Michigan: Teacher Credentialing in Michigan

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In the state of Michigan, individuals who wish to become a teacher must obtain the proper credentials. The Michigan Department of Education mandates that teacher hopefuls complete required educational aspects, complete teacher preparation, and then sit for required skill tests. Once all of these aspects are completed, the potential teacher must pass drug screening and a background check before finally receiving their teacher's certification. It is only with the teacher's certification that they can be legally employed in the state in any situation as a teacher (including public, private, and parochial settings).

Required Coursework

The first step in obtaining the necessary credentials to become a teacher is to obtain a bachelor's degree in education. The bachelor's degree must come from a state accredited college or university (you can check with the Michigan Department of Education to ensure your school is properly accredited). This bachelor's degree may be in any formal educational field. The state does not mandate that a specialization is necessary, though encourages this to ensure that the student meets the standards set forth by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, students are also encouraged to pursue their master's or higher degree.

The state does not specify any specific undergraduate level educational requirements, though the student does need to take any undergraduate courses required to obtain the bachelor's degree.

Required Preparation

After obtaining your necessary education, the next step in the process is to obtain teacher preparation. This is provided only through an accredited teacher education program (sometimes offered through the college or university, other times offered through the Michigan Department of Education). This preparation program contains two elements. The first is an element in which the student will learn the foundational skills required to becoming a teacher, including learning how to develop and implement a curriculum, meeting curriculum goals as well as learning how to develop and execute lesson plans.

From this aspect, the student will then move into the classroom. The teacher preparation places the student at first in an observation role with a certified teacher. They will later complete specific student teaching requirements where they will teach in the classroom under a certified teacher's observation.

Required Testing

Once the student teacher has completed all of this necessary education and training, he or she is then allowed to sit for the necessary basic skills tests. The Michigan Department of Education establishes and administers this test. It is the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification or MTTC. Most teachers will also need to sit for the MTTC Elementary or other subject area test as well, if you have a specialized area of competence.

Those who have a bachelor's degree with an accredited school but do not have an educational degree may qualify for an alternative certification under the Michigan education laws. However, approval is necessary from the Michigan Department of Education.

After successfully passing the necessary tests as required by law, the Michigan Department of Education's application for teacher certification is available to the student. A drug screening and background check are necessary.

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