Provisional Teaching/Student Services Certificates

What is it?

Provisional Certificates are an alternative certification option for students who are enrolled in an approved Postbaccalaureate or Master's level Teacher Education or Student Services Program at a college or university, and for undergraduate Teacher Education Students who are within twelve hours of completing all certification requirements (including student teaching when hired as Teacher of Record and/or completion of the Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA) exam, and have been offered a teaching contract by Missouri school district. This is a two-year, non-renewable certificate.

Students on a Provisional Certificate must complete an Application for a Missouri Teacher's Certificate - Academic Contract, which is an agreement between the student, the State of Missouri, the hiring school district and Missouri State. Students who are on a Provisional Certificate through Missouri State are required by contract to complete all of their courses at Missouri State.

For more information, contact DESE.

Who is it for?

The Provisional Certificate is for students who have not completed their requirements for certification but have been offered a teaching or counselor position in a public school, or accredited non-public school. The following types of students qualify for a Provisional Certificate:

  • Undergraduates or Postbaccalaureate students in any Teacher Education program who are within twelve hours of completing all coursework for certification, or who have not earned a passing score on the Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA) exam. If an undergraduate student is hired by a school prior to their student teaching semester, they must complete their student teaching as Teacher of Record and must apply for a Provisional certificate.
  • Students enrolled in Missouri State's Postbaccalaureate Teacher Certification Programs in Secondary Education and Middle School Education programs, regardless of the number of hours remaining to become certified.
  • Students enrolled in the Special Education Alternative Certification Track (SEACT), the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program, or the Visually Impaired Program (VIP) are required by Missouri State to be on a Provisional Certificate if they are teaching. Students enrolled in the School Counseling program at Missouri State are eligible for a Provisional Certificate once a certain amount of coursework has been completed as indicated on their program of study.
  • Currently certified teachers on a DESE analysis who are within 12 hours of completing the coursework to add that additional area of certification.

How to apply for jobs on a Provisional Certificate

If you meet the criteria listed above, you are then eligible to be hired by a school district on a Provisional Certificate. The first step is to indicate on your resume and cover letter that you are currently eligible for a provisional certificate. We recommend that you include the following statement on the "Education and Certification" section of your resume":

  • I am currently enrolled in an approved program for Certification in (list certification area here) at Missouri State University, and am eligible for a Provisional Certificate in that area.

The next step is to start contacting school districts to inquire about jobs. For more information on the job search process, visit our Job search website. If you are offered a position on a provisional certificate, you will then need to follow the steps below to actually apply for the certificate.

Applying for a Provisional Certificate

The application process for a Provisional Certificate is described below:

  • It is highly recommended that the student begin by completing a FBI background check. To complete the FBI Background Check process, please follow the instructions on our FBI Background check website.
  • Provisional Certificates can only be submitted electronically via the DESE website. To begin the process, please visit our Applying for your Certificate website. On this website, you will:
    • Create a DESE Online Profile
    • Initiate a Provisional Certificate Application
  • Send an email to and to your hiring school district indicating that you have submitted a Provisional Certificate application. While we do check our work log daily during certain times of the year, there may be weeks where we do not work in this system and would not know you have submitted an application. Notifying both the Teacher Certification office and the school district will help the process move quickly.

Once you have completed the steps above, your application will be routed to your school district. They will complete the school district information and then submit it to Missouri State. Once received, the Teacher Certification Office at Missouri State will complete the academic contract section of the application and will submit it to DESE.

Missouri State will also submit official copies of all transcripts and a copy of your Individualized Program of Study (IPS). You will be notified by DESE via the email in your DESE online profile when the certificate has been issued.

Note: DESE no longer issues paper certificates. Once issued, you can print a copy of your certificate or the school district can log in and view it online.

How to Extend your Provisional Certificate

A Provisional Teaching or Student Services Certificate is a Non-Renewable two-year certificate. However, under special circumstances the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will extend a Provisional Certificate to allow the student to complete the certification program. Students enrolled in the SEACT program at Missouri State typically need to extend their provisional to complete this program.

To extend your Provisional Certificate, you MUST have shown significant progress toward completing your certification program at Missouri State during the two years for which your Provisional Certificate was issued. Typically a student approved for an extension is no more than 9 hours from completion of their program. If you have shown significant progress but need an additional semester or two in order to complete your program, please complete the following steps to get your Provisional Certificate renewed:

  • Send a letter via email to and to your program coordinator and/or advisor at Missouri State University requesting that Missouri State support your request for an extension of your Provisional Certificate. This letter needs to describe in detail the progress you have made toward completion of your program during the two years of your Provisional Certificate, AND describe your plan to complete any remaining deficiencies. Your letter should follow the following format:
    • Paragraph 1: Introduction and formal request for a 3rd or 4th year extension of your Provisional Certificate in order to complete your program.
    • Paragraph 2: Describe the amount of progress you have made toward the completion of your program during the two years on a Provisional, and why you were not able to finish in two years. Be detailed regarding the reason you could not finish.
    • Paragraph 3: Provide a detailed, course-by-course and semester by semester plan for the completion of your program during year 3 or 4. If you are in progress in courses at the time you are writing the letter, include those courses in your plan. If you are taking courses somewhere besides Missouri State, list each course, the institution and what it will count toward in your program.
  • Submit a letter from the Principal or Superintendent at your hiring school district indicating that the school intends to renew your contract beyond the expiration date on your Provisional Certificate and that they support your request for an extension of your Provisional Certificate. This letter must be on school letter head and have an original signature. A copy of your teaching or student services contract for the upcoming school year will not be accepted by DESE in place of this letter.

Please send this documentation:

Log into your DESE online profile and file an "extension certificate" application. Instructions to file for an extension can be found on our "applying for your certificate" website. Select the option for renewing or extending a current certificate. This application will go directly to DESE and does not need to be reviewed by the district or Missouri State. However, they will not be able to act upon this application until they receive the above-mentioned documentation from Missouri State.

Once your letters have been received, the information will be forwarded to your program coordinator/advisor, who will then review your file.  If approved by your program, the Teacher Certification Office will email DESE asking for a one-year extension of your Provisional Certificate.  The email will include your documentation, an updated IPS showing the completion of requirements during the first two years, updated transcripts, and a letter of approval from your program coordinator/advisor. There is nothing you need to mail to DESE as part of this process.

If it is determined by your program coordinator/advisor that you have not made significant progress toward the completion of your program and that you could not finish your requirements in a 3rd year, your request will be denied and you will be notified.