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Teacher Permits

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) and the Center for Educational Performance Information (CEPI) are aware of concerns with results within the Teacher Credential Verification Report. Please note, MDE and CEPI are working to improve the report to better align with legislated auditing needs. The current results should not be utilized to estimate appropriate placements within districts. At present, the release of adjustments to the report is late July 2023. A communication will be sent out as soon as the updates are deployed.

What are substitute permits?

Michigan law requires schools to hire and employ properly certified and endorsed teachers (MCL 380.1231, 380.1233, 388.1763). In order to systematically address needed exceptions to law, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has established administrative rules in accordance with MCL 380.1531 to authorize permits for both general education, as well as authorizations within CTE programs, and Special Education Approvals within the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE). A school district or nonpublic school shall obtain the appropriate permit, authorization, or approval to employ an individual or teacher who does not hold the valid and appropriate endorsement or certificate, including an individual employed under section 1233b, section 1233c, or section 1531f of 1976 PA 451, MCL 380.1233b, 380.1233c, or 380.1531f.

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

How Permits Work

  • The MDE issues several types of permits to meet different school staffing needs when a properly certified and endorsed teacher is not available.

    A school is not required to obtain a Daily Substitute Permit for a staff member employed directly by the school, if the staff member holds a valid Michigan teaching certificate and is placed intermittently in assignments of not more than 90-calendar days outside the grade level and subject area validity of their teaching certificate.

    Daily Substitute Permit

    • Used for INTERMITTENT daily substitute assignments when a teacher is temporarily unavailable.
    • Requires at least 60 semester hours of satisfactory credit (grade ‘C’ or better) combined from one or more regionally accredited two- or four-year colleges or universities.
    • Is limited in a single teaching assignment to no more than 90-calendar days. 

    Daily Substitute Transition Plan

    Extension of the Daily Substitute Permit

    • A Daily Substitute Permit may be EXTENDED to provide additional coverage when the teacher is unable to return to the classroom and a properly prepared, certified, endorsed or otherwise authorized individual is unavailable.
    • Requires at least 60 semester hours of satisfactory credit (grade ‘C’ or better) combined from one or more regionally accredited two- or four-year colleges or universities.
    • Requires a formal satisfactory observation.
    • Requires the district/school to assign a mentor teacher.
    • Length of extension and any additional requirements will be established based upon circumstances.
    • This extension must be approved by the State Superintendent.

    Daily Substitute Transition Plan

    Other Placement Flexibilities

    School Administrator Permit

    Annual Career Authorization (CTE)

    Special Education Approval

    Individuals who do not meet the requirements of the regular permit system and are employed under MCL 380.1233b (9-12 limited areas), section 1233c (Detroit), 380.1531f (tribal agreement) or foreign memorandum of understanding must be working directly with the Michigan Department of Education to ensure compliance with these very specific laws and circumstances.

    Full-Year Expert Substitute Permit

    • Is not approved for assignments of more than 0.5 FTE
    • Requires the individual to have demonstrated unusual distinction or exceptional talent in the field of specialization that will be taught.
    • Requires the individual to have at least 5 years of successful work experience in the field of specialization to be taught.
      • An individual who teaches a world language is exempt from this work requirement, but is required to demonstrate oral language proficiency by passage of an appropriate state approved world language oral examination.
    • If the assignment is in a core discipline area:
    • If the assignment is in a non-core subject area the individual must either:
      • hold a corresponding business or industry license; and at least 60 semester hours of satisfactory credit (grade ‘C’ or better) combined from one or more regionally accredited two or four-year colleges or universities.
      • OR
      • hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution.
    • Can be renewed with effective or highly effective ratings in the assigned area.
    • It is recommended that the district/school assign a mentor teacher.

    Full-Year BASIC Substitute Permit

    • Requires at least 60 semester hours of satisfactory credit (grade ‘C’ or better) combined from one or more regionally accredited two- or four-year colleges or universities.
    • If the assignment is in a core subject area, the individual must have a corresponding major on the transcript or passing scores on the state approved discipline area test.
    • Requires the district/school to assign a mentor teacher
    • Can be renewed for subsequent years if the following conditions have been met:
      • Renewal 1: Effective or highly effective ratings in the assigned area and enrollment in a state approved teacher preparation program leading to certification.
      • Renewal 2-3: A minimum of 6 semester credit hours towards completion of the program. Note: This means 6 additional credit hours earned since the previous renewal.
      • Can be renewed a maximum of three times, allowing a substitute to serve in the assigned area for a maximum of four years.

    Full-Year SHORTAGE Substitute Permit

    • Is only approved up to 0.5 FTE per teacher.
    • Requires the teacher to hold a Michigan Professional, Advanced Professional Teaching Certificate.
    • If the assignment is in a core discipline area, the individual must have a corresponding major or passing scores on the state approved subject area test.
    • Is limited to a maximum of three subject areas per permit.
    • For assignments in special education, schools should utilize the existing Special Education Personnel Approval System.
    • Can be renewed with effective or highly effective ratings in the assigned area a maximum of three times, allowing a substitute to serve in the assigned area for a maximum of four years.
    1. Establish that a properly certified and endorsed teacher is not available.
    2. While continuing to search for qualified job candidates, determine the appropriate permit (or permits) needed for the candidate using the Permit Eligibility Record. A Daily Substitute Permit may be used to transition a candidate into a Full-Year Basic or Shortage Substitute Permit.
    3. Complete all tasks related to confirming the requirements have been met for the permit (e.g., background check per school safety law).
    4. Obtain appropriate access to the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS) as a school user.
    5. Log in to the system and select “Permits” from the menu of options.
    6. Using the Permit Eligibility Record and all supporting documentation, respond to and verify each question asked within the MOECS permit application. Each question routes MOECS to the permit that best fits the circumstances.
    7. Once submitted, depending on the requirements and the permit type, the application will indicate one of the following statuses:
      • Pending Evaluation
      • Hold
      • Pending Payment ($45)
      • Approved
      • Denied
  • The Permit Eligibility Record is designed to guide a school’s administration and staff in determining the most appropriate permit to seek when a properly certified and endorsed teacher is not available.

    Permit Eligibility Record

  • It is important to note that in some cases the permit application requires submission of documents to the Michigan Department of Education. In other cases, the permit application does not require submission of documents. In such cases, documentation to support the application must be maintained at the school or school district for future audit.

    Documentation may include one or more of the following:

    • College or university transcripts
    • Name & Personal Identification Code (PIC) of the mentor teacher
    • Evidence of a formal observation
    • Score report from an approved content area test
    • Documentation specifying “unusual distinction or exceptional talent” (may vary)
    • Copy of a business or industry license
  • The permit is not valid until it reaches the approved status. This includes the payment process. A non-certified, inappropriately endorsed individual cannot be placed in the assignment without jeopardizing State Aid funding until the permit is issued and valid.

    A full-year substitute permit is valid from the date of issuance through August 31st of the academic year in which it is issued. Permits are not valid retroactively.

    Schools should review the Daily Substitute Transition Plan for guidance on support of permitted educators in long term assignments.

  • It is vital that administration, AND the candidate being considered for employment, understand the requirements for renewal of each permit they are utilizing. Some renewal requirements must be completed while the candidate is working in the assignment (e.g., effectiveness rating).

    Learn about permit renewal requirements

  • Definitions
     Term Description
    Additional 6 credits For the purpose of certain permit renewals, credit earned towards the completion of an approved teacher preparation program; these credits must be new and in addition to what was completed for any previous renewal.
    BA or Higher In some instances a permit will require an earned Bachelor’s degree. An advanced degree would also be acceptable. This degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university that is accredited by one of the regional accrediting agencies recognized and published by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
    Background and Fingerprinting Background checks and fingerprinting are required in accordance with MCL 380.1230g.
    Business or Industry License The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issues licenses to individuals within other fields of business and industry, from dance studios to physical therapists.
    Core Discipline Areas The following have been designated as core discipline areas by MDE: English, Mathematics, Economics, Geography, Reading, Sciences, History, Music, Language Arts, Foreign Languages, Civics & Government, Art
    Effective Evaluation or Higher Individuals working under Full-year Substitute Permits and Expert Substitute Permits meet the definition of a teacher and therefore should be evaluated accordingly.
    Experience (5 years) Work in the field of business or industry related to the course being taught is required for the Expert Substitute Permit. While there is no time frame in which this experience has occurred, it is required that there be a minimum of 5 years.
    Expertise Expertise is required for the Expert Substitute Permit and may take a variety of forms. Documentation will be required and cannot simply be anecdotal.
    FTE Limit Full Time Equivalency is a limitation set on both the Full-year Shortage Substitute and the Expert Substitute Permits. The intent of these permits is not to fill a full-time position, but rather focus on a gap in staffing where a shortage exists or to provide a unique learning opportunity for students utilizing someone who works in another field of business or industry. A 0.5 FTE may include 1-3 courses/hours per day OR even one day per week of instruction.
    Major or Test A major has been determined to be equivalent to 30 semester credit hours in a specific content area. A test may vary depending on the content area, but typically includes the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification. The verification of major or passing test score is necessary to ensure content knowledge in core subject areas.
    Mentor A mentor is a teacher with 3 or more years of successful teaching experience and ideally experience and expertise in the content or specialty area for which the mentee is assigned. In situations where similar content area expertise is not available, a mentor with teaching experience and experience serving a similar student population is preferred.
    Professional Certificate or Higher The holder of the Professional, Advanced Professional Teaching, Continuing, Permanent or Life certificate has had the opportunity to teach, in the area or areas for which they have been prepared as a part of their teacher preparation program, for a minimum of three years.
    Program Enrollment Enrollment in a program typically involves either a letter from a university stating enrollment OR a transcript indicating a course is in progress. Additionally, enrollment could be verified by documentation of registration and payment verification for an upcoming course.
    Shortage A shortage area is one in which posting and advertising for the assignment has produced no qualified candidate and that the lack of a qualified individual jeopardizes the instructional needs of the students.
    Term Limit The Daily Substitute Permit has a term limit of 90-calendar days. The permit cannot be utilized for more than the set term limit. If additional days are needed, a different permit type should be sought and/or an extension requested.