Michigan Teacher Certification Guide


Navigating the Michigan Teacher Certification Process

The Michigan Department of Education has set up the requirements for getting a teaching certificate in Michigan. Candidates must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree and complete an educator preparation program from an accredited college or university.

In addition to the degree and preparation program requirements, candidates must complete reading courses for their chosen grade level and first aid and CPR certification courses before being considered for certification. Applicants should also get passing scores on the required Michigan Test For Teacher Certification (MTTC) content tests.

It's important to note that candidates with a bachelor's degree or higher who enter an alternative certification program must take the appropriate MTTC exams before starting the program.

Once all requirements are met, candidates can then apply for certification through the MOECS or Michigan Online Educator Certification System. All documentation must be submitted at this time, including college transcripts and test scores, along with any other required paperwork.

It should be noted that Michigan has several certification routes and various educator certification types. This article will cover some of them, but applicants should check with their educator preparation program to ensure they apply for the correct certification type.

Teacher Preparation Programs in Michigan

When learning how to become a teacher in Michigan, candidates will learn that they are required to complete a teacher preparation program. This program is designed to teach all of the criteria necessary to be a highly qualified teacher in Michigan. The top programs will focus on specific content areas, teaching strategies, and pedagogical knowledge and skills required to succeed in the classroom setting.

For Michigan candidates, educator preparation programs must be approved by the Department of Education. Some colleges and universities that offer educator preparation programs will also be accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The Michigan Department of Education has a directory of state-approved institutions that offer degrees in education and teacher preparation programs. Candidates can find some approved colleges and universities in the table below.

State-Approved College/University Common Programs Available
Adrian College Elementary K-5 All Subjects
English (BA)-Secondary
Health & Physical Education (MC) K-12
Language Arts-Elementary
Mathematics-Elementary & Secondary
Science-Elementary & Secondary
Social Studies-Elementary & Secondary
Andrews University Elementary K-5 All Subjects
English (BA)-Secondary
English As A Second Language-Elementary & Secondary
Language Arts- Elementary
Mathematics- Elementary and Secondary
Science - Elementary & Secondary
Social Studies - Elementary & Secondary
Eastern Michigan University Various CTE Programs
Elementary K-5 All Subjects
English (BA) - Secondary
English As a Second Language- Elementary, Secondary, K-12
Language Arts - Elementary
Mathematics- Elementary & Secondary
Science - Elementary & Secondary
Social Studies - Elementary & Secondary
Special Education K-12-Various Specialties
Michigan State University Various CTE Programs
Elementary K-5 All Subjects
English (BA) - Secondary
English As a Second Language - Elementary, Secondary, K-12
Mathematics - Elementary & Secondary
Science - Elementary & Secondary
Social Studies - Elementary & Secondary

There are many more programs available in Michigan that offer various programs in both elementary and secondary education. Many of these programs also offer several advanced degrees and certifications in K-12 education.

Coursework and Education Requirements for Michigan Teaching Licenses

Earning a Michigan teaching license requires candidates to have a minimum of an undergraduate degree in an area of education. In addition to the degree, candidates must complete an educator preparation program, which is typically offered as a part of the degree program.

Along with the teacher preparation program, specific coursework is required to earn a Michigan teaching license. These courses are most often a part of the preparation program through an accredited college or university. The required courses include reading at both the elementary and secondary levels and CPR and first aid certification.

Educator preparation programs in Michigan also include a student teaching element. In it, students have the chance to gain real-world experience by observing a working classroom, assisting a current teacher and even leading lessons. The number of credit hours varies by institution and certification level. For instance, students in elementary, secondary, and K-12 programs at Eastern Michigan University must do 12 semester hours of student teaching.

Those who wish to become substitute teachers for Michigan schools can do so without meeting the undergraduate and educator preparation requirements. However, the Daily Substitute Permit does require at least 60 semester hours of college credit.

Michigan Test for Teacher Certification

Candidates applying for a Michigan teacher certification must first complete their educator preparation program and take the MTTC exams in the appropriate content area. Once the scores are returned, then aspiring teachers can apply for certification.

The Pearson Vue MTTC website has a list of certification areas that a candidate can choose from if they have had the proper training. They will learn more about what tests they should take during their preparation program.

Candidates interested in learning more about the Michigan test for teacher certification should contact their educator preparation program advisor for further information. The advisor will provide information about the correct test or tests that the candidate should take and when in the program they can be taken.

Previously, candidates were required to take a basic skills exam to show their competency in basic core content areas. However, these exams are no longer required to become a teacher in Michigan.

Background Checks for Michigan Teacher Certification

To earn a Michigan teacher certification, candidates must also submit to a criminal background check performed by both the state and the FBI. This is a common requirement for most states to become a teacher. In addition, candidates must submit a fingerprint card, which is typically done through LiveScan as a part of the application process.

Steps for How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Michigan

When candidates are learning how to get a teaching certificate in Michigan, they will need to understand the required documentation. This paperwork demonstrates to the Michigan Department of Education Teacher Certification Committee that they have the credentials needed to become a teacher in the state. The required paperwork and application are done through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS).

Documentation required for the application process includes:

  • Completed application
  • Proof of college degree
  • Proof of completion from an accredited educator preparation program
  • MTTC test scores showing the candidate has passed
  • Background check reports and fingerprint card
  • Application Fee ($160 for the Standard certification)

Applications are reviewed continuously and are typically processed within 4-8 weeks during the peak time of the year. The certification department is typically busier during January and the summer months.

As with most states, if a candidate's application is denied, it is usually because of missing documentation. The denial, in most cases, will come with a list of missing information for the candidate to complete.

Michigan Alternative Teacher Certification

Candidates who have at least an undergraduate degree in a subject other than education and want to pursue a teaching credential in Michigan must meet certain criteria to be considered. This criterion involves getting a Michigan alternative teacher certification through the ITC, or Interim Teaching Certificate program.

These candidates must enroll in an approved alternative certification program that will help them gain the Interim Teaching Certificate. In addition, the candidate should either seek employment at a Michigan school district or have an offer of employment.

Requirements for enrollment in the Michigan alternative teacher certification program include a bachelor's degree, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, passing scores on the MTTC content exam, CPR certification, and passing a criminal background check for the state.

The ITC certification is valid for up to five years. The certification and employment are conditional upon the candidate staying enrolled and completing the alternative preparation program. If the candidate withdraws from the program, they will no longer be employed with the school district, unless that district approves them to be transferred to a substitute permit.

Once the candidate has completed their preparation program and has taught for three years in the state, they can apply for a Standard certification.

To become a substitute teacher, the Michigan Department of Education offers four different permits for candidates:

  • Daily Substitute Permit
  • Basic Substitute Permit
  • Shortage Substitute Permit
  • Expert Substitute Permit

Michigan's Reciprocity for Out-of-State Teaching Licenses

For out-of-state candidates to earn a Michigan teaching license, there are certain reciprocity criteria that aspiring educators must meet. Michigan does participate in the NASDTEC (National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification), which offers standards for reciprocity between states.

Although Michigan honors the NASDTEC, they do not offer full reciprocity. This means that out-of-state candidates may need to fulfill certain criteria to be considered for certification, including current CPR and first aid certification.

Once a Standard certification application has been completed, the Michigan Department of Education will review the information and let the candidate know if there are other requirements they need to meet before certification, including any MTTC subject area tests.

Michigan Teacher Certification Renewal

Michigan teacher certification renewal for each license type requires the educator to complete continuing education courses either through professional development, advanced degree programs from an accredited college or university, or other professional learning opportunities.

The Standard certification can be renewed while educators are completing their requirements to upgrade to the Professional certification. The Standard certification is valid for five years, so candidates who have not completed the requirements within that time frame can renew it until they have finished.

Professional Development for Teachers in Michigan

Michigan offers several certification types for educators depending on their level of experience and education. The Standard Certification is what is given initially to those who are at the beginning of their teaching career. Once teachers have completed certain criteria, they can upgrade to the Professional certification.

Professional Certification

Educators who have had their Standard Certification for at least three years may be eligible to upgrade to Professional Certification. They must have completed all criteria for their Standard Certification, including any professional development and continuing education courses.

Additionally, candidates must complete specific coursework including reading remediation and reading methods courses through an accredited college or university. They should also have consecutive high marks on their teacher evaluations for three successive years.

Advanced Professional Certification

Those who have a Professional Certification are eligible to upgrade to the Advanced Professional Certification if they have completed a Michigan Teacher Leader program or have earned their National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification. Either of these designations has to be seen on their current credentials before they can apply for the Advanced Professional Certification.

Candidates should also have received high marks on their educator evaluations for the previous five years and not have any non-effective marks on these evaluations within this period. This certification is reserved for the top educators in the state.

Teaching Job Growth and Salaries in Michigan

There are more than 8,000 public and private schools throughout Michigan. Additionally, there are more than 1.5 million teachers and students throughout these schools, and a student-to-teacher ratio of 23:1.

As with many other states in the United States, Michigan has a list of critical shortage areas. Many of the shortage areas include both elementary and secondary schools and include subjects such as Mathematics, ESL, Science, Social Studies, and many more.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for high school teachers nationwide is reported to be 8% between 2020 and 2030. The BLS projects a job outlook of 7% for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers.

In the chart below is a list of the most common teaching positions and the current Michigan teacher salary according to the BLS.

Teaching Position Average Salary
Preschool Teachers $34,580
Kindergarten Teachers $59,480
Elementary Teachers $68,850
Middle School Teachers $62,990
Secondary Teachers $62,930
Special Education Teachers $69,710