Mississippi typically provides emergency teaching certificates to applicants in districts where there are no certified teachers available. There are two types of emergency license; the three-year license is available to individuals who have a bachelor's degree but no teaching credentials, and the one-year emergency certificate is for individuals who have their teaching credentials but are going to teach a subject for which they are not certified. As of 2011, there is a freeze on issuance of three-year certificates until 2012, but this restriction does not affect the one-year certificate, according to the Mississippi Business Journal.
Why An Emergency Certificate
School districts in Mississippi that are in extremely rural, poor areas find it difficult to compete against larger districts in their ability to pay experienced teachers. These same districts have a difficult time attracting less-experienced graduates because of the impoverished areas, which have few amenities to attract younger people. Approximately one-third of the 152 districts in Mississippi are in what the state calls "critical teacher shortage areas," according to Sandra Knispel with the Mississippi Public Broadcasting News. Emergency certificate teachers allow districts to fill their slots when they cannot find suitable certified candidates.
The laws concerning emergency teacher certification is in the Mississippi Code of 1972, Section 37-3-2 (6) (c) (d) (e) and (f). The code states that special licenses are nonrenewable unless the State Board of Education approves a renewal request. Bilingual teachers who choose to transition into bilingual education receive special consideration as long as they are able to communicate sufficiently in both English and the language they will teach. Bilingual teachers receive two years' service credit when they acquire a standard license.
When applying for a emergency certificate, applicants must include an licensure application, a Local District Application, an Individualized Certification Plan for the Local District, Verification of Contact with the Local District Teacher Center and college transcripts. Applicants will send their application packet to the Mississippi Department of Education in Jackson, Mississippi. You must fill the application out completely and legibly for consideration for an emergency license.
If you are using an emergency certificate to teach in Mississippi, the state will not consider you a highly qualified teacher until you take any necessary courses and pass the teacher's exam. Becoming a highly qualified teacher can mean a higher income for the teacher and federal money for the district. Emergency teachers must meet with the designated individual for the district to develop a plan to acquire their standard credentials before applying for an emergency certificate. The state does not issue emergency certificates for kindergarten through third grade teachers.
Teachers who have an emergency certificate have the same salaries as those with standard certification. In 2009, the average salary of middle school teachers in Mississippi was $40,610 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the yearly average salary of secondary school teachers was $42,120.