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Program Welcomes Back Educators

Our country is facing a critical shortage of teachers. The Welcome Back logo Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is hoping a new program will motivate educators with expired credentials to return to the classroom. The Welcome Back Proud Michigan Educators campaign recognizes the experience and preparation of these educators while providing an opportunity for their immediate return. The MDE hopes the program will eliminate barriers to recertification for approximately 36,500 formerly certified educators.

“Fewer teachers are entering the profession, and more are retiring,” said Tom Zahrt, Kalamazoo RESA (KRESA) Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources. “The pandemic has also strained educators. We need more qualified, passionate teachers in the classroom before the shortage takes a toll on students.”

Michigan educators typically need 150 hours of professional learning to recertify their teaching license. If an educator with up to five years of experience has a certificate that expired in 2019 or 2020, a local school or public school academy may request to waive all 150 hours of professional learning required for renewal. Teachers with certificates that expired in 2018 or earlier may also qualify for reinstatement with varying conditions, as explained by this MDE chart.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for teachers who’ve been unable to complete their professional learning, ”Zahrt said. “It’s great news for students and that’s what it’s all about.”

For more information on the Welcome Back Proud Michigan Educator campaign, see the MDE FAQ here. It includes an online tool to determine eligibility, as well as a tool for schools that need to request a waiver.