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Educator Placement and Flexibilities

Appropriate Placement of Educators

Ensuring that an appropriately prepared and endorsed educator is assigned to each classroom is critical for student achievement. This guidance outlines the legal requirements for certification, as well as provides best practice guidance to support schools with appropriate staff placement.

Proper Placement Considerations

Appropriate Placement of Teachers

Teachers are typically required to hold the endorsement for the subject(s) and grade levels in which they are assigned to teach. 

All Subject Endorsements

Some Michigan certificates specify an "all subjects" endorsement at specific grade levels. Teachers with these valid certificates may be placed in any subject area for that grade level.

Assignments for "All Subjects"

Self-Contained Endorsements

When one teacher is assigned to teach the same group of students for a majority of the instructional day, the assignment is considered self-contained. These assignments are typically found in elementary school settings. In some Michigan schools these assignments may also be found in middle school settings.

Self-Contained Classroom Guide

Single Subject

Subject-specific endorsements are intended for assignments in departmentalized settings, where students are receiving instruction by an individual prepared and endorsed in that content. These assignments are often found in high school settings, but can be found at all grade levels.

Quick Reference: Courses That Can Be Taught

Revised Grade Bands

While certified teachers may always teach in the grade range and content area listed on their certificates, teachers with the new grade band endorsements may also teach outside of the grade range without a substitute permit in specific placements.

Revised Certificate Structure Placement

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses are assigned to teachers holding a Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code on a valid Michigan teaching certificate. For questions about CIP code placement, CTE programs, or Perkins funding, contact the appropriate CTE program consultant. Holders of these CIP codes may also be placed in corresponding non-Perkins funded 6-12 classes.

CTE Teacher Certification, Authorization, and Licensure Requirements

Early Childhood

Early childhood staffing requirements are typically defined by the funding source. The most common questions received by our office are related to the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP), Michigan's state-funded preschool program for four-year-old children.

GSRP Program Administration and Staffing

Special Education

Federal requirements, in conjunction with Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE), specify requirements for the placement of special education personnel. Special education programs may be provided additional placement flexibilities.

Special Education Placement

Appropriate Placement of Other Professional Staff and Paraprofessionals

In addition to teachers, other professional staff and paraprofessionals have credential and placement requirements.

Paraprofessionals and Instructional Aides

While the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) does not issue certificates or licenses for paraprofessionals, the roles, duties and program funding may determine requirements for placing these noncertified education partners. 

Utilization of Noncertified Personnel

School Administrator

Michigan law requires individuals employed as a superintendent, as a principal, or as an assistant principal, or individuals who administer instructional programs, to hold a valid Michigan school administrator credential.

School Administrator Credentials and Placement

School Counselor

To serve in the role of a school counselor an individual must hold either a valid School Counselor License, a valid Michigan teaching certificate with the School Counselor (NT) endorsement, a Temporary School Counselor Authorization, or a Preliminary School Counselor License. The Full-Year Basic Substitute permit may also be used for a school counselor position when a certified school counselor is not available for assignment and the individual is willing to enroll in a preparation program.

School Counselor Assignments

School Psychologist

A valid Michigan School Psychologist Certificate or a Preliminary School Psychologist Certificate allows an individual to be employed in a Michigan school district as a school psychologist.

School Psychologist Certification

School Social Worker

To provide services to students with disabilities whose Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) require social work services as a school social worker in a Michigan school, the educator must hold a Temporary Approval, Continuing Temporary Approval, or Full Approval from the Michigan Department of Education. School social worker approvals are applied for by employers (e.g., school district users or staffing agencies) through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS). Each approval is transferable from one employer to the next.

Policy, Criteria, and Procedures for School Social Worker Approval

Placement Flexibilities: Permits, Approvals, and Authorizations

Michigan law requires schools to hire and employ properly certified and endorsed educators (MCL 380.1246, 380.1231 and 380.1233). In order to systematically address needed exceptions to law, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has established Administrative Rules in accordance with MCL to authorize permits, authorizations and approvals.


The MDE issues permits to meet different school staffing needs when a properly certified and endorsed teacher or administrator is not available.

Special Education Approvals

A Special Education Personnel Approval may be granted to the districts in accordance with the procedures, policies, and criteria established by the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education (MDE, OSE).

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Authorizations

The issuance of Annual Career Authorizations (formerly known as Annual CTE Authorizations) can be utilized for employing either of the following non-certified individuals:

  • Individuals from business and industry to instruct in a state-approved Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
  • Individuals from business and industry to instruct in a 6-12 non-CTE industrial technology program (e.g. career pathway courses).

Critical Shortage

Loan Forgiveness and Deferment

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) requires MDE to provide a yearly list (due in December) of discipline areas for which new teachers or teachers with student loans can obtain loan forgiveness or deferment.

The MDE does not manage loans or have additional information regarding forgiveness or deferment. 

Questions regarding loan forgiveness or deferment should be directed to U.S. Federal Student Aid.

Critical Shortage: Loan Forgiveness and Deferment Guidance

Employment of Retirees

As required by Michigan Compiled Law 38.1361, MDE provides a listing of the Critical Shortage Disciplines for Employment of Retirees by April 1 of each year. This list is utilized by the Office of Retirement Services (ORS) to determine earnings limitations for retired school employees.

The law specifies a mechanism by which a Michigan school can add a local shortage area to the list. 

Questions specific to retiree finances, earnings, limitations, withholdings or financial reporting should be directed to ORS: 1-800-381-5000. MDE cannot provide technical assistance for retirement, retirement reporting/data or earnings limitations.

Critical Shortage: Retirees Information