School of Education FAQs

General FAQs          Certification FAQs          Field Placement FAQs

General FAQs

Why choose UMKC School of Education?

Fewer than half of the teacher preparation programs in the United States meet the standards set by the leading certification council on education, but UMKC does! Admitted students gain the valuable skills and hands-on, interactive classroom experiences needed for today’s competitive job market. Due to our unique focus on Urban Education, UMKC graduates are highly prepared to teach in any educational environment. A variety of field experiences are integrated into our teacher education programs, culminating in student teaching.  Our teacher preparation programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and approved by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.


What areas of teacher certification are offered at the UMKC School of Education?
  • Early Childhood: Birth – 3rd grades
  • Elementary: 1st – 6th grades
  • Middle School: 5th – 9th grades (areas include Math, Science, Social Studies, and English)
  • Secondary: 9th – 12th grades (areas include Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, English, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies)
  • K-12 grades (areas include Art, French, German, Spanish). Music Education is offered through the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.

UMKC School of Education Teacher Certification Programs

UMKC Major Maps

What are the Teacher Education program admission requirements?

Admitted UMKC students enter as “Pre-Education” majors. Before being admitted to the School of Education, students must complete the UMKC general education core and pre-professional education requirements (these vary according to major). View the Major Map for your program of interest for more detail.

Visit the Teacher Education Application web site for up-to-date information regarding  admission to the professional program, minimum GPA requirements, MoGEA cut scores, items to include in your application packet, deadlines, and much more.

What if I already have a bachelor’s degree? What requirements do I have to meet?

Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree can pursue certification by meeting the admission requirements for the Teacher Education program. In order to begin the process, contact the School of Education Student Services office.

Can I graduate in 4 years?

Yes. The teacher certification program can be completed in 4 years. We recommend careful planning each semester and working closely your academic advisor in order to achieve this goal.

How much of my transfer credit will UMKC accept?

The transfer process varies student-by-student. In order to determine how much of your coursework will apply to your certification area, you are encouraged to contact Jessica Gomes, Student Recruitment Specialist, who will provide individualized assistance.

Are there scholarships available in the School of Education?
Yes; there are numerous scholarship award opportunities available to Education and Counseling majors within the School of Education! Continuing SOE students apply in the Spring to be awarded the following academic year. An online application, essay, and two recommendations are required.

UMKC Financial Aid and Scholarships

Does UMKC School of Education have an alternative certification program?

The School of Education offers traditional teacher certification programs.  Students who already have a bachelor’s degree may complete certification-area coursework and apply for admission to the professional Teacher Education program. At least 2 – 3 years of coursework is needed to earn teacher certification recommendation from UMKC. Post-BA students might also consider the Master of Arts in Teaching.

UMKC School of Education Academic Programs
Process for Becoming a Teacher

Does UMKC School of Education offer provisional certification to teach?

Provisional certification is only for students who have almost completed a teacher certification program.

What graduate programs do you offer?

UMKC School of Education offers graduate degree programs in the following areas:

  • Counseling and Guidance
  • Counseling Psychology
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Educational Administration
  • Educational Leadership, Policy, & Foundations
  • Language and Literacy
  • Special Education
  • Teaching (MAT)
How do I become a principal?

You must first be a certified teacher, with at least two years’ experience. Certified teachers should earn an MA in PK-12 Educational Administration for initial principal certification. More information is available at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

What is the Institute for Urban Education?

The Institute for Urban Education (IUE) is a four year undergraduate, scholarship program that combines content courses with teaching methodologies to fully prepare students for teaching in Kansas City’s urban schools. IUE scholars are selected through a rigorous admissions process that includes personal interviews, writing samples, academic scores, and letters of reference. IUE students receive scholarships covering tuition, fees, and books for the four-year, two-summer program, and a scholarship covering room and board for their first year in the IUE. In exchange for this financial support, IUE students make a commitment to teach in an urban school in the Kansas City area for a minimum of four years upon graduation.

How do I schedule an appointment to meet with an academic advisor?

Undergraduate students should contact Student Services at or 816-235-2234 and ask to speak with or meet with an academic advisor. The Student Services office is located in the SOE Learning Commons at 129 Education Bldg, 615 52nd St. KCMO.

Graduate students should contact the department (i.e. Counseling & Educational Psychology, Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies, etc.) in order to meet with a faculty member regarding the program of interest.

Can I meet with an advisor before being admitted to UMKC?

Yes! Prospective students should contact Student Services at or 816-235-2234 to speak with an academic advisor. Transfer students should fill out the Transcript Evaluation Form (Sorry, currently unavailable as we are going through transition for Fall 2017 pending final state approvals) and upload unofficial transcripts. Once the evaluation process is complete, an academic advisor will be in contact via phone or email.

Does UMKC have transfer agreements with local community colleges?

The School of Education works alongside local community colleges that offer programs, such as the Associate of Arts in Teaching, to transfer coursework here to complete a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. We strongly encourage students to meet with an academic advisor as soon as possible ensure the coursework completed will transfer and meet the requirements for our certification programs.

Which area of certification should I pursue?

Deciding on your major and a career path is a big decision! You may remember a person or a teacher who has influenced you in a positive way; reflect on the reasons your teacher made an impact and remember that person’s character. What made them an excellent teacher? How did they inspire you?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you love to learn?
  • What subjects do you enjoy learning about?
  • What are your strengths? (Are you disciplined, positive, energetic, creative, caring, or good at problem-solving? Are you a great writer, do you love reading, or are you better at math or science?)
  • What academic areas could use improvement?
  • Do you have a passion for social justice?
  • Do you want to create challenging, caring, and inclusive learning environments?
  • How old are the children you enjoy babysitting, coaching, mentoring, or tutoring?
  • Are you creative (do you draw, paint, sculpt, or play an instrument?) Do you know other languages?

Review the teacher certification areas available at UMKC and meet with an academic advisor to explore your options at UMKC.

Students who have 60+ hours of college credit have found it helpful to substitute teach to gain more perspective. Great teachers are in high demand! UMKC Career Services is an excellent campus resource that can provide more information on job outlook and area salaries, contact 816-235-1636.

Can I choose where to do my student teaching?

Students may have some input into the placement process. Our urban mission is designed to work with our nine area partner school districts. We want teacher candidates to understand the challenges and rewards gleaned from working in an urban classroom environment. The field placement coordinator will try to place you at schools that are close to your home and close to UMKC. Teacher candidates are paired with knowledgeable, cooperating mentor teachers (CMTs) to gain hands-on experience in a real classroom setting.

What are the partner school districts that the School of Education works with?

To complement our urban focus, the School of Education partners with nine local school districts and assigns student teachers within these schools. Each district has similar demographics, allowing our field placements to match the content of our curriculum. The following districts have been active partners in helping us to prepare future teachers.

Center School District

Kansas City, Missouri School District

Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

Grandview GC-4 Schools

Hickman Mills C-1 School District

Independence School District

North Kansas City Schools

Raytown C-2 School District

Turner School District

UMKC Charter Schools

General FAQs          Certification FAQs          Field Placement FAQs

Certification & Graduation FAQs

What if I don’t want to start teaching right away? Should I wait to request my initial teaching certificate?

Teacher candidates should not wait to get their certificate, even if they do not plan to teach. Once certified, it is a very simple process to re-active the certificate if it expires, however, if a student waits, he or she must meet any/all *new* certification requirements (exams, assessments, minimum GPA, etc.) in place at the time of the re-activation request. We recommend that all graduates complete the certification process at the time of graduation; it may save you a great deal of time and money later on.

How do I get verification of my certification for my job search?

During student teaching, most students are also searching for their first teaching position. Many school districts will require proof of your certification at the time of application. If a district requests verification of status, please request such verification from the certification officer.

When will I receive my actual teaching certificate?

At the end of the graduating semester, student teachers apply for graduation (required) and participate in a commencement ceremony (optional). It is important to note that while everyone is allowed to walk at commencement, some students may not actually graduate (receive a diploma).

After graduation, the Certification and Data Manager at UMKC begins the process of verifying degree completion for each student who files for graduation. The certification manager makes certification recommendations to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) once all graduates’ certification requirements have been met and passing Missouri Pre-Service Teaching Assessment (MoPTA) scores have been submitted to UMKC.

School of Education Commencement FAQs & Resources
UMKC Graduation, Commencement, Diplomas, and Honors

Is there anything else I need to do to get my teaching certificate, once I graduate?

Students are asked to update their profile in the DESE online certification system and initiate an application for certification. Students need to update their FBI background check (valid for one year). If the background check is more than 12 months old at the time of certification, a new check is required.

More about background checks

What if I completed all degree requirements but did not pass the Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment (MoPTA)?

UMKC cannot recommend students for certification unless they have completed the degree program and passed all Missouri Educator Gateway Assessments, including the MoPTA (Missouri Pre-Service Teacher Assessment). If you have a job offer but will not be certified at the time of employment, you can be hired with a Temporary Authorization Certificate.

More about the MoPTA

What if I have not completed all degree requirements (earn a diploma) but I've been offered a teaching position?
  • If you are still missing course requirements, you should return the following semester (summer or fall) to finish any remaining coursework so you may be awarded a degree upon completion. i.e. If you applied for spring graduation, walked at May commencement but still had courses to complete, you will need to re-apply for summer or fall graduation.
  • If you have not graduated but are within 12 credit hours of finishing your degree program and have been offered a full-time teaching position, you are eligible for a Temporary Authorization Certificate.
  • If a graduating student finishes his or her final courses in a summer semester and will not start teaching until fall, this process is not necessary. The certification manager will recommend you for certification at the end of summer.
How do I know the type of certificate I will receive and the effective date?

Everyone who earns certification at UMKC will be recommended for an “Initial Professional Certificate” (IPC). This is a 4-year certificate. Teachers will receive a Teaching Certificate. Counselors will receive a Student Services Certificate and Administrators will receive an Administrator Certificate; all are IPCs. The effective date of your certificate depends on when you graduate and are recommended for certification.

What if I am moving out of state? How do I transfer my certification to another state?

Because you are completing a certification program at an NCATE and state-accredited institution, your certification is very transferable to other states. However, each state has different certification requirements. Some states, especially in the Midwest, will accept your certification with no additional coursework or testing. Kansas requires the Praxis II exam. Other states, especially on the east and west coast, may require that you complete additional testing or complete additional coursework before being issued a full certificate. In those cases, you would be issued a “Provisional” or temporary certificate allowing you time to make up those deficiencies while teaching.

Because the transfer process varies from state to state, please contact the Department of Education in your home state for more details on the transfer of your certification. Most states will require that you complete an “Out of State” packet that will include a copy of your teaching certificate, official transcripts, a completed application, verification of tests taken (ACT, SAT, C-Base, Praxis II, MoGEA, MoCA, MoPTA, etc.) and an “Institutional Verification Form”. If your state requires that the institution where you completed your program complete an Institutional Verification Form, please send the form to:

Certification and Data Manager
UMKC School of Education
5100 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110.

Please include detailed instructions including:

  • Your name, address, e-mail address and phone number (if not on the form).
  • Instructions describing where you want the form sent. Some states require that the form be sent directly to the State Department of Education. Other states require that all materials be sent to the applicant and sent to the State in one complete packet.

If you have questions regarding the transfer of certification to another state, please contact the Certification and Data Manager at (816) 235-2887.

I was told I need to complete a “Beginning Teacher Assistance Program” to maintain my certificate. How do I do that?

If you are teaching, you will need to complete a Beginning Teacher Assistance Program (BTAP) to maintain your certificate. The UMKC Regional Professional Development Center offers Beginning Teacher Support through B.E.S.T. (Building Educational Support for Teaching) workshops to help you meet that DESE requirement. If you are not teaching, there is no need to attend a BTAP workshop since you cannot maintain your certificate if you are not teaching.

On my job applications, it asks what type of certificate I will have earned. What should I type in?

All graduates will be granted an “Initial Professional Certificate (IPC)” in the area they are pursuing for certification. This is a 4-year certificate. So, if you are an elementary education major, you would put on applications that you will have an Initial Professional Certificate (IPC) in Elementary Education (Grades 1-6).

General FAQs          Certification FAQs          Field Placement FAQs

Field Placement FAQs

Can I choose the school where I want to be placed?

No. The UMKC School of Education wants to ensure that all teacher candidates are placed in schools that allow the exploration of teaching methods and application of the techniques that have been learned in the classroom. The university takes every step to ensure that schools and mentor teachers meet expectations for creating a safe environment that promotes equity and social justice, and provide a model that can be applied to the teacher candidate’s future classroom. The relationships that UMKC has built with partner districts foster a spirit of collaboration and a commitment to professional development that benefits both teacher candidates and classroom students. The School of Education understands the challenges that teacher candidates face and provides appropriate experiences to effectively meet these needs.

Can I observe or complete my field experience at the school from which I graduated?

No. The School of Education is committed to providing a variety of teaching experiences that will challenge each teacher candidate and broaden their awareness of the diverse communities that comprise our partner districts.

How many hours do I need to spend in my field placement?

The degree program will determine how many hours are spent in the field placement. Additional information regarding programs within the School of Education can be found in the appendices. Teacher candidates are encouraged to spend as much time as possible in the classroom in order to further their understanding of the connections between learning theory and classroom practice.

Why has my field placement not been confirmed?

Some placements take longer than others to be approved by a district. Some districts may experience turn-over which can hinder the field placement process. The School of Education maintains constant communication with districts to assist in the placement process.

Do I have to teach in an urban school when I graduate?

The mission of the School of Education is to prepare students to meet the challenges of any classroom whether it is urban, rural, or suburban. The knowledge and skills that are acquired and practiced throughout the program provide all teacher candidates with the tools to teach in any classroom. Graduates are not restricted to teaching in urban schools, but urban schools need highly qualified teachers who are agents for social change. Exceptions to this requirement may be part of a contract that students enter into with the University at the beginning of their program of study.

Is it OK to use social networking to interact with students?

There are definitely educational uses for social networking sites, but for a teacher candidate, it is important to avoid using sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, among others, to communicate with students unless the policy of the school district explicitly allows it. Since social media are relatively new technologies, school district policies are, in many instances, still being developed to deal with their use. Under those circumstances, it is better to err on the side of caution and maintain a professional relationship with students that cannot be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

Remember that your field experience is like an extended job interview. Anything that is posted online can be accessed and is a potential problem if it demonstrates unprofessional behavior. In most communities educators are held to high personal standards of behavior because of their work with young people, and unprofessional communication with students can reflect poorly on one’s ability to be a highly respected educator.

What if my school has a snow day or closes?

Teacher candidates are not required to report if the school closes because of a snow day or any other circumstance in which teachers are not required to report. If inclement weather closures exceed four days, teacher candidates will be expected to make up additional days at the end of the scheduled experience. However, if the school is closed to students because of teacher professional development or a teacher work day, teacher candidates are responsible for attending with their CMT.

When do I begin my student teaching?

Field experiences begin when the school is back in session during the semester that the teacher candidate is assigned. These dates may fall outside the UMKC school calendar and it is the teacher candidate’s responsibility to know when school returns from break.

How long do I have to student teach?

The degree program will determine the length of the field experience. Additional information regarding programs within the School of Education can be found in the appendices. Teacher candidates are encouraged to consult with their faculty advisor for a complete timetable.

What if my CMT does not allow me to teach a particular unit or topic?

Teacher candidates work with CMTs to determine units or topics appropriate for integration in the content area and school curriculum. Teacher candidates may begin the conversation by sharing Teacher Work Sample goals (especially on long-range planning and assessment), as well as ideas for unit or topic integration. While a CMT provides encouragement for the teacher candidate’s ideas, the CMT also provides guidelines according to content area and school curriculum, and may have long-range and/or short-range curriculum needs that require changes in the unit or topic the teacher candidate has in mind. A fundamental part of the teacher candidate’s preparation in this creative endeavor lies in reflective adaptation and collaboration. If the teacher candidate feels that s/he is not able to fulfill the goals of the field experience or of the teacher work sample, s/he is encouraged to seek the advice and collaboration of the university supervisor.

If I am pursuing a K-12 certification area, when do I switch between my two placements?

Teacher candidates will need to consult with program faculty regarding the best time to transition between placements. However, circumstances will vary for each teacher candidate based on program.

What if I get sick or I am unable to attend a day while I am student teaching?

Procedures for attendance vary by degree program. Specific information is available in the appropriate appendix. All procedures required by the university, the faculty advisor, the CMT, and the school must be followed in all cases of personal sickness or when it is necessary to be absent. Field experiences provide clinical practice in the teaching profession and teacher candidates are expected to prepare for an absence in the same way that they would if they were to be employed by the district.

How many absences am I allowed?

Each degree program specifies the requirements for attendance. It is important to remember that the field experience is preparation for the teaching profession. Teacher Recruitment Day is an excused absence and is not counted as an absence.

What if my CMT gets sick and has a substitute teacher, what do I do?

Teacher candidates are still responsible for the field placement experience. The CMT and the principal of the school will determine the role of the teacher candidate and the substitute for the day.

Which academic calendar do I follow, UMKC’s or the school that I am student teaching in?

Teacher candidates are responsible for following their assigned school’s academic calendar. They also need to participate in the in-services days or auxiliary events that the mentor teacher is expected to attend.

What if I have a question that is not answered here?

Teacher candidates are always encouraged to talk to their academic advisor, faculty advisor, supervisor, or Coordinator of Field Experiences.

General FAQs          Certification FAQs          Field Placement FAQs