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School Administrator Permit

Legal Requirement

Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL) 380.1246 and the School Administrator Certification Code, R 380.102, require valid Michigan school administrator credentials (certificate or permit) when:

  • The individual is employed as a superintendent.
  • The individual is employed as a principal.
  • The individual is employed as an assistant principal.
  • The individual’s primary responsibilities are administering instructional programs.

Learn more about Administrator Credentials and Placement

This requirement includes school administrators who are employed under MCL 380.1246(3). If a school administrator does not hold a valid certificate, is employed under a permit and is in the position for more than six months without being enrolled in an approved program leading to School Administrator certification, the school and administrator are not in compliance with law. The permit does not supersede the legal requirement to be enrolled in a program within six months. Failure to meet requirements as specified in MCL 380.1246(3) will eliminate a school’s ability to obtain future permits for that administrator in that assignment. If not enrolled at the 6-month point, the permit is invalid and may result in a state aid deduction if employment is continued.

School Administrator Permit

Administrator permits are obtained in a similar way to other permits using the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) and must be renewed annually if employment continues and the Michigan Administrator Certificate is not obtained.

A School Administrator Permit can be applied for in the following situations:

Renewable Permits

  • The individual is working under and meets the requirements of MCL 380.1246(3).

Non-renewable Permits

  • The individual needs additional time to earn the Education-Related Professional Learning hours to renew an existing Michigan School Administrator Certificate.
  • The individual completed an out-of-state program and is applying for evaluation through the Michigan Department of Education (MDE).
  • The individual is working in a short-term capacity (less than six months) such as in an interim assignment.

The initial request for a School Administrator Permit requires the school to maintain documentation and certify the following:

1. An appropriately certificated school administrator is not available for the assignment.

Note: The district has sole discretion to determine whether a certified individual is available for the assignment. When the district determines that a qualified and certified administrator is not available, the district may take advantage of the flexibilities offered by the permit system.

It has always been MDE’s position that it is best practice to post positions and review candidates prior to hiring someone without appropriate certification to ensure the best possible candidate for the position has been selected.

Reasons an appropriately certified individual is not available for assignment could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The individual is not available at the desired start date.
  • Established hiring practices preclude hiring someone with:
    • Ineffective or minimally effective evaluations,
    • Poor references,
    • Past disciplinary issues.
  • The individual lacks district specific knowledge or experience that is essential for success in the assignment.

2. The individual has earned a bachelor’s or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

3. The individual will be assigned a mentor. 

Prior to the first day the individual is in the assignment, the fee must be paid and THE permit issued to the district.

Note: A school administrator cannot apply for his/her own permit. If the administrator working under a permit is the superintendent, the hiring authority (board) in coordination with an approved MOECS school district user must apply. 

School Administrator Permit Renewal

The process for renewal of a School Administrator Permit requires the following:

  1. A formal observation of the individual in the previous school year that resulted in a comprehensive evaluation rating of effective or highly effective.
  2. The individual’s enrollment in an approved school administrator preparation program within six months from the date of employment.
  3. Documentation provided to the district that the individual has enrolled in an approved school administrator preparation program leading to certification. 

A School Administrator Permit must be applied for annually, but an administrator may not be placed under a permit for more than three years from the date of hire by the applying district. Additionally, if an individual is in a placement on a permit for more than six months (for any reason), (s)he must be enrolled in an approved preparation program leading to certification or hold a valid Michigan School Administrator Certificate. Failure to do so will subject the district to a state aid deduction in accordance with MCL 388.1763.

Steps for Obtaining a School Administrator Permit

Administrator permits are obtained in a similar way to other permits using the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) and must be renewed annually, if needed.

  1. Complete all tasks related to confirming the requirements have been met for the permit (e.g. background check per school safety law).
  2. Obtain appropriate access to the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) a school user.
  3. Log in to the system and select “Apply for Permit” from the menu of options.
  4. Choose option for School Administrator Permit and read advisory.
  5. Enter Social Security Number of individual to be permitted.
  6. Verify personal information is accurate and click “Apply”.
  7. Answer all application and professional practices questions.
  8. Review application and proceed with advisory and submission of application.
  9. Once submitted, the school district MOECS user will receive a confirmation message. After submission, the application will indicate status as ‘Pending Payment’ unless there are court documents required for professional practices review in which the status will indicate ‘Conviction Review’.

The individual will receive an email from when a ‘pay fee’ link is generated. The email is application-specific and contains the link for submitting payment of the $45 fee. The permit is not valid until the fee has been paid.


It is important to note that the permit application does not require submission of documents to the Michigan Department of Education. However, documentation to support the application must be maintained at the school or school district for possible future audit. 


The permit is not valid until it reaches the approved status. This includes the payment process. A non-certified individual cannot be placed in the assignment without jeopardizing state aid funding until the permit is issued and valid.

Permits are not valid retroactively. Permits are only valid from the date of payment to August 31 of the school year in which it is issued and subject to MCL 380.1246.

Permits are granted to an employing school or school district. They are not portable between schools and are not held by an individual. There is no printable paper authorization. Verification of an issued permit is completed either through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) or the public verification site. Guidance on all permits can be found in the Permits: How They Work document.