Lead preschool teachers create lessons according to state guidelines and give instructions to the students. They also set guidelines and tasks for teacher assistants.
|Average Salary (2018)*||$35,010|
|Required Degree||Bachelor's degree or higher|
|Degree Field||Child development or early childhood education; must specialize in preschool teaching|
|Testing Requirements||Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC), First Aid/CPR Certification|
|Preferred Endorsements||Early Childhood - General and Special Education (ZS) endorsement|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Requirements to Be a Lead Preschool Teacher
Lead preschool teachers in Michigan have different standards than do regular teachers. There are two ways to become a lead preschool teacher in Michigan.
One way to become a lead preschool teacher is to have at least a bachelor's degree in child development or early childhood education. You must have specialized in preschool teaching for this to work. The major of the degree must also be in child development or early childhood education. A minor is not enough.
Alternatively you can have a Michigan Teaching Certification and an Early Childhood - General and Special Education endorsement. For this article we will focus on the certification path instead of the education path.
When using certifications to become a lead preschool teacher, you will need to do the following things in order:
- Complete a background check
- Complete your professional development courses
- Follow the certification pathway of your choice
- Pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC)
- Get your teacher certification
- Get your Early Childhood - General and Special Education (ZS) endorsement
Get a Background Check
All teachers in Michigan must pass a background check with fingerprinting. You must pass a different background check for every state you have lived in within the last 5 years. The only exception is for time spent in a National Fingerprint File (NFF) state. Former NFF state residents do not need to undergo background checks for those states.
Take Required Professional Development Courses
There are two types of professional development courses needed for Michigan teaching certification: required reading and first aid/CPR.
Required reading courses teach you how to help students learn to read. Six credit hours in reading instruction are required at minimum. Required reading courses can be taken at most colleges or universities in Michigan.
First aid/CPR courses let you know know what do to in case of a medical emergency. These courses may be taken through any state-certified source, such as The American Heart Association or The Emergency Care and Safety Institute.
Choose and Follow a Certification Pathway
The most common pathway is to enroll in a bachelor's program in early childhood education or child development at the educator preparation provider of your choice. This is as simple as enrolling in college or university and selecting preschool teaching as your major. Accelerated programs also exist for those who already have bachelor's degrees. They build off of pre-existing studies in order to let you be able to take the MCC earlier.
If you are adding preschool teaching to your previous teaching skills, you may want to consider using an alternative certification pathway instead. These pathways require a valid Interim Teaching Certificate (ITC), but allow you to be able to teach preschool full time in Michigan while you study. Your GPA must stay above 3.0 or you will lose your ITC.
Take the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification
The MTTC is taken via computer at various testing centers across the state of Michigan. It requires both a testing fee of $129 and an appointment to be scheduled ahead of time. The MTTC may be taken any time of year. The busiest months of the year for testing are January, May, June, July, and August.
Once passed, the MTTC needs to be retaken every five years. A failed MTTC may be retaken as many times as needed, provided you pay the testing fee. After the fourth failure you will be asked to seek educational guidance in order to improve your test score.
Once you have completed your test, you will need to visit the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) website to see how you have done. It may take up to two months to see your results.
Get Your Teacher Certification
Upon successfully completing the MTTC, you will need to apply for your Michigan Teacher Certification. Log into MOECS and select the certification you desire. There is a $160 application fee for in-state applicants, and a $210 application fee for out-of-state applicants. Renewing your certification costs $100. You can print out your certification papers yourself in the MOECS system.
The Early Childhood - General and Special Education (ZS) endorsement requires 20 semester hours of related coursework at minimum. These courses are offered at most colleges and universities in the state. Once your coursework has been completed, you can apply for endorsements via the MOECS system. There is a $50 application fee for all endorsements. As with certifications, all endorsements can be checked on, found, and printed within MOECS.
Kickstart Your Certification
The best time to get started is always the present. Try these courses to start on the path to being a certified lead preschool teacher in Michigan: