Teaching in Missouri

For the outdoorsy teacher, opportunities abound in Missouri, with its many state parks, hiking and biking trails, fishing, and scenic river ways. History teachers can regularly observe Civil War reenactments and visit homes of historical figures such as Mark Twain, Harry Truman, and Jesse James. And the country music-loving teacher can’t miss Branson, Missouri. There is art, culture, and entertainment for all teachers in Missouri.

Missouri needs highly qualified teachers, filled with passion and a calling, to educate our youth. The technologically advanced 21st-century marketplace demands it—and so do the powers-that-be in Missouri.

Educational Climate in Missouri

Missouri has set a high bar in education with its “Top 10 by 20” initiative. Specifically, the state intends to rank among the top 10 in academic performance, as measured by national and international standards, by 2020. Initiatives being created to make this dream a reality include better early childhood education, and improved assessment systems. Missouri intends to get to the top 10 by “developing a comprehensive system of the recruitment, preparation, selection, support and evaluation of effective educators.”

Teaching salaries in Missouri

Salaries between districts vary greatly. However, many experienced teachers in Missouri earn in excess of $50,000 a year. Below are the median salaries of teachers in Missouri.

  • Elementary School Teacher: $44,910
  • Middle School Teacher: $49,540
  • High School Teacher: $44.610
  • Technical Education Teachers: $45,960

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and Employment

State legislative and educational leaders understand that an economically vibrant community depends on an educated workforce. Missouri’s goals, therefore, are to equip its students for college, instill the desire for higher education, and create an environment where students are encouraged to set ambitious life goals. Higher income is consistent with higher educational attainment; and it has not gone unnoticed by Missouri officials that higher wages and low unemployment equates to higher tax revenues.

While some states aim for “adequate” when they realize they’re missing the mark, Missouri took their less-than-great scores as an invitation to step up for the kids in their state. In 2009, Missouri saw improvement from its previous national assessment scores, ranking 14th in fourth-grade reading, 16th in eighth-grade reading, 22th in fourth-grade math, and 30th in eighth-grade math. The state has already met one of its educational goals, reaching the top 10 in freshman graduation rate.

In 2006, Missouri formed a P-20 Council, consisting of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education, in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development, to steer curriculum toward the needs of business and industry. This focus will help ensure that Missouri has a well-qualified, highly educated, technologically advanced workforce by 2025, so the state can become a major competitor in the marketplace.

Becoming better is not good enough for Missouri. They intend to become the best, and to ensure that students enter the global marketplace at the top of their class.

Career Outlook in Missouri

It’s predicted that the majority of educator job growth in Missouri will stem from the state government’s decision to make the educating of a competitive workforce its number-one goal. Missouri’s population is also expected to increase at 9.5 percent by 2025, which will increase its need for teachers. The following statistics illustrate expected job growth through 2020 for teachers in Missouri:

  • Elementary School Teachers – 6.5 percent
  • Middle School Teachers – 8.7 percent
  • Secondary School Teachers – 6.2 percent
  • Technical Education Teachers – 25.4 percent

Like much of the rest of the nation, Missouri is exploring performance pay and financial incentives for teachers, expanding charter schools, creating a credible evaluation tool for monitoring teacher performance, reforming teacher tenure, and valuing merit over seniority during layoffs.

Teacher shortages in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are evident. Some school districts also report shortages for teachers of English as a second language (ESL), modern foreign languages (French, Spanish, German), industrial technology, music, and family and consumer science.

What are some of the benefits of becoming a teacher in Missouri?

Missouri appreciates its teachers, and recognizes their efforts as vital. Teachers hold the keys to the state’s future competitiveness in the global marketplace; Missouri officials not only know this, but proactively encourage it.

One of the best aspects of teaching in Missouri is having the government on your side. It’s much easier to effectively teach when those who control the tax dollars recognize the value of an excellent education, and are willing to spend money to give teachers the resources to provide that education. It’s also highly motivating to have an educational system with ambitious goals and an optimistic attitude.

In addition to appreciation and validation, teachers also see benefits in their weekly paychecks. The total compensation package varies from district to district, but generally includes health and dental insurance, life insurance, retirement and pension plans, and sometimes health savings accounts. The Missouri State Teachers Association assists teachers in negotiation of salary and benefit packages.

Teachers also join the Missouri Retired Teachers Association to receive their retirement benefits, which includes pension and health insurance. Residual benefits include life insurance, dental plans, hearing benefits, long-term care insurance, Medicare insurance options and Part D prescription plans, discounts on legal services, home and car insurance, and much more. Retired teachers are also exempt from state income taxes, for incomes up to $32,500 per year.

Teachers may receive additional benefits by joining the various teaching organizations (see Getting Involved in Missouri) available in Missouri. Teacher organizations provide teaching resources, lesson plans, grants for professional development, additional training, annual conferences, job openings, and a community support system.

How do I become a teacher in Missouri?

To obtain a teaching certificate in Missouri, you must have a bachelor’s degree and a GPA of at least 2.5 from a program accredited by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Teachers must also demonstrate comprehensive knowledge on a Praxis test in their focus areas. To find accredited teaching programs at universities and colleges in Missouri, visit the Missouri teaching certification website to explore comprehensive information about what program will work best for you.

For more information on teacher certification, including how to become a teacher if you already have a bachelor’s degree, if you are certified in another state, if you are currently a substitute teacher, or if you want to explore another state’s requirements, visit the Teaching Certification website.