A-Z Index

Frequently Asked Questions

Alternative Certification

How do I apply for Alternative Certification?

You may apply online through CatPAWS or contact the Alternative Certification Office at will then be asked to provide your resume, your transcripts will be reviewed, and program details will be discussed further.

Does the Alternative Certification Office assist in job placement?

Candidates are most successful checking with school districts they are interested in, local newspapers, and job listings on the web.

Do I have to take the GRE exam?

You may not be required to take the GRE. Only special education candidates must complete the GRE within the first year of the program if you plan to pursue a Master of Science in Education: Special Education upon receipt of the your initial certification.

Do I qualify for financial aid?

If you are fully admitted to the Alternative Certification Program at Northwest Missouri State University and enrolled in five or more credit hours in a semester you may apply for financial aid online at FAFSA. Northwest's federal school code is 002496. You will receive a financial aid offer that lists all institutional scholarships and federal and state aid offered to attend Northwest. Upon receipt of this letter you will need to accept or decline the loans on your aid offer through CatPAWS. For additional information regarding financial aid, visit the Office of Financial Assistance and Scholarships.

What type of certification will I have during the program?

You will be under a two-year provisional certification with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education while fulfilling your certification requirements.

What type of certification will I have at the completion of the program?

You will receive your initial certification in the area you are seeking.

When I complete the Alternative Certification Program, do I receive a master's degree?

Alternative certification is a certification-only program. Upon completion of the program, you may transfer earned graduate credit hours into a master’s program of your choice. The number of hours applied to the master’s degree will vary depending on the area.

How can I become certified in other areas?

Once you have received your initial certification, you may take the PRAXIS II test or Content Area Assessment in other areas and apply for additional certifications.

What do I do if all requirements are not completed at the end of the two-year provisional certification?

You may apply for a third-year extension if you have made "adequate progress" toward completing your certification requirements. This is at the discretion of both your district and the alternative certification director.

How do I file for a third-year extension?

A letter supporting the request must be submitted to DESE from each of the following: you (the candidate), your school district, and Northwest Missouri State University. Sample letters are available by contacting the Alternative Certification Office.

I'm nearing the end of my program, what is my final step?

You may contact the Alternative Certification Office for a Final Degree Application and an Initial Certification Application.

General Information

Once I have enrolled into a course, when will I be billed?

Your bill will be mailed around the 25th of each month. Payment is due by the 15th of each month.

Who do I contact to drop a course for which I have already enrolled?

You can either drop a course using CatPAWS or call the Graduate office at (660) 562-1145. You are not automatically dropped from the course for non-attendance or not submitting coursework.

How do I know what grade I received in a course?

You may access your grades online or order transcripts from the Registrar's office.

To access your grades and unofficial transcripts online:

  1. Visit CatPAWS
  2. Select "Enter Secure Area" and enter your Northwest Network Account username and password
  3. Once you have logged in, proceed to Student and Financial Aid
  4. Select Student Records
  5. Select Academic Transcript
  6. Submit the next page by leaving All Levels and Web selected in the drop down boxes

To order a copy of you transcript please contact the Registrar’s office at 660.562.1151 or print a request online.

What is CatPAWS and how do I log in?

CatPAWS is an online resource for students to access class schedules, transcripts, current bills & grade reports, etc.

  1. Visit CatPAWS
  2. Select "Enter Secure Area" and enter your Northwest Network Account username and password

How do I access my Northwest e-mail?

  1. Visit Northwest Missouri State University
  2. Select "Student Email" from the Resources menu
  3. Enter your email login and password that you retrieved from CatPAWS (see directions below for retrieval)
    1. Login into CatPAWS
    2. Select "Personal Information"
    3. On the bottom of the page, select "Northwest Email Initial Information Retrieval"
    4. Read the terms and if you agree to the conditions stated, click on "AGREE"
    5. Your Northwest email address and initial password will be displayed; once you change your password, the displayed password will no longer be valid

Email login and passwords are the same as those used for university computers on campus. Enter your new S2# only and newly created password to log on to a campus computer. This username is provided so that you can gain access to the computing services provided by Northwest. By logging onto this account, you are accepting Northwest Missouri State University's computer policies as stated in the User's Guide. Should you have problems or questions regarding your University-assigned e-mail account, please contact the Client Computing-Information Technology at Northwest at or by calling 660.562.1634.

How do I automatically forward my Northwest email messages to my other email account?

You can set this up in the options menu of Outlook Live.

What is Northwest Online and how do I log in?

Northwest Online is used for online courses and to supplement face to face courses.

To log on to Northwest Online:

  1. Visit Bearcat Login
  2. Select "Northwest Online"
  3. Enter your Northwest Network Account username and password