How to Become a Teacher in Michigan

Learn what it takes to earn a teaching certification in Michigan, what teaching job prospects look like, and what kind of salary you can expect.

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by Doug Wintemute

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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How to Become a Teacher in Michigan

According to the Education Policy Innovation Collaborative, the COVID-19 pandemic amplified Michigan's teacher shortage. While this has provided students pursuing teaching certification in Michigan with great opportunities, aspiring teachers have to ensure they take the appropriate steps to enter the profession as seamlessly as possible.

As with most states, teaching in Michigan requires an approved education and certification. New students or those returning to college for a teaching degree can choose from over 130 education preparation programs and many of the best online colleges in Michigan. On this page, we explore the professional landscape for aspiring teachers in Michigan, including the certification requirements, alternative paths, and possible career opportunities.

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Ready to start your journey?

How Do I Become a Teacher in Michigan?

Teaching in Michigan at the elementary, secondary, and high school levels requires certification. While certificates, certifications, and licenses typically differ, these terms tend to be used interchangeably in Michigan. Prospective teachers here need to complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) for eligibility.

According to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), teaching candidates can then apply for a standard teaching certificate. Once certified, they need sufficient teaching experience to qualify for the professional teaching certificate. Since Michigan has an Interstate Compact Agreement with the other states, out-of-state applicants with adequate teaching credentials may qualify for teaching certification in Michigan without further training.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

To qualify for teaching certification in Michigan, candidates need to complete an approved educator preparation bachelor's program, such as a bachelor's in education. The approved study subjects depend on the desired teaching level and may include:

Prospective teachers need to complete courses in reading methods, reading diagnostics and remediation, and 150 hours of education-related professional learning to qualify for the professional teaching certificate.

Candidates with a bachelor's degree from a non-traditional discipline may still teach if they pursue a teacher preparation program and acquire an interim teaching certificate. Prospective teachers taking this route need to complete courses in diverse learners, child development, family and community relationships, and instructional strategies. They also need a minimum 3.0 GPA from their training.

Gain Student Teaching Experience

While teacher preparation programs may include experiential training, Michigan's experience requirements begin after the prospective teacher acquires their initial standard or interim teaching certificate. According to the MDE, teachers need a minimum of three years of experience teaching in Michigan to move from standard to professional certification.

Furthermore, teachers with an interim certification need three years of experience to move to standard certification. The experience needs to come in the desired teaching level, subject, content, and discipline area. New teachers with less than three years of experience also need to complete 15 days of professional development training and mentorship training.

Pass Required Certification Tests

Candidates for teaching certification in Michigan need to pass the MTTC in their respective field. Testing requirements may vary, but they usually feature 80-100 multiple choice questions and a testing time of 2.5 hours. The testing fee is $129. Test-takers need a score of 220 to pass the exam.

Prospective teachers can test in more than 65 subject areas, including:

Apply for Certification

After prospective teachers complete the MTTC exam, their results will be sent to the MDE directly. They must also submit a conviction disclosure and pay the application fee to acquire their initial standard teaching certificate. As per the MDE, in-state students pay $160 and out-of-state students pay $210.

For the professional teaching certificate, candidates need to submit course verification and work experience forms. They also need to pay the same application fees as standard certificates, $160 for in-state students and $210 for out-of-state students. Once all documents and fees have been received, the application will begin processing immediately.

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Michigan?

Both the professional and standard teaching certifications in Michigan last for five years before they need renewal. To qualify, teachers need to complete 150 hours of professional learning. They can also complete a master's degree or earn an out-of-state teaching certificate to meet the requirements.

Teachers need to pay a $100 renewal fee for the standard certificate and $160 for the professional certificate. All educators need valid and active certification while teaching in Michigan. If certification lapses, teachers need to complete 150 hours of professional learning and pay the renewal fee to get it reinstated.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Michigan

According to the MDE, Michigan has a shortage of teachers. The state has invested $300-$500 million in recruiting new and out-of-state teachers to help manage the issue. This bodes well for students looking for teaching careers and education careers in Michigan.

Graduates with a teaching certification in Michigan enter a strong workforce. The state employed more than 200,000 educational professionals in May 2020, as per the BLS. These professionals made annual mean wages from $57,160, higher than the annual mean wage for all occupations.

With a master's in education, aspiring teachers may have access to more appealing, higher-paying, and leadership positions. When choosing to attend graduate school, prospective students should think about their career goals and determine if a master's degree is necessary for their desired path.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Michigan

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

These teachers educate kindergarten and elementary school students, teaching the main subjects, including reading and mathematics. They create lesson plans, assess student progress, and manage diverse classroom behaviors. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers also work with students and their families to overcome learning challenges.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

Middle School Teacher

These teachers educate middle school students in core subjects, preparing them for high school and beyond. They develop their own classroom rules and lesson plans while following curriculum guidelines and school regulations. Teachers may be responsible for many subjects or specialize in one area.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers provide educational support for students with intellectual and physical disabilities. They develop lesson plans, activities, and assessments designed to educate and prepare students for their next transition. These teachers adapt curriculums to each individual student and work with their families to maintain consistency at home.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

High School Teacher

These teachers educate classrooms of students in their particular discipline. They create the lesson plans, help students progress and improve, and manage their classrooms. High school teachers also provide support and counseling to help prepare students for standardized tests and life after high school.

Median Annual Salary: $67,870

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators develop and improve curriculums to adhere to school and board standards and policies. They also create and implement new educational materials, teaching techniques, and assessment strategies. These coordinators may create training programs and suggest curriculum and learning material changes as well.

Median Annual Salary: $66,970

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Michigan

How do I get a teaching certification in Michigan?

To get a teaching certification in Michigan, prospective educators need to complete each of the requirements for that level. Most certifications require a bachelor's degree in an approved subject area. Prospective teachers then need to pass the MTTC and apply for a standard teaching certificate.

Once certified, they can begin teaching in Michigan. After three years of teaching experience, educators can apply for the professional teaching certificate. They also need to complete the 150-hour professional learning requirements to qualify.

Can I teach in Michigan without certification?

To qualify for a career in teaching in Michigan, all candidates need to possess valid certification. While they typically need a bachelor's degree in an approved subject to qualify, alternate paths are available. For example, substitute teaching permits may be available on a temporary basis or for field experts in some cases.

Candidates with a bachelor's degree in a non-traditional field can pursue an interim teaching certificate if they register for a teacher preparation program as well. Once interim teachers have three years of teaching experience and have completed their teacher preparation program, they may qualify for a standard teaching certificate.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Michigan?

After high school, standard teaching certification in Michigan can be acquired in approximately four years. Candidates usually finish their required bachelor's degree in four years, and they can then take the MTTC and earn certification directly afterward.

Professional teaching certification in Michigan takes candidates about seven years to achieve. That gives them time to complete their four-year bachelor's degree and satisfy the three years of work experience requirement.

What can I do with teaching certification in Michigan?

Teaching certification in Michigan qualifies professionals to work in elementary, middle, secondary, and high school classrooms. Kindergarten teachers can work in all K-5 classrooms and inclusive 5-8 classrooms. Secondary teachers can work in 6-12 classrooms.

Special education teaching certifications qualify holders to work in K-12 special education classrooms. Teaching certification in Michigan can be acquired for career and technical education classrooms as well.

How do I become a substitute teacher in Michigan?

Substitute teachers in Michigan need one of four permits to work in a classroom, as per the MDE. A daily permit is limited to 90 days of teaching per year and requires candidates to complete at least 60 credit hours of postsecondary training. A full-year basic substitute permit requires candidates to have 60 credit hours of completed postsecondary training.

Part-time teachers can acquire a full-year shortage substitute permit with a professional teaching certificate. An expert permit may be available for part-time positions if candidates have at least five years of professional experience or unusual distinction. Schools can pursue substitute teacher permits if a certified teacher is not available.

Feature Image: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images

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