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Teacher Certification & Permits

February 21, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Alan Moss

Executive Summary 

Many states, including Missouri, face challenges recruiting and retaining K-12 teachers. There are several routes to earning a teaching certification in Missouri, but teacher preparation program attendance rates have declined in recent years. House Bill 1998 would allow school districts to design and issue district-specific teaching permits based on their own criteria. The bill establishes minimum criteria for permit eligibility, including possession of a bachelor's degree, completion of a background check, participation in professional development in lesson planning and classroom management, and participation in a mentoring program. These permits would be valid only in the issuing district and other participating districts. This bill also creates a new process for substitute teacher certification. 


  • Missouri has significant teacher shortages with the highest vacancy rates being in elementary education, special education, and early childhood education.
  • The traditional route to receiving a teaching certificate is through completing a four year degree in education. However, Missouri has approved several alternative routes to receiving a teacher certificate.
  • Research has found that high teacher quality is correlated with various student outcomes including higher college attendance rates, higher lifetime earnings, and lower teenage pregnancy rates.
  • In-service professional development opportunities, including teacher coaching programs, have been shown to increase teacher retention rates and student performance.


  • The effect of traditional teacher certifications on student outcomes is a topic of ongoing research.
  • The wide variety of nontraditional routes for earning a teaching certification can make judging their effect on student outcomes difficult.
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