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Teacher Education

Availability: Gulf Park, Hattiesburg, Online and Hybrid Options

Teacher Education

Make a Difference – TEACH!

For over 100 years, Southern Miss has led the state in producing exceptional elementary and special education teachers. School districts across the state compete to employ our graduates. The demand is particularly strong for graduates of our Elementary Education/Special Education Dual Degree Program. Our Teacher Assistant Program offers a fully online pathway to degree completion. Join us and become part of this long tradition of preparing qualified, confident educators. Join us and Make a Difference!

The School of Education teacher education programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation. All programs are accredited by the State Process and Performance Review.

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83%graduates employed next academic year
72Foundation-based scholarships
840hours of field-based-instruction

What Will I Learn?

Our program engages and prepares teachers like no other! With high quality field-based practicum experiences every semester, and graduates earning a minimum of two endorsements, students graduate highly skilled and immediately marketable! Additional highlights of our program include:

  • Working one-on-one with children across all subjects
  • Learning to provide high quality, evidence-based instruction and reading intervention and engage in small and whole group teaching
  • Mentorship by experienced and knowledgeable professionals invested in student success
  • Participation in multiple professional development activities and programs

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Programs at the University of Southern Mississippi that prepare students for initial licensure in elementary education or special education are designed to meet the licensure standards set by the Mississippi Department of Education. Students seeking licensure in another state are advised to contact the appropriate licensing board in that state to determine specific requirements of guidelines for reciprocity as we are unable to determine if the program meets requirements for licensure in other U.S. states or protectorates. The University of Southern Mississippi cannot confirm whether a particular licensure program meets requirements for licensure outside of the State of Mississippi. For a list of the state departments of education that oversee professional teaching licensure, see the U.S. Department of Education website - State Contacts page.

For questions related to licensure, please contact Carrie Bell at Caroline.BellFREEMississippi

For questions related to elementary education, please contact Dr. Kelley Stricklin at Kelley.StricklinFREEMississippi.

For questions related to special education, please contact the School of Education at soeFREEMississippi.

MIssissippi undergraduate teacher education licensure requirements:

  • A minimum ACT composite score of 21 (single test date) or equivalent SAT composite score (single test date)


  • Qualifying scores on the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators Test (CORE). Current CORE test codes and score requirements can be found at the ETS website (,


  • Completion of a minimum of 60 hours of college credit with a minimum GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale


  • Subscribe to Watermark Assessment System
  • Clear background check

The fully online Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) is designed specifically to offer teacher assistants a convenient pathway to earning a Bachelor of Science degree and becoming a certified teacher while continuing their job as a teacher assistant.

The online TAP program meets the unique educational needs of teacher assistants who desire to advance their knowledge and become exemplary, licensed teachers. Coursework is completed online with highly qualified and dedicated university faculty.  If you are employed as a teacher assistant in a public or private school accredited by the Mississippi Department of Education, you may qualify for our program.

Once accepted into your professional preparation, you will begin the first of three sequenced semesters that include carefully planned practicums aligned to your course work. During the introductory cohort, students observe classes and work one-on-one with K-6 students in diverse school settings. In the intermediate cohort, students spend one full day each week in K-6 schools working with small and whole groups throughout the semester. Senior cohort students spend two full days each week in K-6 schools assessing and tutoring a K-6 student. During student teaching, students participate in two different internships in diverse school settings.

More than 70 foundation-based scholarships are available for School of Education students each year. Over $75,000 is dedicated to Elementary and Special Education undergraduate majors.

Are you interested in completing half of your student teaching experience internationally?  If you are, then Southern Miss is the school for you.  During the fall of 2020, The University of Southern Mississippi joined the Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST).  Established in 1973, COST is a collaboration of 16 colleges and universities in the United States that provides opportunities for its students to have quality student teaching experiences in overseas settings. COST works closely with USM and placement school representatives around the world to provide opportunities for its students to have quality student teaching experiences in overseas settings. 
Through COST, teacher candidates are placed in public and private institutions in various locations around the world where English is the language of instruction.  The placement period ranges from 6-7 weeks. Student teachers complete their first half of student teaching stateside, then go abroad for the second half.  All participants return to the United States having gained firsthand knowledge and experience with professional peers, students, and their families within another cultural setting; having an increased sense of confidence and improved self-efficacy; and having a greater sense of how to integrate an international perspective into their profession as a teacher. 
Currently site countries include Australia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, The Bahamas, and the Netherlands. We encourage you to review this site, learn about the program, and consider possible student teaching placement destinations.   

Faculty Engagement

Faculty are committed to providing challenging and rewarding experiences for students through both didactic and field-based methods throughout the program. This provides teacher candidates multiple opportunities to observe and work one-on-one with diverse students in numerous school settings. Faculty effectively engage and support students as they progress through the program and build their knowledge and skills within the structured curriculum.


Degree Plan Availability
Elementary Education BSGulf Park, Hattiesburg,Online 100%
Special Education Minor

View Online Program Details

  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Graduate School
  • Special Education School Teacher
  • Jeanetta Jackson 2018 
    Nichols Middle School Teacher of Year Nichols Middle School, Ridgeland, MS
  • Emily Bordelon 2015-2016 
    MACTE Outstanding Teacher Candidate 1st Grade Teacher St. Charles Borromeo Elementary, Picayune, MS
  • Kim Mancuso 2017-2018 
    MACTE Outstanding Professional Educator Award 8th Grade General Science Oak Grove Middle School, Hattiesburg, MS