As the school year winds down and you check off items on the end of the year list, now is a good time to review the Missouri teacher certification requirements. Missouri has a Two-Tier Certification System – the Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) is for teachers in years one through four and the Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC) is for those who’ve met the IPC requirements.

MSTA has a DESE approved BTA we offer to assist teachers in completing the IPC requirements.

Even though many school districts keep track of completed professional development items, educators should also keep their own log, that way if  you change districts, you have a list of certification requirements you’ve met.

The IPC is valid for four years and assigned to new graduates of teacher education programs and individuals with less than four years of teaching experience who meet the minimum requirements and qualifications. To advance to the next level during the valid dates of classification, a teacher must meet the following requirements:

  • Participate in a two-year mentoring program;
  • Successful completion of 30 contact hours of professional development, which may include college credits (a contact hour is defined as 1 clock hour = 1 contact hour and/or 1 college credit = at least 15 contact hours);
  • Participate in a Beginning Teacher Assistance (BTA) program;
  • Successfully complete an annual performance-based teacher evaluation;
  • Complete four years of contracted teaching experience; and
  • Follow a district-approved professional development plan.

The CCPC is valid continuously depending on an individual meeting the following:

  • The requirements at the IPC level (four years of experience);
  • Successful, yearly completion of 15 contact hours* of professional development which may include college
    credits; and
  • Have a local professional development plan.

OR two of the three following items:

  • Ten (10) years of teaching experience;
  • A master’s degree; or
  • A rigorous national certification approved by State Board of Education

Two-Tier Teacher Certification Explanation

If you have not already started keeping a personal professional file of important documents, start your file today. Keep it in the format that works best for you – electronic or hard copy – use the one that fits your style.

Initial Professional Certificate – You should have received two copies of your teaching certificate from DESE (the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education). A copy should be in your Central Office personnel file and a copy in your own personal professional file.

Participate in a district-provided and approved mentoring program for two years – Keep a log of all formal meetings between you and your mentor. If your professional development committee has not provided a form, you can find one in the BTA notebook.

Successful completion of 30 contact hours of professional development, which may include college credits – This required 30 hours is spread over the four years of your Initial Professional Certificate. They don’t all have to be done your first year! Again, your school district should have a form for this. If not, we’ve provided one you can download. Even though you may “sign in” at your school’s professional development opportunities, it’s smart to keep your own log of the meeting, date, time and topic. Your employing school district should report this to DESE; however, sometimes reports get lost. This documentation is needed when you apply for your Career Continuous Professional Certificate (CCPC). If you are including college credit in this requirement, it needs to be in the subject area you are currently teaching.

Participation in a Beginning Teacher Assistance (BTA) Program – Your participation in this online BTA fulfills the state’s requirement. Once you’ve completed this course, MSTA will send you a letter of completion for your file. Provide your school’s central office a copy of that letter for your file.

Successfully participate in a performance-based teacher evaluation – You will be observed and evaluated by your supervising administrator. This includes informal and formal observations. Your mentor can help answer questions about your district’s PBTE. Place your copy in your file.

Complete four years of approved teaching experience – This means four years in an accredited school. Teaching experience in an accredited private school is acceptable.

Have a local professional development plan – This is where your mentor can really help. One role or duty of a mentor is to assist beginning teachers in the development of the professional development plan. Most schools have their own form for the plan. If not, we’ve included a blank one you can download. Again, a copy is to be placed in your file and one with your principal.

The importance of keeping complete and accurate documentation can’t be stressed enough! You are a professional, so please keep up to date with your professional file. You may have other important documents to include in your file. For example, you may wish to include teacher- and student-generated artifacts, awards received, graduate-credit documentation and other professional achievements.

After you’ve met all the requirements for your Initial Professional Certificate, you’ll apply for the Career Continuous Professional Certificate. You can find the application for this on DESE’s Web site ( Your principal and/or superintendent will need to see “proof” that you’ve met the requirements. That’s one reason you need to keep accurate documents in your personal professional file. After you receive your CCPC, you’ll begin meeting the requirements to continue that certification.

If you have any questions, please consult with your mentor, principal or professional teachers association.