The Maryland Teaching and Certification Resource
Aspiring teachers looking to work in Maryland must first earn state certification. The certification process is overseen by the Maryland Department of Education and is outlined below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Maryland. If you are interested in becoming a teacher in Baltimore, you should read more on our How to Become a Teacher in Baltimore page.
How to Become a Teacher in Maryland
Like most US states, Maryland requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates must also attend a state-approved teacher preparation program, known as a Maryland Approved Program (MAP). Those who wish to teach must also pass the state-mandated exams for educators, which are described in further detail below.
For those who hold a bachelor’s degree but did not attend a teacher preparation program as part of the traditional route to teaching, there are alternative teacher certification options in Maryland.
Maryland has adopted a tiered system for teacher certification. Teachers advance their licensure status as they gain further education and experience. Each license type is valid for up to five years. The licensing structure is as follows:
- Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC). New teachers are eligible for the PEC once they have met all Maryland teacher certification requirements and only if they are not yet employed by a Maryland school or district.
- Standard Professional Certificate I (SPC I). Teachers are eligible for the SPC I after employment at a Maryland public school.
- Standard Professional Certificate II (SPC II). Teachers are issued the SPC II after three years of satisfactory professional experience and six semester hours of mandatory coursework. Candidates for this license must also submit a plan for achieving the Advanced Professional Certificate.
- Advanced Professional Certificate (APC). Teachers are eligible for the APC once they have met all the requirements of the SPC and have earned a master’s degree, or completed a minimum of 36 semester hours of post-baccalaureate course work which must include at least 21 semester hours of graduate-level credit. Candidates who achieve National Board Certification and earn at least 12 semester hours of approved graduate-level credits may also qualify for the APC.
- I want to be a teacher in Maryland, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Maryland’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Maryland
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in MD through 20262
Attending an approved Maryland teacher preparation program at an accredited institution is a critical step towards qualifying for teacher certification in Maryland. You can see a list of Maryland Approved Programs (MAPs) on the Maryland State Department of Education website.
When evaluating potential teacher programs, it’s recommended to confirm that the school is accredited by the corresponding regional accreditation agency. Schools headquartered out-of-state or offering online teaching preparation must be accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies and also must hold approval from that state’s Board of Education to qualify graduates for Maryland licensure.
Additionally, accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is considered a marker of quality teacher preparation standards in the education sector.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Maryland.
Maryland Teacher Education Requirements
The state of Maryland requires that prospective teachers earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, candidates must also complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. For traditional pathway candidates, the preparation program will typically be included in coursework for the bachelor’s degree.
Candidates must also complete minimum coursework in reading. Those seeking certificates in Pre-K through the elementary grades must complete 12 semester hours in reading. Those who are certifying in a secondary content area or in the middle to secondary grades must complete six semester hours in reading. Qualifying scores on the Praxis Subject Assessments, as discussed further below, may exempt candidates from this coursework requirement.
Maryland Teacher Testing Requirements
There are several tests that the Maryland State Department of Education requires for those seeking teacher certification. The first exam requirement is passing a basic skills test. Passing scores on the Praxis Core will be accepted as meeting this requirement. The state allows substitution of exceptional scores on the SAT, ACT, or GRE tests in place of a basic skills test.
The second exam requirement is the Praxis Subject Assessment. Candidates will take the Praxis Subject Assessments that correspond to the desired grade level and subject area for which they are seeking endorsement. You can view a breakdown of required exams by licensure area through the Maryland State Department of Education.
Teachers will typically also need to take the teaching skills test, the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching, that aligns with the grade level(s) they wish to teach (Early Childhood, K-6, 5-9, or 7-12).
For those who wish to teach foreign languages, Maryland uses the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency test, which is administered by Language Testing International (LTI). This test is only required for teachers of foreign languages.
Additional Maryland Teacher Certification Requirements
To become eligible for Maryland teacher certification, all teaching applicants must submit to a state and federal background check through a fingerprinting process. The teacher preparation program attended will typically provide candidates with up-to-date information on completing this process.
Maryland Teachers Licensing Application Process
Upon completion of all the requirements stipulated by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), the pertinent documentation must be sent in to support the candidate’s application. Candidates should open an account with the MSDE Certification Educator Portal prior to submitting the required documentation, which includes:
- Official transcript(s) for all coursework taken.
- Verification of a completed teacher preparation program at an approved school.
- Qualifying scores for the required certification tests.
- Completed application along with payment of non-refundable processing fees.
Documents should be mailed to:
Maryland State Department of Education
200 W Branch St
Baltimore, MD 21201
Visit the Maryland Department of Education for further details on Maryland teacher licensing.
Maryland Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
There were 1,424 K-12 public schools in Maryland during the 2016-2017 school year, with an estimated student enrollment of 886,221.3 With approximately 59,703 public school teachers, this gave Maryland a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1.3
From 2016 to 2026, projections suggest that there will be 1,100 average annual openings for elementary school teachers in Maryland, 620 average annual openings for middle school teachers in Maryland, and 830 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Maryland.2 The average annual salary of elementary school teachers in Maryland is $71,060, while middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $69,710 and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $72,610.4 The Maryland State Education Association provides news and current information relevant to educational professionals in Maryland.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||360||$61,210|
|Elementary School Teachers||28,250||$71,060|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||3,970||$64,590|
|Middle School Teachers||12,450||$69,710|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||3,280||$72,880|
|Secondary School Teachers||19,330||$72,610|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||2,150||$71,340|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||650||$71,760|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Maryland School District Requirements
If you would like to learn more about how to become a teacher in Maryland cities, check out our Baltimore page below. Here you’ll find out the steps for becoming a teacher in Baltimore public schools, the requirements to become a substitute teacher, and information about private and charter schools in Baltimore.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Maryland
Question: How can I become a substitute teacher in Maryland?
Answer: The only statewide requirement for becoming a substitute teacher in Maryland is a high school diploma or a GED; however, individual districts may set their own requirements, which typically include an associate’s degree or 60 hours of college credit. To become a substitute in the state, you must apply to individual school districts and meet the employing district’s requirements.
Teaching and Education Programs
1. Maryland State Department of Education: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/Pages/default.aspx
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm