Online Teaching Programs in Michigan

Michigan teachers have never been more important. Due to a high number of teachers retiring, the state is experiencing shortages of math teachers, special educators, world language teachers, and reading specialists. To incentivize educators, the state offers prospective teachers many routes to teaching certification, many of which involve online learning.

There are many paths to becoming a teacher in Michigan, but they all start with a degree. The first step to becoming a Michigan teacher is to earn a bachelor’s degree in education or another field. From there, both in-state and out-of-state teachers must earn their teaching certificate in Michigan.

Michigan is part of the Interstate Compact Agreement, a reciprocal program that allows out-of-state teachers to transfer their teaching license into a Michigan license and vice versa.

Earning a teaching degree online has several benefits. Students earning a degree online can study according to their own schedule while maintaining their career. Students who already have a bachelor’s degree can also earn their teaching certification online while they teach in Michigan. The state’s alternative route to teaching allows degree-holders to work in the classroom while they complete the mandatory teacher preparation program required for full certification. In this instance, online programs are especially valuable, since they allow working teachers to complete their coursework after school hours or on weekends.

Each state has its own teaching certification requirements. However, Michigan is part of the Interstate Compact Agreement, a reciprocal program that allows out-of-state teachers to transfer their teaching license into a Michigan license and vice versa, as long as the teachers meet certain criteria and complete a few peripheral requirements. Students can also earn their teaching degree from an online program based in another state, as long as the school is regionally accredited and approved by the Michigan Board of Education.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Michigan?

Every state requires teachers to earn a state-specific license. These licenses do not carry over state lines, meaning that those who plan on teaching in Michigan must first earn a Michigan teaching license. However, because it is part of the Interstate Compact Agreement (ICA), Michigan accepts out-of-state teaching certifications on a reciprocal basis with other participating states. In order to transfer out-of-state credentials and earn a Michigan teaching certification, teachers must apply to have their credentials evaluated. This is done through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System.

In addition to completing an approved teacher preparation program, Michigan teachers must also complete a CPR and first aid training course, 3-6 credits of required reading courses, a basic skills assessment called the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC), and, if applicable, a subject area test. Out-of-state teachers who have not met these requirements must do so before they can begin teaching in Michigan.

Educational Requirements

Michigan requires that all teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program. The bachelor’s degree doesn’t need to be in the field of education or teaching, but the preparation program may require certain education courses as well as a student teaching requirement. While an associate degree in teaching does not qualify you to become a teacher in Michigan, it does create a pathway to earning a bachelor’s degree and becoming certified to teach. Those with an associate degree can also enter entry-level positions in early childhood education, such as a preschool teaching assistant.

Earning a bachelor’s degree and completing the Michigan teaching requirements can take as little as three years and as many as five, depending on a variety of factors like the size of your course load, transfer credits, type of bachelor’s program, and type of teacher preparation program. Earning a master’s degree in education or another field typically takes an additional two years. A master’s degree qualifies teachers for a higher level of teaching certificate in Michigan called the professional teaching certificate.

Most traditional teacher preparation pathways, including online teaching programs in Michigan, require students to complete the program before they teach. The program includes coursework focusing on the student’s area of interest as well as student teaching opportunities that put students directly in the classroom.

Other pathways, like the accelerated pathway and alternative route, allow qualifying teachers who already possess a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 GPA to teach with an interim teaching certificate while they pursue standard certification. Teachers earning their certification through the alternative route must complete their preparation program and peripheral requirements, such as first aid training and the MTTC exam. The Michigan Department of Education’s website maintains a list of approved education preparation providers.

Because Michigan is part of the ICA, a Michigan teaching license will transfer to any participating ICA state.

Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Michigan

Associate Degree in Teaching

Early Childhood DevelopmentIn this course, students learn to identify the normal and abnormal milestones in development — physical, cognitive, and behavioral — for children 12 years and younger, with a focus on preschool-aged children.
Developing an Anti-bias CurriculumStudents learn how to develop a curriculum that is fair, equal, and tolerant of student differences. The course also explores how certain behaviors and attitudes in the classroom can affect childhood learning and development.
Educational PsychologyStudents explore the psychology of learning and teaching. The course emphasizes the emotional, cognitive, and social development of school-aged children and how educational psychology relates to classroom discipline, motivation, and instruction.

Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching

Classroom DevelopmentStudents learn how to create a positive, fair, healthy, and productive classroom environment. Through coursework and fieldwork, students form a classroom development plan they can ultimately implement with their own students.
Educational FoundationIn this course, students examine past and present practices in American education and school culture, determining their value, flaws, and justifications. Students leave the course with a deeper understanding of education in the U.S.
Theory and Techniques of InstructionIn this course, students learn about teaching methods and strategies. They observe and simulate classroom procedures and practice teaching in a real classroom setting. They explore topics like multicultural education, decision making, and instructional theory.

Master’s Degree in Teaching

Case Studies in Educational LeadershipIn this course, students develop their own definition of leadership through readings, analysis, and case histories. They learn about the tenants of leadership and create their own educational leadership philosophy.
Teaching Students OnlineIn this course, prospective teachers learn how to leverage technology to communicate and collaborate with students and colleagues online. Students explore the pros and cons of online learning platforms and management systems and how to effectively apply teaching methodologies in online contexts.
Learning Communities and EquityThis course explores the ways social, cultural, and economic differences can affect learning in the classroom. Students look closely at topics like the achievement gap, culturally relevant and fair pedagogy, and parental involvement.

Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Michigan

Michigan grants several types of teaching certificates. The most basic of these is the standard teaching certificate (formerly the provisional teaching certificate), which lasts for five years and which teachers can renew indefinitely. Teachers who have a master’s degree or three years of teaching experience can earn their professional teaching certificate. Teachers moving to Michigan from out-of-state or those who already have a bachelor’s degree can apply for an interim teaching certificate, which allows educators to teach while they earn their standard teaching certification. Prospective teachers can apply for and renew their certificates through the Michigan Online Educator Certificate System. These certificates cost between $160-210.

A variety of pathways ensures that people from many different backgrounds and disciplines can find a route to working as an educator.

Before applying for a teaching certificate, Michigan requires teachers to complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass a basic skills test, called the MTTC. Michigan offers several types of teacher preparation pathways, each of which has different requirements and serves a different purpose. The variety of pathways ensures that people from many different backgrounds and disciplines can find a route to working as an educator.

Undergraduate students who know they want to teach can complete a teacher preparation program as part of their studies at an approved Michigan university or college. Those who already have a bachelor’s degree (in education or another subject area) can complete the Michigan teaching requirements while they teach with an interim teaching certificate. This option is known as the alternative route to Michigan certification, which allows teachers to get into the classroom faster and earn their credentials while they work. To qualify for an alternative certification program and earn an interim teaching certificate, teachers must already hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better, pass the MTTC, and pass a subject area exam. Teach for America – Detroit also provides a path to certification for degree-holding teachers willing to teach in a low-income community for two years.

Regardless of the type of teacher preparation program, students must complete their program at an accredited school. Schools accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) are held in especially high esteem.

Choosing a Program in Michigan

Choosing a program is never easy. Students wanting to teach in Michigan must consider several factors when selecting the program that’s right for them. Most importantly, students must make sure their program is regionally accredited, since Michigan requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The state particularly values accreditation from CAEP.

Students may also want to earn their degree from a school with an approved teacher preparation program, since these lead directly to recommendation for state certification. To check whether a program falls under this distinction, prospective teachers can check the list of approved programs on the Michigan Department of Education’s website. If an online school does not offer an approved preparation program, students will need to complete this requirement through an approved program before receiving full certification.

In addition to accreditation, students must also consider factors like cost, location, and the length of the program. Most online bachelor’s programs take around four years to complete, but this length can vary depending on the program format, accelerated courses, and whether the school accepts transfer credits. Students who know what subject or grade level they want to teach should look into specialized programs, such as those that focus on early childhood education, elementary or secondary education, ESL, or special education. Those wanting to earn their teaching degree on their own time at their own pace can benefit from an online teaching degree.

Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Michigan?

Students can earn both their teaching degree and Michigan teaching certification online, without having to step foot on campus. Many universities and colleges in Michigan offer degrees with approved teaching programs that lead directly to recommendation for Michigan teaching certification. These programs blend coursework and student teaching experiences that prepare students for the MCCT exam and full certification.

Online teaching programs must be regionally accredited. Schools that offer teacher preparation programs must be accredited through a state-approved accreditation agency, whether the school is in Michigan or out-of-state. All qualifying teacher preparation programs appear on the state of Michigan’s list of approved education preparation providers. Most of these programs are located in Michigan, but are available online, so that students living out-of-state can prepare for their Michigan teaching certification before they become residents.

Students who already have a bachelor’s degree can also earn their teacher certification through an approved online preparation program at one of Michigan’s schools. However, they must make sure that their bachelor’s degree is from a regionally accredited program. Most teacher preparation programs require student teaching as a component, but students earning their certification through an alternate route can begin teaching while they earn their certification online.

Directory of Teaching Schools in Michigan

Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Michigan

Students studying to become educators in Michigan can pay for their degree in a variety of ways. In addition to scholarships, loans, and grants, students can also enroll in tuition reimbursement programs once they begin their teaching career. In addition to financial aid and scholarships, students also often pay for their degree by working as they study. The flexibility of online teaching programs allows students to maintain employment as they advance toward their degree. Distance students also save money on housing, transportation, and fees associated with living on campus.

Students should fill out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form to determine what kind of federal aid they quality for. Through FAFSA, students can find loans, grants, and work-study programs to help cover the cost of tuition. Students can also check with their school and major department to see what kind of scholarships may be available for education students. Through additional research, students may also find scholarships within their community. Often, community centers, non-profit organizations, churches, and even local businesses offer scholarships to local students or area high-school graduates. Students can also research scholarships and grant opportunities through national programs like the American Montessori Society and the NAACP.

Loan Forgiveness for Michigan Teachers

The Teacher Loan Forgiveness program rewards highly qualified teachers who serve five consecutive years in low-income or other qualifying schools. The program, which forgives a generous portion of federal student loans, provides an incentive for teachers to teach in low-income or underperforming schools, celebrating teacher commitment and ensuring that low-income students have access to highly qualified educators. The program defines highly qualified teachers as those who possess a bachelor’s degree and hold full state certification, which has not been waived on a temporary, emergency, or provisional basis. This includes teachers who have earned their certification through alternative routes.

Michigan maintains a Teacher Loan Forgiveness program for Michigan teachers. Other schools, in addition to those that serve low-income families, are also eligible for the loan forgiveness program. The Department of Education maintains a directory of eligible schools. Teachers who qualify may receive up to $17,500 in loan forgiveness. This applies to principal and interest accrued through Federal Family Education Loan and Direct Loan programs.

Scholarships for Michigan Teaching Students

College students are eligible for a variety of scholarships through their school, department, and outside organizations. Those studying to become teachers in Michigan should research scholarships available through their school and community. Most organizations award scholarships on the basis of merit, financial need, or special circumstance, such as first generation students, students from a certain county, or female math students.

Miriam Schaefer Scholarship $3,000

Who Can Apply: Michigan residents actively enrolled at an elementary or secondary teacher education program at a Michigan university or college. The program must specialize in mathematics and the student must be either a junior or senior with a GPA of 3.0 or better. View Scholarship

Grand Rapids Community Foundation Audrey L. Wright Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Residents of Kent County pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education or a foreign language. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. View Scholarship

A.C. Kate and Leo Joseph Merlone Teaching Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate or graduate students at a Michigan university studying education. Must be graduates of a high school in Saginaw County and have a GPA of 3.0 or better. View Scholarship

Tom Krzyzaniak Teaching Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Students who graduated from a high school in Midland, Bay, or Saginaw Counties who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in education at a Michigan university. Students can be enrolled part-time or full-time but must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. View Scholarship

Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Michigan

LocationEmploymentAnnual Mean Wage
United States8,636,430$54,520

Teachers in Michigan earn, on average, slightly more than the average for teachers across the U.S. Like in most states, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Michigan earn significantly more than preschool and kindergarten teachers. This is due in part to the fact that many preschool teachers work fewer than 40 hours a week, while elementary, middle, and postsecondary teachers typically work full-time schedules.

In Michigan, location greatly affects teacher pay. The annual base salary for teachers teaching in Ann Arbor, for instance, is $7,000 more than the annual base salary for teachers working in Flint. Teachers in rural areas, like in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, tend to earn less than in metropolitan areas like Detroit or Lansing. Other factors, like turnover and retirement, can affect salaries, as new teachers earn less than experienced educators. Shortages in areas like special education and math are especially pressing in Michigan, where retiring teachers have left vacancies.

Average Annual Salary by Teaching Level in Michigan
Source: BLS
Preschool Teachers$31,010
Kindergarten Teachers$58,930
Elementary School Teachers$61,260
Middle School Teachers$63,560
Secondary School Teachers $61,410

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Michigan

How do I get certified to teach in Michigan?

Teachers in Michigan must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in order to receive full certification. In addition, they must complete an approved teacher preparation program, pass the MCCT (a basic teaching skills test), complete first aid training, and have some in-class experience either through student teaching or teaching in a different state.

How much do teachers make a year in Michigan?

The average Michigan school teacher earns $54,630 a year, although this number varies depending on grade level, subject matter, location, and type of school.

How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Michigan?

Earning a teaching certificate in Michigan generally takes 4-6 years, depending on the level of the degree. A bachelor’s degree normally requires four years of study, while a master’s degree typically requires an additional two years. A variety of factors, like course load and program format, can also affect these time frames.

Resources for Teachers in Michigan

  • Michigan Department of Education A state agency that oversees the state’s public school system, Michigan’s Department of Education manages teacher certification and renewal, student assessments, and school evaluations. For educators, the department maintains job postings, grant opportunities, and a directory of schools. It also outlines rules and standards for teachers in Michigan.
  • Michigan Education Association (MEA) Affiliated with the National Education Association, the MEA represents more than 140,000 educators and educator-support workers across the state of Michigan. It advocates for teacher rights and professional goals while generally advocating for public education in Michigan. Members have access to grants, training opportunities, legal assistance, and a membership discount applicable to oil changes, travel, and household items.
  • Michigan Science Teachers Association (MSTA) MSTA connects science educators across Michigan. It influences policies relating to science education and keeps members up to date through journals and a regular newsletter. Members can participate in local or statewide training workshops and in-service meetings as well as an annual conference, for which members receive a discounted entry rate.
  • Michigan Reading Association (MRA) MRA connects educators, parents, and students to enhance and advocate for literacy in the state. Educators have access to member benefits like webinars, conferences, and lesson plans and classroom strategies relating to reading and writing education. The association’s legislative advocate serves as a voice for literacy in local and state policy-making.
  • Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) Focusing on children eight years old and younger, the Michigan’s AEYC chapter strives to improve early childhood education. Members gain access to forums, digital resources like lesson plans, and events like book signings and forums on public policy. Members also receive discounts on insurance, early childhood publications, and the association’s online store.