Nearly 34,000 teachers were responsible for educating almost a half million students in Mississippi during the 2012-2013 school year, according to the Mississippi Department of Education. If you're interested in joining their ranks, you'll need to get your Mississippi teaching credential first.
Each state maintains its own requirements for teacher certification, and Mississippi provides both a traditional path and an alternate option for licensure. The traditional path is intended for those earning a bachelor's degree for the first time, while the alternate path is aimed at graduates who have already earned a degree in another field.
When it comes to studying online, most bachelor's degrees in education are often offered on-campus. However, at least one state school has put their degree online, and some alternate programs allow students to study for their Mississippi teaching certification from home as well.
Regardless of whether you're earning your degree for the first time or interested in pursuing the alternate path, here's what you need to know about educator education and teaching jobs in Mississippi.
How Can I Get an Online Teaching Certificate in Mississippi?
Students wishing to become educators in Mississippi and who are earning a degree for the first time need to enroll in an accredited bachelor's degree program. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has currently approved programs at 11 schools in Mississippi, including the following institutions:
- Alcorn State University
- Mississippi College
- Mississippi State University
- The University of Mississippi
- The University of Southern Mississippi
Of these, only Mississippi State University offers a distance education option for those who want to earn their bachelor's degree in elementary education online. The program is designed so students can continue working through their junior year of college, at which time field experience requirements may make it difficult to maintain regular employment hours. When it comes times for a student internship, MSU places online students in elementary or middle schools near their hometown.
Other schools, such as The University of Mississippi, offer master's degrees online, and these programs may be appropriate for those who have undergraduate degrees in another field but wish transition into a career in education. The American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), a non-profit established by the U.S. Department of Education, also offers online classes for those looking to follow an alternate path to Mississippi teaching certification.
Some fully online schools based outside of Mississippi may also offer degrees in education. Before enrolling in one of these schools, confirm that the degree is approved by the state and can be used to gain Mississippi teaching credentials.
After earning a degree, the final step to becoming an educator in Mississippi is to pass the Praxis II exam as well as any supplemental testing required for a specific teaching assignment. Some programs for those taking the alternate path to certification, such as the one offered by ABCTE, require candidates take the Praxis II exam prior to beginning their coursework.
What is the Teaching Career Outlook in Mississippi?
Nationwide, teaching jobs should see average growth with the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipating a 6 percent increase in job openings across the board for teachers at all levels. However, job prospects may be brighter for educators in Mississippi with demand in the lower grade levels being particularly strong.
When it comes to income, Mississippi special education teachers seem to make more than others in the state, as the following chart demonstrates.
|Position||Employment in Mississippi (2014)||Average Salary in Mississippi (2014)||Expected Job Growth (2012-2022)|
|Middle School Teachers||6,720||$41,270||16.2%|
|High School Teachers||10,430||$42,520||9.1%|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary||1,540||$43,940||8.5%|
|Special Education Teachers, Middle School||690||$42,610||8.6%|
|Special Education Teachers, High School||960||$44,450||7.8%|
Depending on where a person works, average salaries may be higher or lower than the statewide average. For example, elementary teachers in the Gulfport metropolitan area had average incomes of $43,050 in 2014 compared to the $40,340 average earned by those working in Jackson area schools.
Teaching Specializations in Mississippi
As an addition to their license, Mississippi teachers have the option of earning supplemental endorsements to demonstrate mastery in a particular subject. Currently, there are 30 endorsements available, including the following:
- Health education
- Middle grades language arts
- Social studies
- Special education
Endorsements are earned by passing a Praxis II subject area test or completing approved coursework related to the field.
Earning your Mississippi teaching credential is the first step toward a rewarding career as an educator. To get started, request information from one or more of the schools listed below. They can help you understand whether you should follow the traditional route to earning your Mississippi teaching certification or if the alternate path is right for you.
- Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, May 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm#25-0000
- Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm3.
- Supplemental Endorsements, Mississippi Department of Education, http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OEL/SE4.
- Mississippi Education Quick Facts, Mississippi Department of Education, http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/communications/facts5.
- Alternate Route Programs, Mississippi Department of Education, http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OEL/ARP6.
- How to get your teacher certification in Mississippi, ABCTE, http://abcte.org/teach/mississippi/7.
- The University of Mississippi School of Education, http://education.olemiss.edu/online/8.
- Elementary Education - Online, Mississippi State University, http://distance.msstate.edu/elem/9.
- Accredited Institutions by State, NCATE, http://www.ncate.org/tabid/177/Default.aspx?ch=106&state=ms