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Maine Teacher Certification and Career Guide

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) oversees teacher certification for the state. The main steps for the traditional path to teacher certification in Maine are:

  1. Complete a state-approved bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component or that meets designated coursework requirements.
  2. Complete a student teaching placement.
  3. Demonstrate competency in Maine’s Initial Teacher Certification Standards, if required.
  4. Apply for a teaching certificate or license.

Continue reading to learn more about the traditional certification pathway in Maine.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a Teacher in Maine
Teacher Certification Renewal
Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate
Teaching License Reciprocity
Related Licenses
Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions


How to Become a Teacher in Maine

This section outlines the steps for becoming a first-time certified teacher in Maine via the traditional route. Maine has two primary certificates for teachers:

  • Professional Teacher Certificate (5-Year): Standard certificate for new teachers. Issued for one grade level with one or more endorsements in a subject area.
  • Conditional Certificate (3-Year): For teachers who have not yet met all the requirements for a professional certificate but can reasonably be expected to meet all requirements within three years.

If you have a bachelor’s degree but haven’t completed a teacher preparation program, check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in Maine.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program or meets designated coursework requirements.

Prospective educators in Maine must complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university to qualify for certification. The bachelor’s degree major will depend on the grade level and subject to be taught. They must also complete a state-approved educator preparation program (EPP), usually as part of their bachelor’s degree.

You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs on our Maine schools page. You can also read about two important accreditations to consider, institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, on our teaching schools guide.

2. Complete a student teaching placement.

Prospective teachers in Maine must complete at least 15 weeks of full-time student teaching, or a combination of part-time and full-time student teaching equivalent to 15 weeks. Student teachers must work in the same grade level and subject they intend to be certified in. During this placement, candidates will earn valuable experience shadowing an experienced teacher with opportunities to lead the classroom. The student teaching placement can be waived for some endorsement areas with one full year of successful teaching under a Conditional Certificate in the same endorsement area at the specified grade level.

3. Demonstrate competency in Maine’s Initial Teacher Certification Standards, if required.

Maine State Seal Prospective educators in Maine seeking certification through Transcript Analysis are required to demonstrate competency in the Initial Teacher Certification Standards (InTASC) to qualify for teacher certification. There are three ways candidates can demonstrate competency:

  • Pass a basic skills test in reading, writing, and mathematics, such as the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests
  • Achieve at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all courses required for teacher certification
  • Complete a successful student-teaching portfolio review

4. Apply for Maine teacher certification.

Once these steps are completed, candidates can apply for a Maine Professional Teaching Certificate. Applications must be submitted online through the Maine Educator Information System (MEIS) portal. The following documents must be submitted as part of the teaching certification application:

  • Official transcripts from all schools attended
  • Demonstration of competency in Maine InTASC, if required
  • Completed Criminal History Records Check (CHRC) and fingerprinting (also processed through MEIS)
  • Application fees

Applicants can check the DOE website for additional details about the teacher certification process.

Guide to Other Teaching Pathways

Maine Teacher Certification Renewal

Professional teacher certificates in Maine must be renewed every five years. Teachers will receive an alert on their MEIS profile six months before their credentials expire. Renewal applications can be completed through the MEIS portal. Teachers working in a Maine public school will work with a Support Chair, who will recommend them for renewal. All teachers must also complete six semester credits of education courses or 90 contact hours to qualify for renewal. In addition, Maine educators will need to submit a Professional Renewal Plan using the InTASC Model Core Standards to guide their goals. CHRCs also expire every five years, so a new background check application will need to be completed before renewal.

Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate

Once teachers have obtained their certification, they are only authorized to teach in the grade and subject listed on their credentials, though occasional, temporary exceptions are made. To add an endorsement to a current teaching certificate, teachers must complete the specific education and testing requirements for each endorsement. They can qualify for an endorsement by completing an approved EPP in the endorsement area or by completing specific coursework in the endorsement area. More details about endorsement requirements can be found on the DOE’s certification requirements Part II Update page.

Maine Teaching License Reciprocity

To address an identified staffing shortage, a reciprocal Professional Certificate can be granted to out-of-state teachers who have completed a CHRC and hold a comparable certificate from another state. For other areas, out-of-state applicants can apply by submitting the following documentation through the MEIS portal:

  • Current out-of-state teaching certificate
  • CHRC
  • Application fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Relevant exam scores

More details about the reciprocity process are available on the Maine DOE initial certification page. You can learn more about transferring a teaching certificate or license between states on our guide to certification reciprocity.

In addition to the standard teaching certificate, Maine has many certifications for support roles. In total, Maine offers over 150 different endorsements for teachers, administrators, and education specialists. Some of these endorsements include:

  • Certificate 010 (Superintendent): Superintendents must hold an advanced degree and have at least three years of teaching experience and three years of administrative experience. Applicants must also qualify by completing an approved EPP to meet the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) requirements.
  • Certificate 057 (Teaching Principal): Teaching Principals can work as principals in a Pre-K-8 setting for less than 50% of the day and simultaneously hold a regular teaching position. Teaching Principals must have at least a bachelor’s degree, a current teaching certificate, and at least three years of teaching experience.
  • Certificate 093 (School Psychologist): This certificate allows the holder to work with students from birth through 12th grade. School psychologists must have an advanced degree and can qualify for certification through one of four eligibility pathways. Each pathway option has a combination of education requirements and professional certifications or recommendations.

A complete list of certificates and endorsements, as well as their requirements and pathway options, are available in the Maine Certification Rules.

Maine Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

Projected Job Growth

3.3%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in ME through 20302*

There were an estimated 180,473 students enrolled across Maine’s 599 K-12 public schools during the 2017-2018 school year.3 With 14,760 teachers during that school year, Maine had a student-to-teacher ratio of just over 12:1.3

Overall, job growth for educators in Maine is expected to be significantly lower than the national rates, except for secondary career and technical education teachers. Job growth for Maine kindergarten teachers is projected at 4.0% compared to 13.% nationally; for elementary school teachers, 2.9% compared to 7.4% nationally; and for secondary school teachers, 3.6% compared to 13.7% nationally.2 The career group of secondary career and technical education teachers, however, is expected to grow by 11.1% in Maine through 2030, compared to 7.2% nationally.2

The table below provides a detailed comparison of job growth prospects and salary levels for Maine teachers.

TypeNumber Employed in ME4Average Annual Openings in ME2ME Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302Average Annual Salary in ME425th Percentile Wages in ME575th Percentile Wages in ME5
Preschool Teachers1,1002105.5%$39,110$30,140$46,250
Preschool Teachers, Special Education90$44,320$32,190$52,810
Kindergarten Teachers1,0701104%$57,500$44,160$73,390
Elementary School Teachers5,5504802.9%$60,470$47,000$74,420
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Special Education990903.4%$58,430$47,440$66,240
Middle School Teachers3,5402602.8%$59,370$46,860$71,750
Middle School Teachers, Special Education510402%$57,130$44,820$66,300
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education
Secondary School Teachers5,3304003.6%$59,260$47,650$72,090
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education750503.2%$57,600$45,680$70,120
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education1011.1%$55,430$44,570$58,760

*The estimated job growth average is based on projections for mainstream kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Projections for other categories, such as special education and career and technical education, may be higher or lower than the average.

Teacher Shortages in Maine

Maine has reported several teacher shortages across numerous key areas. The US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2023-2024 has listed the following teacher shortages in Maine:

In addition to the above shortages, there were 689 unfilled teaching positions in Maine during the 2017-2018 school year (the most recent data available).7 During the 2021-2022 school year, 276 teachers were considered underqualified for their position, which includes teachers assigned to classrooms outside their certification field on a temporary or emergency basis.7

Additional Resources

Related Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are the requirements to be a substitute teacher in Maine?

Answer: Substitute teachers in Maine need at least a high school diploma, but do not have to hold a current teaching license, so long as their teaching assignments do not exceed six consecutive weeks. Substitute teachers working in a single assignment for more than six weeks must be certified in the subject and grade they are working in.

Question: How many private schools does Maine have?

Answer: Maine reported 152 operating private schools during the 2019-2020 school year.8 These private schools employed 2,084 full-time teachers and provided for 18,357 students.8 The Maine DOE requires teachers working at any approved private school in Maine to have an up-to-date teacher certification.

References:
1. Maine Board of Education: https://www.maine.gov/doe/home
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2017-2018: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Maine: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_me.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Teacher Shortages in the United States, Tuan D. Nguyen et al.: https://teachershortages.com/
8. National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey, 2019-20: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/TABLE15fl1920.asp