MDE's memo, the Annual Certification Reminder and Requirements, provides an important reminder that it's time "to begin the annual review of staff credential expiration dates. Educators with a certificate expiration date of June 30, 2021 should be encouraged to log into the Michigan online educator certification system (MOECS) and begin updating account information." The memo itself is a good one for Principals to review and pass along to your staff, but let's also take a minute to review Michigan's administrator certification requirements.

Who Needs Certification

State law requires any person employed as a "superintendent, principal, assistant principal, or other person whose primary responsibility is administering instructional programs or as a chief business official" at public schools, public school academies, and private schools to hold a school administrator certificate or be enrolled in a program leading to certification not later than six months after s/he begins employment. MDE has a full rundown on school administrator certification and a whole page on their website dedicated to educator certification that you can review for details, but here is the short version:

  • An educator who was first employed as a school administrator before January 4, 2010 and who has completed all state continuing education requirements may be eligible for an Experience Based Administrator Certification rather than needing to complete a formal program in order to earn one.
  • If you are employed as an administrator prior to earning an administrator certificate, you must be enrolled in a program leading to certification not later than six months after and have three years to complete program requirements and become certified. During that time, your district must obtain a School Administrator Permit for you.
  • If you change districts and/or have a new position/contract then the certification requirement may apply to you. This is at your hiring district's discretion.
  • Once an administrator earns a certificate, 150 State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) are required every five years in order to renew the certificate. MDE also has an informative one-pager about certification renewal.
  • Working without proper certification or a permit carries with it stiff financial penalties for your district and may cost you your job.

Options for Earning SCECHs

For the past few years, MASSP has provided additional professional learning opportunities online through our Digital Learning Network which are offered in both facilitated and self-paced formats giving educators the flexibility to learn about relevant content related for their professional growth right at their fingertips.  These options are housed in Michigan Virtual’s Professional Learning Portal and provide SCECHs upon successful completion.  Consider registering for the courses below which are available right now for on-demand access:

For a complete list of available courses, visit

Options for Earning K-12 Administrator Certification

Are you in need of administrator certification or do you know a new colleague who is? Consider MASSP's alternate route to K-12 administrator certification: the Path to Leadership program. You may not be aware of it, but MASSP administers the first state-approved alternative provider of state certification, offering a one-year, online-based program. The goal of the Path to Leadership program is to provide participants with an alternative route to earning a Michigan K-12 administrator certificate at an affordable cost and in a manageable time frame. The application is currently open for Cohort 59 and the program has helped hundreds of educators to earn their administrator certification, including a few of Michigan’s past Teachers of the Year and a Superintendent of the Year. Candidates for the program include current administrators and school personnel, including those aspiring to the principalship. Path to Leadership was created by Principals for future Principals! If you're interested in enrolling in MASSP's Path to Leadership program or would like more information, please visit our website:

Written by Wendy Zdeb, MASSP Executive Director