Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification in Mississippi

Oct 20, 2021

Mississippi has four options for individuals seeking alternative pathways to teacher licensure. These alternative programs are valid for all education levels and require testing, a training program, and a one-year teaching internship.

Mississippi Alternative Educator Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Mississippi (2019)* $45,510 (Kindergarten), $44,060 (Elementary), $48,170 (Middle School), $46,580 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Any
Testing Requirements Praxis II, Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators or ACT, ABCTE Passport to Teaching Exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Individuals who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited university are eligible to participate in any of the alternative pathways provided. It is also required that the prospective educator have at least a 2.75 GPA in their college coursework, specifically in the coursework in the area that they wish to be certified. All individuals interested in enrolling in any of the alternative pathways must take the American College Testing (ACT) examination. If this was not done, the applicant has the option of using the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators examination instead. On top of the ACT or Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators examination, applicants must also take the Praxis II Subject Area Tests as specified by the alternative program. There are four alternative pathway programs available: Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers (MAPQT), Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI), and the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE).

A crucial bit of information regarding the ABCTE program and education. The applicant is required to enroll in the ABCTE program and confer with an advisor to create an individualized study profile.


There are three potential examinations that any applicant for an alternative pathway to teacher certification may be able to take. The first is the ACT. The state of Mississippi requires that all applicants score a minimum of twenty-one on the exam. The second is the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, which is made up of three examinations: reading, writing, and mathematics. According to the Praxis website, students must get the following minimum scores respectively: 156, 162, and 150. The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators is not a required test because this is an alternative option to the ACT.

The final examinations that must be passed by the applicant are the Praxis II: Subject Area Tests. Applicants are required to take the Praxis II exam for the grade level they wish to teach, as well as any specific area of licensure they are interested in. In regards to grade level, there is early childhood, elementary education, middle grades education, secondary education, and all grades. The examinations for the grade levels can consist of one test or multiple. Each separate test requires a certain minimum score to pass.

There is a third examination required only by the ABCTE program; it is the ABCTE Passport to Teaching Exam. This is taken in place of the Praxis II: Subject Area Tests. This exam consists of two sections: The Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) Exam and the Subject Area Exam. The PTK Exam contains multiple-choice questions and a written portion that is hand-graded. The Subject Area Exams are multiple-choice exams, with questions being based on the subject area the applicant is choosing to test in. The only test that does not follow this format is the English Language Arts (ELA) exam, which has a hand-graded written portion. The scores for the PTK exam take four to six weeks to receive, as the results are hand-graded. The scores for the Subject Area Exams are instantaneous, minus the ELA exam due to the hand-graded written portion which, like the PTK exam scores, will take four to six weeks to receive.

The Programs

As stated previously, there are four alternative pathway programs available. Each with its own requirements to attain a license.

Master of Arts in Teaching

The MAT program offers an initial Three-Year Alternate Route License. To obtain this, the applicant must be able to provide verification that they completed six hours of pre-teaching courses. These hours must be obtained from an MAT program at an approved education institution, otherwise they will not be accepted. After the Three-Year Alternate Route License has been obtained, it can be upgraded to a Five-Year Alternate Route License. This has two requirements: the applicant must complete a total of six semester hours of approved coursework, as well as an internship suggested by the educational institution.

Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers

The MAPQT program, like the MAT program, offers a Three-Year Alternate Route License. In order for the applicant to be approved for this license, they must complete a training program provided by an approved institution. The applicant must complete a minimum of ninety clock hours to be eligible for the Three-Year Alternate Route License. After the completion of the Three-Year Alternate Route License, there are a few more requirements that the applicant must meet to gain the Five-Year Alternate Route License. The applicant must obtain an online recommendation from MAPQT after completing a practicum consisting of nine Saturdays. He or she must be able to provide verification of completion in order to be approved. The candidate must also obtain physical documentation of their district evaluation, as well as their completion of a mentoring program.

Teach Mississippi Institute

The Three-Year Alternate Route License through TMI requires that the applicants complete either a summer training session or a TMI online program. The length of the training session would be eight weeks and time/days would be determined by the educational institution. The TMI online program is offered solely through the University of Mississippi's Continuing Education Department. To obtain the five-year license, the applicant must also complete a one-year internship that includes mentorship. The internships must also include participation in an induction program at a local district. The final requirement to receive the Five-Year Alternative Route License is the employing district must provide a recommendation for the applicant.

American Board Certification for Teacher Excellence

The final program, ABCTE, offers an Initial One-Year Alternate Route License as long as the applicant meets the requirements of obtaining the ABCTE Passport to Teaching Certificate, as well as an official letter provided by a school district promising to hire the applicant once she has her license. To obtain the Five-Year Alternate Route License through TMI, the applicant must participate in an internship that includes mentorship for one year. On top of the internship, the applicant must complete three separate trainings. These trainings include an MAPQT summer training, a MS Public Broadcasting course, and six hours of graduate university courses offered through MAT.

Alternative Certification Resources for Mississippi Individuals

Below are resources that individuals located in the state of Mississippi can use if they are in pursuit of an alternative certification. The links below lead to courses that can provide more information.

  • Prepare for the Praxis Exam
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