Become a middle school teacher

If you're wondering how to become a middle school teacher, learn about some of the pathways to reaching this goal.

How to become a middle school teacher

In order to teach middle school, you’re going to need to earn a certificate that shows you’re trained to teach middle school students. Michigan Department of Education is moving toward a more specialized certification to ensure that middle school teachers are properly prepared for the unique needs of middle school students. Middle school teachers need to know how their students learn and develop. Earning this certification demonstrates that teachers are ready to step up and teach middle school students.

RELATED: MDE offers grants for teacher certification


Become a middle grades teacher (certified in 5-9)

If you want to become a middle school teacher, Concordia University Ann Arbor offers the Teacher Certification Program. In this program, you’ll take courses geared toward teaching middle grades. In your courses, you’ll cover child development, lesson plan design, and pedagogy. Pedagogy refers to learning how to teach students effectively. You’ll need to choose a content area for your certification. For example, you could choose English or math. Before you graduate, you’ll take an MTTC test for the content area you chose. The Michigan Department of Education is updating their requirements over the next few years. Eventually, middle grade teachers will need to take an MTTC test for professional standards, as well as their chosen content area.


Become an upper grades teacher (grades 7-12)

If you want to become a middle school teacher, but you also want to become certified to teach high school, you should consider earning an upper grades certification. This certification indicates that you’re prepared to teach grades 7-12. In your upper grades education courses, you can expect to learn how to teach older students. Like the middle grades certification, you’ll learn how to teach middle and high school students. Additionally, you’ll learn how to design lesson plans, and your content training will be more rigorous to meet the needs of older learners.


Which path is right for you?

Teaching middle school can be a really rewarding career choice. But, which certification should you earn? If you’re feeling torn between the two options, spend some time in both middle school and high school classrooms. You’ll get a feel for how passionate you are in each setting and with each age range.

Talk to some people who know you well and whom you trust. They might be able to help you reflect on your goals, and this could help you decide which route is best for you. Although some students choose to take the MTTC before they begin classes, you can take a few classes before you have to make a firm decision on which certification you want. Ask your professors for feedback and guidance if you’re still feeling unsure about which one is best for you. If you’re feeling inspired to do so, you could actually earn both certifications by taking an additional 8 credits.


Do you want to know more about Concordia’s Teacher Certification Program?

If you’re interested in becoming a middle school teacher, Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Teacher Certification Program is ready to help you reach your goal. If you have any questions or if you simply want more information, reach out to program director Dr. Sara Clemm von Hohenberg. Dr. Clemm von Hohenberg is prepared to answer your questions and connect you to the information you need.

— Vanessa Lane is the Content Marketing Lead at Concordia University and can be reached at When she's not at work, she can be found playing with her kids or watching NBA basketball with her husband.

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