Maine has its own set of requirements for future teachers to be able to qualify for elementary teacher certification. As with all U.S. states, these mandates are in compliance with national standards for educators. These standards are in place to secure that every teacher has certain qualifications and has proven them by earning certification through the state board of education.

Step 1 Enroll in a Teacher Education Program. To become a teacher, start with your education. Until you have enrolled in an appropriate undergraduate program, you will not even have access to the additional programs and resources you need to qualify to teach in Maine.

As a part of the education undergraduate path, you will participate in a teacher training program. This training will include the state’s requisite student teaching placement, discussed in more depth below.

Step 2 Get a criminal history background check.  A full background check is a prerequisite for being accepted into a student teaching program in Maine. If you’ve lived in Maine your whole life, you need only submit to a statewide criminal background check. If you have lived in any other state since turning 18, you will be required to have your name run against federal criminal databases too.

Start by signing up for an account on the IdentGo site. You will be asked a series of questions to determine the services you need. Make sure to select “Department of Education”as your agency when prompted. You’ll then be directed to a menu where you can find the most convenient location for you to go and submit your fingerprints. You will be given specific instructions about what to bring and what procedures to follow. You will be able to pay the $55 fee online at this time. Bring your confirmation number and ID with you to the testing site. Don’t be late for your appointment or you may be asked to reschedule.

Around the same time you register for your background check, you will need to mail a completed Application for Initial Educational Approval (you can download one from this page) to the Department of Education at the address below. This document gives your consent for the DOE to use your fingerprints. Include a check or money order for $15 payable to “Treasurer, State of Maine.”

Maine DOE
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

Step 3 Take the Praxis examination. Most states require that its incoming teachers pass certain examinations. These evaluations serve to ensure that every teacher applying for licensure has proficiency in all areas required of an educator. By passing these examinations, you demonstrate your understanding of the foundational concepts, theories, and methods deemed vital to your ability to be a competent teacher. Maine requires its aspirant elementary school teachers to pass three standardized tests before applying for certification.

Praxis I Core Academic Skills

This test is also known as the Pre-Professional Skills Test and confirms your understanding of the core concepts of academics. There are three main sections within this exam, and each of those is divided into smaller subcategories.

  1. Math
    • Number and Quantity
    • Algebra and Functions
    • Geometry
    • Statistics and Probability
  2. Reading
    • Key Ideas and Details
    • Craft, Structure, and Language Skills
    • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
  3. Writing
    • Test Types, Purposes, and Production
    • Language and Research Skills

While the concepts explored on this exam are basic, it’s never a good idea to go in unprepared. Leave yourself time to brush up on these key academic processes and ideas. You can find great study material on the Praxis test-prep pages. There are separate collections of materials for each of the math, reading, and writing sections.

You can set up separate test dates for each section at a cost of $85 each. However, the cost to take this test is only $135 if you take each section during the same testing period. The sections will still be individually timed.

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

This required test is meant to evaluate your ability to understand and utilize various theories and methods related to human development, learning processes, and teaching strategies. The PLT examination has five parts, but the entire test is timed as one.

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

Look to the Praxis study materials page for this test to find free study companions and overviews. You can also purchase comprehensive study books and practice tests. The cost to sit for this exam is $139.

You must also pass one of the following two tests. The choice is yours unless you have been instructed to take one or the other specifically by an advisor or mentor.

Elementary Education: Content Knowledge

The content knowledge exam has four sections, and you will have 2 hours to complete the entire test.

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

Specific preparation materials for this exam can be found here. The content knowledge exam costs $115 to take.


Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects

Similarly, the Multiple Subject exam contains four subject-specific sections each of which is timed separately (you will have 60 minutes for the reading/language arts portion, and 50 minutes each for the other three).

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

Look here for the study guides pertaining to this test. The fee for this exam is also $115.

Step 4 Get the required Experience. Beyond education and testing, there is an experience requirement in place. This is because you need to have practical hands-on experience in order to be fully prepared to teach in a real classroom. Knowing your material and understanding different methods are only part of the picture. By applying what you know in a real classroom setting, you get the opportunity to see how those concepts work within the challenging and multi-faceted world of elementary school teaching.

Through your teacher training program, you will be given the opportunity to fulfill the experience requirement by participating in a full student-teaching internship. Once you have done the preclinical work involved in your training program, you’ll be admitted into an internship program to be served at a local elementary school. Your advisors will help you to find placement among nearby schools. Once placed, you will spend a full semester working as a student teacher under the direct supervision of a teacher holding a position similar to the one you aspire to. While preclinical work typically involves a lot of observing, your student teaching work will probably call for much more participation. You will be asked to lead the class during different types of daily activities. Expect to perform any duties that you might perform as a working teacher.

Most people who have completed their internship will tell you that being prepared is a key factor in having a good experience.

  1. Get in touch with the school and with your supervising teacher before you start. Introduce yourself and ask if there are any lesson plans or other documents you should be reviewing.
  2. Find out what responsibilities you will have so that you can plan accordingly.
  3. Show up early so that you can go over the agenda for the day.
  4. Stay late when you can.

Your student teaching is done for such a relatively short period, but is so impactful in terms of readying yourself for a career in teaching. This means that you really need to focus and devote yourself to the experience. When you have completed this internship, your supervising teacher will advise the appropriate school administrators regarding your performance. Assuming you are found to be competent, these administrators will write a recommendation to the department of education indicating that you have successfully fulfilled the experience requirements for certification.

Step 5 Complete required documentation and Apply for Certification. If you have completed all of the above steps, you may apply for licensure. This is done through the mail. Put together an application packet and be sure to include the following items.

  • Completed Initial Certification Application
  • Official transcripts for undergraduate work and teacher training program
  • Copy of test scores (You must send in documentation of your scores, even if the results were sent to the DOE by the testing agency.)
  • Check or money order for $100 made payable to “Treasurer, State of Maine”(You may also pay by credit card by filling in your card information on the application form.)

Make sure you use sufficient postage and that the envelope you use is properly sealed. If your application is not received, you will be responsible for re-submitting everything.

Send the application packet to the address below.

Department of Education
Certification Office
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023