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Teaching License Updated August 10, 2014

Michigan Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Michigan

By Room 241 Team August 10, 2014

If you smile at the idea of a classroom full of children eager for you to give them the knowledge they require, a career as a certified teacher may be right for you. By receiving the required education, you can obtain your Michigan teaching certification and start a career in the classroom.

Requirements for certified teachers in Michigan

When you seek to become a Michigan-certified teacher, you must meet the education and testing requirements set by the Michigan Department of Education. Your initial bachelor’s or master’s degree program should be completed at a regionally accepted accredited university, preferably in a field related to the subject you wish to teach.

For you to become certified, you must also complete an approved teacher preparation program to receive a Provisional Certificate, which is your initial Michigan teaching certification. You will also have to take the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification, which consists of three exams approved by the Michigan Department of Education. The three exams are the Basic Skills test, the Elementary Skills test, and a subject area test.

The Basic Skills exam tests your mathematics, writing, and reading skills. The Elementary Skills exam tests your knowledge of all subjects in K-5 grades and all subjects in 6-8 grades in a self-contained classroom. The subject area exams are specific to certain subject areas in major and minor topic areas.

Once you obtain your Provisional certificate, it is valid for three years. On your first renewal, you will have to take nine semester hours of a planned course of study or complete a master’s degree or higher course of study.

Michigan jobs for licensed teachers

You may earn a variety of Michigan teaching certifications based on your education level, whether you have taken a teacher preparation program, and the number of school endorsements you receive. The Michigan Department of Education has 12 different certifications in the teaching field. Some of the main teaching certificates include:

  1. Provisional Certificate: Initial teaching licensure
  2. Provisional Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization: For teachers who hold a certificate in another state and have not yet passed the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification, but who meet all requirements for a Provisional certificate
  3. Professional Education Certificate: For teachers with at least three years of educator experience under a Provisional Certificate; requires additional coursework in reading methods and reading disabilities as well as continuing education requirements
  4. Professional Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization: For out-of-state teachers who have yet to take their Michigan Test for Teacher Certification, but who meet all the requirements for a Professional Education Certificate save the reading methods coursework
  5. Interim Teaching Certificate: Allows classroom teaching while taking a state-approved alternative route teaching program

Teaching certificates come in two current validity levels: elementary and secondary. The elementary certificate is for teaching all K-5 subjects, all K-8 subjects within a self-contained classroom, and 6-8 grades when seeking subject area endorsements. The secondary certificate is for teaching 6-12 grades when seeking subject area endorsements.

If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Michigan for the 2015-2016 school year:

  • Early Childhood Special Education
  • Occupational (multiple areas)
  • Special Education Teachers – All Categories
  • World Languages
    • American Sign Language
    • Bilingual
    • English as a Second Language
    • Native American Languages

A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Teaching license reciprocity in Michigan

Michigan participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.

Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.

Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.

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