instructions regarding the FBI Background check, visit the Professional Education Services Compliances FBI background check page.

7. What if I graduated but did not pass the MoCA and/or MEES assessments?

Missouri State University cannot recommend you for certification unless you have completed your program AND passed the MoCA and MEES assessments.  If you have a job offer but cannot yet be certified due to assessments, you can be hired on a Provisional Teaching Certificate. This would give you two years to pass the MoCA exam while teaching in Missouri.

8. What if I didn't actually graduate?

Each semester, a few students are short a class or two for graduation and must return the following semester to finish their last courses. If you have not graduated but are within 12 credit hours of finishing your program, you would be eligible for a Provisional Teaching Certificate.  If you will be starting a teaching position before your last courses are completed, you will need to file for a Provisional Certificate. If you are finishing your last courses in a summer semester and will not start teaching until fall, this process will not be necessary as we will recommend you for certification at the end of summer.

9. How do I know the type of certificate I will receive and the effective date?

Everyone who earns certification at Missouri State University will be recommended for an "Initial Professional Certificate" (IPC). This is a 4-year certificate. Teachers will receive a "Teaching" certificate. Counselors, Psychological Examiners and Administrators will receive a "Student Services" certificate. However, all will be an IPC. The effective date of your certificate depends on when you graduate and are recommended for certification.

10. What if I am moving out of state? How do I transfer my certification to another state?

Because you are completing a certification program at an NCATE/CAEP and state-accredited institution, your certification is very transferable to other states. However, each state has different certification requirements. Some states, especially those in the Midwest, will accept your certification with no additional coursework or testing. Other states, especially on the east and west coast, may require that you complete additional testing or complete additional coursework before being issued a full certificate. In those cases, you would be issued a "Provisional" certificate allowing you time to make up those deficiencies while teaching. For information on transferring certification to all other states, please visit our Transferring to Other States website.

11. What if my certificate expires? How do I renew it?

For information on renewing an expired certificate, please visit our Renewing Your Certificate website.

12. I was told I need to complete a "Beginning Teacher Assistance Program" to maintain my certificate. How do I do that?

If you are teaching, you will need to complete a Beginning Teacher Assistance Program to maintain your certificate. The DESE Agency for Teaching, Leading and Learning offers a Beginning Teacher Assistance Program (BTAP) to help you meet that DESE requirement. If you are not teaching, there is no need to attend a BTAP workshop since you cannot maintain your certificate if you are not teaching.

13. On my job applications, it asks what type of certificate I will have earned. What do I put?

All graduates will be granted an "Initial Professional Certificate (IPC)" in the area they are pursuing for certification. This is a 4-year certificate. So, if you are an elementary education major, you would put on applications that you will have an Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) in Elementary Education (Grades 1-6).

14. I would like to include a copy of my test scores in my application materials. Where can I get them?

All scores on the MoGEA, Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA), and Missouri Educator Evaluation System Assessment (MEES) are displayed in My Missouri State. To access your scores in My Missouri State, click on "student", then "student profile", then "test scores". Missouri State does not receive official score reports for any of these tests. Instead, we receive a file each month with all scores for MSU test takers and those scores are uploaded to our system. Therefore, we cannot provide copies of official score reports since we don't have them. We highly recommend saving a copy of each score report you receive for your records.