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. For specific information on becoming a teacher in Detroit, check out our How to Become a Teacher in Detroit page.

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


Growth in Teaching Jobs in MI through 20242

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). 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 Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives projects 835 average annual job openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 330 annual average job openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 430 average annual job openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers in the state through 2024.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 72,580 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Michigan, excluding special education.4 Elementary school teachers in the state make an average annual salary of $62,220, while middle school teachers make an average of $63,620 and secondary teachers make an average of $60,400.4 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 institution 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 Michigan 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

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers6,910$30,020
Preschool Teachers, Special Education300$53,040
Kindergarten Teachers2,920$56,320
Elementary School Teachers38,190$62,220
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School3,050$59,060
Middle School Teachers16,650$63,620
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,320$62,810
Secondary School Teachers17,740$60,400
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,050$65,010
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education1,390$60,050

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

Michigan Teacher Interviews

Michigan School District Requirements

If you are interested in becoming a teacher in Michigan, please read more on our Detroit city page where you will find the steps for becoming a teacher in Detroit, information about private and charter schools, and the requirements for becoming a substitute teacher there.

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.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Michigan State Department of Education: https://www.michigan.gov/mde/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives: http://milmi.org/datasearch/projections-excel
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Michigan: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mi.htm