Most states require educators with a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate to complete continuing education to maintain their certification. Education standards and ideas change requiring ongoing professional development to help teachers learn about the latest in their field. Professional development also allows them to enhance their teaching and interpersonal skills.
Continuing education courses can provide teachers with the knowledge they need to navigate complicated issues in education. The topics educators deal with today — such as LGBTQ concerns, cyberbullying and school vouchers — rarely came up 10 years ago.
Missouri teachers have options for continuing their education, including attending seminars or enrolling in courses to earn advanced degrees and certification.
What Are Missouri’s Professional Development Requirements?
The continuing education requirements for teachers in Missouri vary based on their careers. The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education requires teachers in most core areas and librarians to complete 30 hours of professional development during the first four years of teaching to obtain an Initial Professional Certificate. Once they finish 30 hours, they need to complete 15 hours of career certification annually until they achieve exemption status.
These professional development requirements do not apply to those in student services, administration (superintendent), adult education and literacy, and career education. The requirements for these areas are as follows:
- Adult education and literacy (AEL): 60 hours over four years for initial certification and then 20 hours annually until exempt.
- Career education: 90 hours over four years for initial certification and then 30 hours annually until exempt.
- Student services: 40 hours over four years for initial certification and then 20 hours annually until exempt.
- Superintendent: 120 hours over four years for initial certification and then 30 hours annually until exempt.
All of the above roles move into professional development exemption status by satisfying any two of the following three requirements:
- Teach for 10 years.
- Receive next higher degree.
- Earn national certification.
Those interested in moving to administration face a different set of professional development requirements.
What Are the Requirements to Become Certified as an Administrator in Missouri?
Principals, special education directors and career education directors need 120 hours over four years to get the initial certification.
Becoming certified as an administrator in Missouri takes a master’s degree or the completion of 30 hours of professional development annually.
However, after 10 years, administrators are required to earn an education specialist degree or national certification to receive professional development exemption status.
Missouri accepts a degree and coursework from a program that meets certification requirements when the student completes the degree at a regionally accredited college or university.
The program can be accredited by any of the following agencies:
- Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
- New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
- North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Northwest Association of School and Colleges.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The state of Missouri provides a directory of educator preparation programs, a listing of approved institutions that offer programs for educators to earn their professional educator certification. The institutions in this list offer four-year undergraduate programs, graduate programs for advanced certification, and two-year institutions for completing the early stages of teacher preparation. These institutions have met the standards set by the Missouri State Board of Education.
What Does a Master of Science in Education Graduate Program Involve?
A variety of graduate programs are available to educators who wish to move into administration roles. The key is to earn a master’s degree in educational administration, curriculum and instruction, or reading and literacy.
Institutions like Northwest Missouri State University offer two options that satisfy state requirements for Missouri: Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction and Master of Science in Education in Educational Leadership.
The MSEd. in Curriculum and Instruction emphasizes engagement, learning and achievement. This degree helps educators increase their curriculum development skills. They will learn instructional strategies for student success. The online program incorporates technology, change management and student engagement.
Students who complete the MSEd. in Curriculum and Instruction learn how to:
- Use critical thinking skills to find and implement improvement practices for curriculum and instruction.
- Manage information and analyze data to improve curriculum and instruction practices.
- Integrate brain science research to improve curriculum and instruction practices.
- Incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion in improving curriculum and instruction practices.
The MSEd. in Educational Leadership incorporates leadership, communication, critical thinking, diversity, equity, inclusion and teamwork into the curriculum. Both the courses and the professional-based learning include field experiences.
Those who earn the MSEd. in Educational Leadership learn how to:
- Create quality educational experiences by developing and implementing a vision that promotes a positive school culture.
- Foster relationships that lead to the success and well-being of students by creating systems for communication, engagement, partnerships and advocacy.
- Promote student learning using a combination of curriculum planning and design, data literacy and assessment, learning supports, and research-based instructional practice.
- Challenge the status quo by taking actions to support diversity, equity and inclusion to create a culture for student achievement.
- Implement systems to support students and staff through data analysis, fiscal management and legal compliance.
Both the Curriculum and Instruction track and the Educational Leadership track are online programs that require 30 credit hours (15 core and 15 subject field). Candidates can complete the coursework in as few as 12 months. Students enrolled in these programs typically continue working in education. The online format affords them the flexibility to study when it fits their schedule and apply the concepts they learn to their current roles.
Learn more about Northwest Missouri State University’s online Master of Science in Education — Educational Leadership program and the online Master of Science in Education in Curriculum and Instruction.