Choose a Preparation Program

Become a Teacher

Choose a Preparation Program

We are excited you are interested in becoming a Michigan teacher!



Michigan law and rules require that all individuals complete an approved preparation program (e.g., math education, elementary education, English education) in order to become a teacher in Michigan. In addition to completion of an approved teacher preparation program, Michigan law requires that teachers:  

  • Complete required reading courses (6 semester credit hours for elementary teachers and 3 semester credit hours for secondary teachers);  
  • Complete a course in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation which leads to a valid certification from the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or a comparable organization/institution approved by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE);  
  • Pass the appropriate Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) content examinations. Passage of content examinations is required before recommendation for certification. In alternative route programs, testing is required prior to entrance into the program.  

Michigan approved Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) guide prospective educators through these requirements.  

Additional financial support may be available by way of student loan forgiveness, specifically for employment in schools identified as high need.  

Review approved preparation programs.


Preparation Pathways

Preparation Pathway

Traditional Route (Undergraduate)

This pathway begins with earning a bachelor’s degree and is offered through an approved educator preparation program at a four-year Michigan college or university. You must meet the minimum requirements of that institution to be admitted into the program. You should select your major based on the subject areas and grade levels that you want to teach. If you haven't taken any coursework, it takes about 4-6 years to complete the bachelor’s degree and teaching program.

Preparation Pathway

Traditional Route (Post-Bachelor’s)

This pathway is offered through an approved educator preparation program at a four-year Michigan college or university. Some institutions offer certification only options or a master’s degree plus teaching certificate. Some institutions offer online or weekend coursework. You will need to check with the institution to ensure they offer these options. It takes about 1-3 years to complete a traditional route post-bachelor’s program if you have a background in the subject area in which you are seeking certification.

Preparation Pathway

Expedited Traditional Route

This pathway allows you to compete a preparation program in an expedited manner by leveraging skills you already have. It is designed for if you already have a bachelor’s degree. Many expedited programs are residencies, allowing you to be employed as a full-time teacher while concurrently working toward certification. These programs are operated by Michigan colleges and universities and are often partnerships with certain districts. It takes about 1-2 years to complete an expedited program if you have a background in the subject area in which you are seeking certification.

Approved Expedited Preparation Providers

Preparation Pathway

Alternative Route

This pathway allows you to be employed as a full-time teacher with an Interim Teaching Certificate. In order to be issued an Interim Teaching Certificate, you must pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification in the content area in which you will be certified. You must also be employed by a district. You can work with an alternative route provider to find employment. It takes about 3-5 years to complete an alternative route program. Under law, career and technical education and special education endorsement are not available through this pathway.

Approved alternative route preparation programs

Preparation Pathway

Out-of-State Certificate

To be employed in a Michigan school, you must hold a valid Michigan teaching certificate. We work hard to match the certificate level and endorsements on your certificate from another state. This may mean you need to complete other requirements necessary for Michigan certification. Submit an application in the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) to begin an evaluation by our certification specialists. MOECS will determine which certificate is being applied for based on your answers to application questions and you will receive an email with any additional requirements you need to meet.  

Learn more about transferring your out-of-state certificate

Choosing a

Subject Area

Choosing an Endorsement

In Michigan, you earn endorsements on your certificate based on the subject area and grade levels you want to teach. All certificates must have at least one endorsement and some endorsements cannot be earned alone (for example, special education endorsements require an endorsement in a general education subject area). Teachers who have more than one endorsement tend to be more marketable and able to find a job, as they could teach multiple subject areas. Work with your educator preparation provider to determine which endorsement areas are marketable in your area. 

Do you already have a Michigan teaching certificate? Michigan also offers advanced options. Visit to learn more about additional endorsements and advanced programs. 

Early Childhood General and Special Education (Birth-Kindergarten)

Lower Elementary Education (PK-3)

Upper Elementary Education (3-6)

Elementary K-5 All Subjects (K-8 All Subjects in a Self-Contained Classroom) 

At this time, you can choose to focus at the elementary (K-8) level or the secondary (6-12) level. 


Elementary K-5 All Subjects (K-8 All Subjects in a Self-Contained Classroom) 

AND Choose one or more of the following: 

  • K-8 Language Arts 
  • K-8 Mathematics  
  • K-8 Integrated Science 
  • K-8 Social Studies 


Choose one or more of the following: 

  • 6-12 Language Arts 
  • 6-12 Mathematics 
  • 6-12 Science 
  • 6-12 Social Studies 

Beginning in Fall 2023, Michigan educator preparation programs will begin offering new endorsement areas focused specifically on the middle grades. You could choose one or more of these subject areas. 

  • 5-9 English Language Arts Coming Fall 2023 
  • 5-9 Mathematics Coming Fall 2023 
  • 5-9 Integrated Science Coming Fall 2025 
  • 5-9 Social Studies Coming Fall 2025 

For high school teaching, you can choose a broad content area (like integrated science) or a specialized content area (like biology). The broad content areas allow you to teach in all of the sub-areas of that content (a person with an integrated science endorsement can teach a course called “Science” or a course called Biology. A person with a Biology endorsement can only teach a course called biology. You should work with your educator preparation program advisor to discuss which endorsement areas are marketable together.  

  • English Language Arts 
  • English 
  • Speech 
  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Integrated Science 
  • Biology 
  • Chemistry 
  • Physics 
  • Earth Space Science 
  • Physical Science 
  • Social Studies 
  • Economics 
  • Geography 
  • History 
  • Political Science 
  • Psychology 
  • Business, Management Marketing, and Technology 
  • Family and Consumer Sciences 
  • Agriscience and Natural Resources 
  • Industrial and Technology Education 

Beginning in Fall 2023, Michigan educator preparation programs will begin offering new endorsement areas focused specifically on high school content. You could choose one or more of these subject areas. 

  • 7-12 English Language Arts Coming Fall 2023 
  • 7-12 Mathematics Coming Fall 2023 
  • 7-12 Integrated Science Coming Fall 2025 
  • 7-12 Social Studies Coming Fall 2025 

Michigan also offers teaching programs in other areas of specialization. You could choose one or more of these options. The areas labeled with a * must be earned along with a content area endorsement, such as Elementary K-5 All Subjects (K-8 All Subjects in a Self-Contained Classroom) or 6-12 Mathematics. 

  • K-12 Music Education 
  • K-12 Visual Arts Education 
  • K-12 World Language (Choose from French, German, Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, Arabic (Modern Standard), Japanese, Anishinaabemowin Language and Culture, Chinese (Mandarin), American Sign Language, or Other) 
  • K-12 Bilingual Education* (Choose from English as a Second Language, French, German, Greek, Russian, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Hebrew, Arabic, Vietnamese, Korean, Serbo-Croatian/Bosnian, Chaldean, Filipino, Japanese) 
  • K-12 Special Education* (Choose from: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cognitive Impairment, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Emotional Impairment, Learning Disabilities, Physical or other Health Impairment, Physical Education for Students with Disabilities, Speech and Language Impairment, or Visual Impairment)


Critical Shortage

K-12 teaching has been identified as one of Michigan's Hot 50 high-demand, high-wage careers. Some subject or geographical areas have greater demand than others. The Michigan Department of Education maintains two lists of subject areas for which there is a statewide demand of teachers for open postions. You may consider these lists in choosing subject areas to study that are the most marketable, or most likely to result in employment after graduation.

The United States Department of Education requires the Michigan Department of Education to provide a yearly list of discipline areas for which new teachers or teachers with student loans can obtain loan forgiveness or deferment. Eligibility for loan forgiveness or deferment is also dependent on working in the schools that have been identified with the highest need. More information on eligible schools can be found using the following directories:

The following subject areas were submitted as critical shortage areas for this purpose:

  • Art and Music Education: Visual, Music & Dance
  • Bilingual Education
  • Career and Technical Education: All
  • Elementary Education
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Health
  • Industrial and Technology Education
  • Physical Fitness
  • Language Arts: All Reading and
  • Literacy
  • Library Media
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • School Guidance and Counseling
  • School Social Workers
  • Sciences
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • Special Education: Administrator
  • Special Education: All Exceptionalities, Roles and Supports
  • World Languages: All World Language

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