logo

The Michigan Teaching and Certification Resource

The Michigan Department of Education Office of Professional Preparation Services oversees the teacher certification process in Michigan. The traditional route to certification in the state, which uses a three-tier certification system, is outlined in detail below for those seeking to learn how to become a teacher in Michigan. For more information on alternative pathways for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to alternative teacher certification in Michigan.

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 earn passing scores on the state-required tests. The traditional route to certification leads to the issuance of a Provisional Certificate, Michigan’s initial teaching certificate for new teachers.

After successfully completing three years of teaching experience and continuing education, those holding an initial certificate may upgrade to a Professional Education Certificate. Highly effective and qualified teachers may then move up to the third tier of certification, the Advanced Professional Education certificate. Provisional and interim certificates to teach are for those who are pursuing alternative pathways to licensure.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Michigan

Projected Job Growth

3%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in MI through 202215

Michigan requires that all teachers complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at an accredited school. You can view a list of approved educator preparation programs in Michigan through the Office of Professional Preparation Services.

For those attending programs out of state, it’s important to note that Michigan will only issue teaching certificates to teachers who have attended an accredited program that is approved for the preparation of teachers by that state’s Board of Education. Therefore, when evaluating potential schools, it’s imperative to confirm the school is in good standing with its corresponding regional accreditation agency and the state Board of Education.

Additionally, teacher preparation programs may hold accreditation from the national Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization is the result of a merger between the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), two highly-respected accreditation organizations. Although CAEP accreditation is not mandatory, it is a sign of excellence in curriculum and most schools apply for the accreditation because of its highly-regarded reputation.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Michigan.

Michigan Teacher Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 74,190 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Michigan, excluding special education.3 Elementary school teachers in the state make an average annual salary of $63,640, while middle school teachers make an average of $62,040 and secondary teachers make an average of $62,870.3 Visit the Michigan Education Association, a local branch of the NEA, for political and economic updates relevant to local teachers.

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 and hold a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject. Teachers who successfully complete the requirements for this route will receive a Provisional Certificate which is good for up to six years. Continuing education units are required in order for a Provisional Certificate to be renewed after six years.

Michigan Teacher Testing Requirements

Becoming a certified teacher in Michigan requires a passing score on the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). 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. Candidates must also pass the Professional Readiness Examination, which is taken prior to completing student teaching experience.

Additional Michigan Teacher Certification Requirements

All teachers in Michigan must submit to a state and federal background check. Applicants must complete a fingerprint card via LiveScan before sending in a teacher certification application. In most cases, candidates will be asked by the hosting school district to complete a LiveScan fingerprint background check prior to the student teaching experience.

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. The required supporting documents include:

  • College transcripts from all schools attended
  • Verification of completion of a Michigan educator certification program at an approved and accredited school
  • Submission of passing scores on the required Michigan Test for Teacher Certification examinations
  • Proof of background check clearance
  • Submission of application with required documentation
  • Payment of non-refundable processing fees

The Michican Department of Education requires candidates to use the online Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) to apply for and renew certification credentials. 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

Michigan Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 7,030 $30,410
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 310 $51,520
Kindergarten Teachers 3,180 $57,190
Elementary School Teachers 39,220 $63,640
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 3,140 $59,210
Middle School Teachers 15,770 $62,040
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 1,610 $62,380
Secondary School Teachers 19,200 $62,870
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 2,590 $65,720
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 430 $61,370

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

Michigan School District Requirements

How to Become a Teacher in Detroit

Michigan Teacher Interviews

Interview with Colby Sharp, Michigan Language Arts Teacher

Interview with Cossondra George, Michigan Middle School Teacher

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. However, school districts may individually set more stringent requirements and may prefer certified teachers. 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 completion of 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 early childhood education coursework. You also must participate in student teaching and pass the state tests for certification and basic skills.

Teaching and Education Programs

Searching for Schools...
Matching School Ads

References:
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. US Bureau of Labor Statistics State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Michigan: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mi.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm