There are many different paths to teacher certification and each state’s process has its own intricacies. The ultimate goal of every path is the same: to place highly qualified teachers in the classroom. If you’re looking to begin teaching in Michigan, this simplified overview will help to clarify the certification process.
How you earn your Michigan certification depends largely on your current education and employment status.
If you are beginning college
The most straightforward path to teacher certification begins your freshman year of college. If you declare a teaching major at a Michigan college or university your professors and advisors will walk you through the certification process as you complete your degree. The process will include a student teaching internship and the both basic skills and subject area certification tests. When you graduate you will be fully prepared to apply for your provisional certificate. Your provisional certificate will remain valid for 6 years at which point you’ll have the option to move on to a professional certificate or apply for an extension as you compete the required education and testing.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree with a graduating GPA of 3.0 or higher your path to becoming a certified teacher may be quick. First, you must pass both the basic skills test and the subject area tests for the areas in which you would like to teach. Once those tests have been passed you have two options: enroll in a post-graduate certificate program or enroll in an MAT program. Post-graduate certificates are available both online and in person and are usually 12 credit hours while MAT degrees are much more involved. Once you are enrolled in one of these alternate certification programs you can begin the application process for your certificate.
If you hold a valid teaching certification in another state
If you already hold a valid teaching certificate in another state you’re in luck as Michigan offers reciprocity with nationwide. In order to teach your first year you’ll need to have your credentials evaluated through MOECS. You’ll be asked to answer a series of questions and provide documentation of your education and current certifications. It will then be determined which level of certification you are qualified for in Michigan. Once this is determined, you’ll be required to pass the basic skills test and appropriate subject area tests before earning your Michigan certificate. If you don’t have time to complete this process before you begin teaching in Michigan you can apply for a one time Standard Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization which qualifies you to teach in Michigan for one year using your out of state certificate. Keep in mind that this temporary authorization cannot be renewed and that in order to teach for a second year you will need to have attained your provisional or professional certificate.
As you work towards your Michigan teaching certification, whatever your current status, you’ll find these two sites helpful.
MOECS – MOECS is the Michigan Online Education Certification System. This is your home base for certification. You will find your application paperwork, status, history and even your printable certificate on this site.
MTTC – MTTC is the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification. On their website you’ll find study guides, registration instructions and a history of your scores.
As a final step towards certification all Michigan teaching candidates must complete both CPR training and a criminal background check. You can find a CPR class near you on the Red Cross website. Keep in mind you’ll want to renew this certification every two years as long as you continue teaching. Check with your district on fingerprinting requirements and they will likely point you to a local office that can approve you in minutes.
As you work towards your certification be sure to start early. Each process involves several steps and a number of scheduled exams. It can also take a few weeks for your certification to become available once you have completed all of the requirements. Plan ahead and be sure you know exactly what you need to do. Best of luck to you in your teaching pursuits!