Requirements for Initial Teacher Certification

Initial Teacher Certification

Candidates are recommended for the initial Michigan teaching certificate after they have completed all requirements for MSU’s teacher preparation program, including the post-graduate internship. The Standard Certificate is valid for five years; during that time, the certificate holder is expected to gain experience as a practicing teacher and continue their professional development.

Applying for Initial Certification

Interns should apply for Michigan certification as soon as they have finished the internship and met all certification requirements. Certification requirements change over time, and a Michigan certificate serves as a permanent record that all requirements were met at the end of a student’s program. Michigan certification is also important for individuals who seek certification in other states. Most states will issue a provisional certificate or temporary license based on the applicant’s Michigan certificate. In addition, certification in other states typically requires an institutional recommendation from MSU, and without Michigan certification it can be difficult to document that an individual met all Michigan certification requirements before leaving MSU.

Applying for the Standard Certificate is a two-step process. Applicants must complete the MSU Standard Certificate Application, which includes a Conviction Disclosure Form. Both forms must be completed, signed and dated in ink. Applicants must also apply using the Michigan Online Education Certification System (MOECS). These two steps can be completed in any order or concurrently; however, both steps must be completed before certification can be recommended. Incomplete applications for certification cannot be processed. Applicants with incomplete applications will receive notification about missing materials from the MSU Certification Office. Use the checklist included with the Standard Certificate application to be sure your application is complete.

Certification candidates may submit a single, complete application packet to the MSU Certification Office and initiate an online MOECS application in April or May of the internship year. When spring semester grades become available in early May, the MSU Certification Office will begin making online recommendations for certification. When the MOECS application is approved by the MSU Certification Office, the candidate is notified by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and prompted to pay a fee ($160) online. Following payment, the certificate is available for downloading and printing. MDE does not mail certificates. Once the MDE fee is paid online, the certificate is available; however, it must be notarized before being used for employment.

The MSU application package must include:

  • A completed Standard Teaching Certificate application
    • Use your legal name at the time of application, even if you anticipate a name change. If you have had a name change, a driver’s license or marriage certificate must be included. 
    • Include your preferred non-MSU email address so you can be reached after completion of the internship.
    • List all teaching majors, minors and endorsements for which coursework has been completed, regardless of whether the MTTC has been passed at the time of application.
    • Do not complete the Standard Occupational Certificate section unless your teaching major is Agricultural Science.
  • A completed Conviction Disclosure Form
    • If you have reported a conviction or civil infraction, please list the offense and date on which it occurred.
    • If you have a conviction, civil infraction, pending charges or an arrest that has not been disclosed, list the offense and the date on which it occurred and provide a Register of Actions from the court in which you were charged; attach an explanation for why this offense was not disclosed previously.
    • Complete the form in its entirety and sign it in ink.
  • Evidence that you are currently certified in Adult and Child CPR and First Aid
    • Certification must be valid at the time of your recommendation for teacher certification.
    • The course provider must be approved by the Michigan Department of Education.
    • Sign your card or certificate and then make copies; attach copies of the front and back of the card issued for each type of training; the copies must include your signature.
  • Evidence that you have completed the online survey required by the Michigan Department of Education
    • The survey link is sent to each intern via his or her MSU email account during the final Spring Semester.
    • The link will come from Dana Utterback ( with the subject line: Spring/Summer Teacher Candidate Survey.
    • Only take the survey once!
    • For the question, “Which type of program are you completing for certification?” you must check “Post Bachelor (not leading to a graduate degree).”
    • The final (thank you) page must be printed, signed and included with your certification application. 
    • Failure to complete the survey or to print the signature page will delay processing of your application for certification.. 
  • A waiver request if you have not passed the MTTC for a major, minor or endorsement for which you have completed coursework (see below)

Waiver Requests for Elementary and Secondary Education Applicants

An applicant who has completed coursework for a teaching major, minor or endorsement but has not met all requirements for certification (e.g., has not passed the corresponding MTTC, or met the oral proficiency standard in the case of world languages) may request that his or her application be processed and the certificate issued without the endorsement. The Elementary Waiver Request or the Secondary Waiver Request must be included with the certification application that is submitted to the MSU Certification Office. If the applicant meets requirements within the next five years, he or she may apply to have the endorsement added to his or her certificate (note that the applicant is held to current standards and requirements when the endorsement is added). There is a fee to add the endorsement. 

Additional Information about Teacher Certification in Michigan

Gainful Employment Disclosures