The Michigan Teaching and Certification Resource

There are several routes available for individuals looking to earn a Michigan teacher certification. However, depending on education and prior teaching experience, aspiring teachers may be eligible for different certificates. The Office of Professional Preparation Services within Michigan’s Department of Education oversees the teacher certification process, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Michigan

Teacher candidates pursuing a traditional route to Michigan teacher certification should hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and have passing scores on the state-required tests. Those interested in an alternative ways to become a teacher in Michigan may receive an interim certificate while they undergo an on-the-job training and mentoring program. In addition, applicants with a valid teaching certificate from another state may be automatically eligible for certification in the state of Michigan.

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Michigan currently issues the following certificates:

  • Provisional Certificate
  • Two-Year Extended Provisional Certificate
  • Professional Education Certificate
  • Interim Occupational Certificate
  • Occupational Education Certificate
  • Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate
  • School Psychologist Certificate
  • Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization
  • Interim Teaching Certificate
  • School Guidance Counselor License
  • Temporary School Counselor Authorization
  • Preliminary School Counselor Authorization
  • Administrator Certificate

Michigan is a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement and as such, its policy on teacher reciprocity does allow for teachers with out-of-state certificates to obtain a teaching certificate in Michigan provided they meet all additional requirements. Out-of-state teachers who have not met Michigan’s testing requirements may apply for the Provisional Certificate. Teachers with an out-of-state certification and passing examination scores may be eligible for the Professional Education Certificate. For more details, contact the Michigan Department of Education.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Michigan

Michigan requires that all teachers complete a Michigan teachers certification program at an accredited school. Michigan will only issue teacher certificates to teachers who have attended an accredited program. Therefore, when evaluating potential schools, it’s imperative that they confirm the school is in good standing with its corresponding regional accreditation agency.

The US Department of Education oversees six regional accreditation agencies that are responsible for evaluating and accrediting US schools. Michigan schools are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). All aspiring teachers evaluating potential teacher preparation programs should confirm that their school of choice is in good standing with the NCA. Additionally, when looking at options for online teaching certification, all online schools should also be accredited by their corresponding regional accreditation agency, even when headquartered out of Michigan.

Additionally, applicants pursuing Michigan teacher certification are recommended to look for accreditation from the national accreditation agency, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. This recently-formed organization is the result of a July 2013 merger between NCATE and TEAC, two highly-respected accreditation organizations with years of experience in the education sector. Although a CAEP accreditation is not mandatory in order to be approved by Michigan, it is a sign of excellence in curriculum, process and organization and most schools apply for the accreditation because of its highly-regarded reputation.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Michigan.

Quick Guide

Michigan Teacher Education Requirements

Michigan State SealCandidates for Michigan teacher certification who are applying for licensure through the traditional route must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program from an accredited institute of higher education. Teachers who successfully complete the requirements for this route will receive a renewable provisional certificate which is good for up to six years. Additional educational requirements such as the pursuance of a master’s degree is required in order for this provisional certificate to be renewed. In addition, individuals who have completed these requirements and who have at least three years of teaching experience may apply for a Professional Education Certificate.

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Michigan Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 74,020 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Michigan, excluding special education (2013). Elementary school teachers in the state make an average annual salary of $62,720, while middle school teachers make an average of $58,290 and secondary teachers make an average of $62,050 (BLS 2013). Visit the Michigan Education Association, a local branch of the NEA, for political and economic updates relevant to local teachers.

Michigan Teacher Testing Requirements

Becoming a certified teacher in Michigan generally requires a passing score on the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification. Generally, this assessment will include two different tests — one which assesses the candidate’s knowledge of basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics, and another which assesses the candidate’s expertise in the content area for which he or she is seeking certification. The only exception to this testing requirement involves out-of-state applicants who are already certified in another state and can provide evidence of their licensure and experience.

Additional Michigan Teacher Certification Requirements

All teachers in Michigan must submit to a state and federal background check. Applicants must send in a fingerprint card to the appropriate department before they send in their teaching application.

Michigan Teachers Licensing Application Process

Upon completion of all of the steps above, applicants should send in all pertinent information to the Michigan Department of Education. The summer months can be a very busy time for processing applications so it’s recommended to send in applications three to four months before the desired date of employment.

  1. Submission of college transcripts
  2. Verification of completion of Michigan educator certification program at an accredited school
  3. Submission of passing scores on required examinations
  4. Proof of background check clearance
  5. Create MDOE account online
  6. Submission of application with required documentation
  7. Payment of non-refundable processing fees

Michigan Department of Education
608 W. Allegan Street
P.O. Box 30008
Lansing, MI 48909

Visit the Michigan Department of Education for further details on teaching certification in Michigan.

Teacher Quote “Our job as teachers is to take our students from wherever they are socially and academically, and help them move forward. Just like with my own children, I want my students to be the best individuals they can be.” -Colby Sharp, Michigan Language Arts Teacher

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Michigan School District Requirements

How to Become a Teacher in Detroit

Michigan Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 6,980 $33,690
Kindergarten Teachers 2,690 $54,100
Elementary School Teachers 35,910 $61,570
Middle School Teachers 15,550 $57,750
Secondary School Teachers 22,430 $60,940

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

Michigan Teacher Interviews

Interview with Colby Sharp, Michigan Language Arts Teacher

Interview with Cossondra George, Michigan Middle School Teacher

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Michigan

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Michigan?

Answer: In Michigan, you can become a substitute teacher if you have completed 90 college credit hours and passed a criminal background check. To work in one position for an extended period of time, you must get a substitute teaching permit through the state education department. Apply to individual districts to find a job as a substitute.

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Michigan?

Answer: To become a high school teacher in Michigan, you must be granted a provisional secondary certificate from the state. The requirements for the certificate include a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject as well as a teacher preparation program, student teaching experience, and passing scores on the Michigan certification and subject area tests.

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Michigan?

Answer: To become an elementary teacher in Michigan, you need to be certified through the state in elementary education. This requires that you have a bachelor’s degree in education, or a degree with appropriate education coursework. You also must participate in student teaching and pass the state tests for certification and basic skills.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Michigan State Department of Education: http://www.michigan.gov/mde/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.