Beginning September 1, 2018, all Michigan school administrators are required to hold a School Administrator Certificate or School Administrator Permit – even if they are currently “grandparented.” This is not a change in the law, but a change in practice by MDE designed to support schools and clear up confusion about compliance. MDE has already begun issuing Experience-Based School Administrator Certificates. The application, completed through the Michigan Online Educator Certification System (MOECS), is relatively fast and easy, and FREE to administrators who complete the process prior to September 1, 2018.


Under MCL 380.1246, school administrators whose primary responsibility is administering instructional programs or whose job title is “Chief Business Official” must either complete a state-approved program and obtain a School Administrator Certificate or have been an administrator prior to January 4, 2010, and maintained their continuing education requirements – 150 hours of professional learning every five years.

However, this latter provision has caused confusion. Administrators working under this law were supposed to keep track of their continuing education hours locally. As a result, schools have found themselves out of compliance upon MDE audit. Since employing an improperly certified educator can cost a district a portion of their state aid payment, this is a problem for both the administrator and the school.

To address this and support maintenance of continuing education requirements, MDE has created this new experience-based certificate.

The Experience-Based School Administrator Certificate

The new Experience-Based School Administrator Certificate is a five-year certificate with unlimited renewals. To qualify for the new certificate, individuals must:

  1. Verify that they were employed as school administrators prior to January 4, 2010 using MDE’s Administrator Experience-Based Verificationform, and
  2. Certify that they have maintained their continuing education requirements.

Moving forward, all school administrators who obtain the Experience-Based School Administrator Certificate will start a new five-year cycle for the continuing education requirement and will be required to maintain professional learning hours in MOECS. Renewing an Experience-Based School Administrator Certificate requires the same 150 hours of education related professional learning that a traditional School Administrator Certificate requires. Individuals who hold a valid Michigan Professional Teaching Certificate shall be considered as meeting the continuing education requirements of this rule.

Applying for an Experienced-Based Certificate

School administrators will need to apply for the certificate through MDE’s MOECS system where they will be able to verify details of their employment history and continuing education requirements. Administrators will also be required to submit a separate employment history verification form, as mentioned above.

Please note that logging into MOECS requires a username, password and MEIS account number. Educators who already have an MEIS account must use that account. Creating a new account will not work. If you have an account but cannot remember your login information, visit the MEIS website and use the username and password recovery tools available there.

For certification questions and support, please contact the MDE support desk at: (517) 373-3310.

What If I Don’t Qualify for the Experienced-Based Certificate?

Administrators who don’t qualify for the Experienced-Based Certificate must still be compliant with the law. This means obtaining a School Administrator Certificate in one of two ways: the traditional route through a state-approved college/university program or through a state-approved alternative route, such as MASA’s Horizon Leadership Academies: Sustain Excellence and Navigate Leadership. An administrator who falls under this category must begin the program no later than six months after he or she begins employment. The administrator then has three years to complete the program. Failure to begin and/or complete an approved program on time or working without the proper certification can cost an administrator their job, as well as significant state aid penalties for the district.


Administrators who need more detailed information about the new Experience-Based Administrator Certificate may find the following documents from MDE helpful:

For certification questions and support, please contact the MDE support desk at (517) 373-3310.

Adopted language from MASSP.