If you aspire to teach in Maine, you will first need to earn your Professional Eligibility Certificate. To do so, you are expected to adhere to the standards of quality set forth by the federal government within the “No Child Left Behind” Act. This includes earning a degree, completing training programs, and passing required exams.

Step 1 Enroll in a Teacher Education Program. Maryland’s teacher certification requirements begin with a bachelor’s degree. You must complete your coursework at a fully accredited institution that features a training program approved by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

During the course of your academic career, you must complete at least 6 credit hours in reading-related classes. The MSDE site keeps a list of state approved reading coursework for you to consult regarding this matter. You’ll also take part in a teacher preparation program that will include hands-on immersion training in order to meet the state’s experience requirements (see below).

Step 2 Get a criminal history background check. A background check is required of all Maryland teachers, and will be a condition of your being hired at a local school. However, you don’t need to have a background check done to apply for initial certification.

Your hiring institution will instruct you in how to go about obtaining an official fingerprint card, and may even provide you with one. You will be sent to get your prints taken at an approved site. (Click here to find approved fingerprinting locations in Maryland). You will return the card to the school, at which time they will send your prints and personal information to local and federal authorities so that your name and prints can be run against criminal history databases. Once cleared, you are eligible to be hired.

Step 3 Take the Praxis examination. You will need to take three examinations to show the MSDE your competence as a future educator as well as your readiness to seek certification.First you must take a basic skills exam. The Praxis I PPST is the most common choice to fulfill this requirement.

Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test

This exam is divided into three parts, each with its own subsections.

  1. Reading
    • Literal Comprehension
    • Critical and Inferential Comprehension
  2. Writing
    • Grammatical Relationships
    • Structural Relationships
    • Word Choice and Mechanics
    • Essay
  3. Mathematics
    • Number and Operations
    • Algebra
    • Geometry and Measurement
    • Data Analysis and Probability

You can test for each subsection independently at a cost of $85 each. Alternatively, you can choose to take a combined exam covering all three for $135. Subsections will still be timed separately on the combined test. Find a testing center and register here.

You can find study materials for the reading, math, and writing subsections of this exam on the Praxis website.

Maryland will accept passing scores on certain other competency tests in place of the PPST. Consult this list to find out more.

Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects

This is a content area test to analyze your knowledge of the main subject areas all elementary teachers are expected to master.

There are four subtests associated with this exam.

  1. Reading and Language Arts
  2. Mathematics
  3. Social Studies
  4. Science

This exam is timed, and you will have one hour to complete the reading and language section, and 50 minutes each for the other three sections. Once a time block has expired, you must move on to the next section.

There are both free and paid study materials available for this test on the Praxis website.

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) for Grades K-6

This test goes beyond academic subjects, and measures your understanding of concepts you must know in order to teach effectively. You’ll be asked about cognitive processes, educational theories, building lesson plans, and more. The five subsections of the PLT test are as follows.

  1. Students as learners
  2. Instructional Process
  3. Assessment
  4. Professional Development, Leadership, and Community
  5. Analysis of Instructional Scenarios

The entire exam will be timed as one. You will have two hours to complete all sections. Look to this study materials page for tools and documents to help you prepare.

Praxis will automatically send your test scores to the MSDE if you test in-state. If you take the exams out of state, you must specify that you want your results sent to Maryland (state code 7403).

Step 4 Get the required Experience. At some point during the course of your teacher training program, you will have to complete a practicum component of your preparation. This means that you will need to spend time in an elementary school classroom under the mentorship of an experienced teacher. This is a necessary step in becoming certified, as you will need to do well in order to receive the requisite recommendation for licensure from administrators at the school where you complete your practicum.

The exact amount of time you spend in student teaching will depend upon your specific training program. During your practicum, you will observe your mentoring educator closely. He or she will also observe and evaluate you while you carry out various teaching duties. Expect to take over the class during different activities, grade papers, and participate in parent-teacher conferences. This experience will give you a taste of what it will be like to work within the complex environment of a real elementary school.

Pay attention to guidelines given by instructors in your teacher training program. You must not only perform to the best of your abilities as a student teacher, but you will need to be on your best behavior. This means dressing and behaving in a professional manner. Part of what you are learning is what is expected of you as a professional educator.

Step 5 Complete required documentation and Apply for Certification. If you have completed all of the necessary steps and are ready to seek certification, start by setting up an account with MSDE’s Information Portal. This will enable you to keep tabs on the status of your application as it processes. Once you have entered your information into the system, you can send in your application packet. Include the following items.

  • Completed application form
  • Official transcripts from undergraduate program
  • Cover letter with your name, mailing address, date of birth, Social Security number, and the area of education in which you are seeking certification

Send the completed, sealed, and stamped packet to:

Maryland State Department of Education
Certification Branch
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Get started as soon as you can since applications can take weeks – and even several months – to process. Once your application has been approved, the MSDE will mail you a Statement of Eligibility. At this time, the department will instruct you on how to proceed with completing your application for credentialing. If you have questions at any point, you can phone the Credentialing Call Center at (410) 767-0412 or toll free at 1(866) 772-8922.