Certification for English Language Teachers in Michigan

Oct 11, 2019

Teaching English language learners requires the educator to fulfill certain requirements that validate qualifications to teach students who primarily speak a foreign language. This article provides information on how to obtain an ESL teaching certification in Michigan.

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Becoming certified to teach English learners in Michigan requires a candidate to meet the standards set by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to teach children who primarily speak a foreign language. Not only is the certified teacher required to teach the English language, they are also required to possess cultural awareness to implement curriculum to meet the needs of foreign language-speaking students. This article provides information on being certified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in Michigan.

English Language Teaching Certification Requirements in Michigan

Average Salaries for Teachers in Michigan (2018)* $66,180 (Elementary School), $64,540 (Middle School), $62,950 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field ESL or TESOL Master's Degree or Bachelor's Degree with a Minor in ESL
Testing Requirements Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (103) or (086)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Qualified teacher certification candidates in Michigan are required to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. Degree programs that lead directly to ESL certification are generally master's programs in ESL or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) that are offered through MDE-approved providers. If the candidate earns a master's they will just need to pass the required assessments to apply for certification.

If the candidate is earning a bachelor's they must earn an education degree that meets the requirements set by the MDE. The MDE requires that the candidate complete a degree that includes a teacher preparation program. Courses that must be completed in the degree program include elementary and/or secondary pedagogy practices, coursework in the initial subject area of certification (math, science, social studies, elementary education, etc.), and a minimum of 20 hours of coursework to achieve a minor in ESL. Additional coursework in reading will be required for all elementary and secondary education teachers, and an in-classroom teaching internship must be fulfilled to qualify for endorsement. All approved MDE programs require the candidate to complete a first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation program.

Step 2: Complete Required Assessments

The second step to earning an ESL teaching certification is to pass the assessments required by the MDE. All Michigan teacher certification candidates are required to pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). If the candidate is seeking certification at the elementary grade level, the MTTC Elementary Education (103) exam is required. The exam must be passed with a score of 220 or higher and is a computer-based exam that consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. The candidate will have three hours and thirty minutes to complete the assessment and must pay the $129 test fee to take the exam.

If the candidate is seeking certification in a secondary level grade, the MTTC English as a Second Language (086) exam must be passed with a score of 220 or higher. This exam also has a fee of $129 to take and consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that are administered through a computer-based exam.

Step 3: Complete Certification Requirements

Candidates must submit an application for certification through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS). The candidate will be required to create an MOECS account to begin the application process. In-state program participants must pay a fee of $160 and out-of-state program participants must pay $210 to submit the application for certification. Once all certification and exam requirements have been fulfilled, the candidate will be issued a Michigan standard teaching certification that is valid for five years. The candidate is required to pay a fee of $160 for the initial certification and an additional $50 for the endorsement in ESL. Certification must be issued within two years of application fee being paid. If certification is not issued within this time, the applicant will have to pay the fees again.

ESL Teacher Certification Resources

The links below provide informative resources to help prepare students for the assessments required to become an ESL teacher in Michigan:

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