JOPLIN, Mo. — If you’re interested in teaching in the state of Missouri, getting your certification has never been so affordable.

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is covering all of the fees associated with taking educator certification tests. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of October of last year, 27 percent of public schools in the U.S. had multiple teaching vacancies.

“Since COVID, there’s been a lot of fear about germs and getting sick when you work around so many kids. So I think this is going to give the schools an opportunity to bring people back into education that may have left, or those that are thinking about it but are not sure about it,” said Stacey Tracy, Assistant Director of Special Education for Joplin School District.

Fees have also been waived for all para-professional certification tests. Those interested have until September 30th to register and can take up to three tests at no cost.