Michigan Special Education Teacher Certification Requirements

Students with learning difficulties need teachers who are specially trained to allow them to develop in an education environment. In Michigan, special education teachers must complete specific education and testing requirements to obtain certification.

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Disabled students have a right to a good education as much as anyone else. However, in order for them to fulfil their academic and social potential, they need the help of educators who are trained in the specific teaching strategies which give them the best chance of overcoming their physical and mental challenges to develop well in an education environment. In Michigan, prospective special education teachers must satisfy a number of education, training and testing requirements in order to qualify for certification.

Michigan Special Education Teaching Certification Requirements

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Michigan (2017)* $64,770 (Elementary), $62,990 (Middle), $65,830 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Special Education
Testing Requirements Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC)

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

Aspiring special education teachers in Michigan must complete a bachelor's degree in special education from an accredited higher education institute. The degree should incorporate an approved preparation program. Additionally, teacher candidates must complete required reading courses which for prospective elementary teachers consist of six semester credit hours and for secondary level teachers comprises three semester credit hours. This required reading requirement is incorporated into the approved preparation program.

In addition to taking general education courses, candidates enrolled in a special education preparation program will generally take courses in subject areas such as:

  • Strategies for learning disabilities
  • Special needs classroom management
  • Literacy instruction for learning disabilities
  • Emotional impairments teaching strategies

Approved preparation programs will also include a practical element where candidates will acquire classroom teaching experience by way of a practicum or internship.

In addition to the required reading courses, prospective teachers in Michigan also need to complete a first aid and CPR course. The state's department of education accepts certificates issued by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association or other accredited institutions.

Teachers who already have a Michigan teacher certificate and wish to add special education as an endorsement must complete an approved program relevant to the special education concentration they wish to add, and pass the appropriate test(s).

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teaching Gifted and Talented Students
  • Teaching Special Education - Autism
  • Teaching Special Education - Developmentally Delayed
  • Teaching Special Education - Emotional Disturbances
  • Teaching Special Education - Hearing Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Learning Disabilities
  • Teaching Special Education - Mental Retardation
  • Teaching Special Education - Multiple Disabilities
  • Teaching Special Education - Orthopedic Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Speech Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education - Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Teaching Special Education - Vision Impairments
  • Teaching Special Education, Children and Young Children

Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

All teacher candidates in Michigan must pass the relevant Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). For special education teacher candidates, the MTTC they take will depend on the concentration they wish to teach. Here are the options:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (code: 064)
  • Cognitive Impairment (056)
  • Hearing Impaired (062)
  • Learning Disabilities (063)
  • Physical or Other Health Impairment (058)
  • Speech and Language Impaired (057)
  • Visually Impaired (061)

Candidates should check with their preparation provider as to which test(s) they need to take. The tests consist of 100 multiple-choice questions which candidates have 2 hours 30 minutes to answer. The passing score is 220 and the test registration fee is $129 per test. Test results are valid for five years.

Step 3: Apply for Initial Michigan Teaching Licensure with Special Education Endorsement

Once teacher candidates have successfully completed the education component and passed the relevant tests, they are ready to apply for their initial Michigan teaching license and special education endorsement. This application must be made electronically using the Michigan Department of Education's Online Educator Certification System (MOECS). Upon opening an account with the system, candidates should make a note of their Michigan Education Information Systems (MEIS) account number.

Michigan Special Education Teacher Certification Resources

Special education teacher candidates in Michigan can click on the link below to access our detailed study guides which will help them prepare for their certification tests:

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