Becoming ESL Certified in Michigan

Obtaining English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher certification in Michigan, requires the completion of certain educational and testing requirements. Once these are satisfied, candidates may apply for teaching licensure and the ESL endorsement.

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Economic globalization and increased migration into the U.S. has resulted in a large increase of ELLs (English Language Learners) in Michigan. This has subsequently led to a surge in demand for qualified ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers in the state. In order to become an ESL teacher in Michigan, teachers must obtain licensure and an ESL endorsement. Here, the steps that need to be followed to qualify for an initial teaching license and ESL endorsement, are described.

ESL Teaching Certification Requirements in Michigan

Average Salary for Teachers in Michigan (2016)* $49,780 (Adult, Basic, and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education, preferably Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
Testing Requirements MTTC English as a Second Language (086)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

There are two primary ways to acquire a teaching license and an ESL endorsement in Michigan.

  • Obtain an ESL minor as part of your approved bachelor's degree and/or teacher preparation programs.
  • For ESL teaching candidates who do not possess a bachelor's degree with the minimum of an ESL minor, undertake a TESOL graduate master's degree, or endorsement program.

Whichever pathway is chosen, a candidate must complete at least 20 semester hours of ESL coursework during an elementary or secondary program so that their university can recommend them for the ESL endorsement alongside teacher certification. Candidates taking a K-12 program should complete 24 semester hours of ESL coursework.

Typical courses that ESL teaching candidates might take include:

  • Teaching ESL
  • Second language learning
  • Second language assessment
  • TESOL strategies

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Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

In addition to completing an appropriate degree program, teaching preparation program and/or endorsement program, a candidate must pass the relevant Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC).

Candidates seeking an elementary-level teaching certificate must successfully pass the Elementary Education test (test code 103). The passing score is 220. These candidates must then pass the ESL subject-area test (ESL test code 086) if they wish to teach ESL in grades 6-8. The passing score is once again 220.

Those pursuing a secondary level teaching certificate must pass the ESL subject-area test. The test can be taken as early in a college program as a candidate wishes. However, an academic advisor may suggest that at least 90% of the coursework requirement is completed before taking the test.

This is a standardized test which lasts two and a half hours and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. Twenty-five percent of the questions test candidates on the Application of Standards-Based Curriculum and Instruction. The rest of the questions are split evenly (15% each) across the following subjects:

  • Language, Linguistics, and Comparisons
  • Culture
  • Second Language Acquisition and Instructional Practices
  • Assessment
  • Culture

Once this test has been successfully completed, candidates can apply to the Michigan Department of Education for the ESL endorsement.

Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License with Endorsement

Applications for both a candidate's initial Michigan teaching license and ESL endorsement must be made online through MDOE's Online Educator Certification System. The candidate will need to create an account and make a note of their Michigan Education Information Systems (MEIS) account number. The system will guide candidates through the application process. Candidates who have completed an endorsement program at a Michigan institution should work directly with their certification officer to ensure the application is correctly processed.

Candidates must apply for their ESL endorsement within five years of completing the MTTC ESL test. Any longer and the test must be taken again.

ESL Teacher Certification Resources

Please follow the link below to access our resources for helping ESL teacher candidates study for their Michigan teacher certification exams:

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