The College of the Ozarks’ Teacher Education program is accredited by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Therefore, students who complete their elementary or secondary education program at College of the Ozarks and pass all state-required exams and background checks are recommended for certification in the State of Missouri.
The Education Office at College of the Ozarks will prepare and submit certification paperwork to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) on the student’s behalf. Students are responsible for obtaining their own criminal background check through the vendor designated by DESE. Teaching certificates are processed electronically, and a program graduate may monitor the progress of his/her certification by accessing "DESE Web Applications" on the DESE website at www.dese.mo.gov.
If program graduates desire certification in another state, they are counseled to apply for reciprocity certification utilizing their Missouri teaching certificate. Each state sets its own requirements that individuals must meet for certification. Therefore, it is recommended that program graduates research the Department of Education websites for the state(s) in which they would like to obtain certification. In many cases, the state will issue a one-year provisional certificate, which allows the program graduate to obtain a teaching position while completing any additional requirements of the state such as a state history course, different Praxis test, etc.
Criminal Background Check
As part of the certification process by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), a criminal background check is required to be completed on each student completing the teacher education program. Our students are required to obtain their background check prior to student teaching. The background checks are valid for 12 months. The service of performing background checks is currently contracted out to an independent firm, which has offices throughout the state of Missouri. Specific procedures for procuring a background check may be found at: http://www.dese.mo.gov/eq/cert/eq-cert-fingerprint-background.htm