Maryland Alternative Teacher Certification

Teacher certification in Maryland is overseen by the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Educator Certification and Program Approval. All prospective teachers in the state must have at least a bachelor’s degree. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in Maryland. Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. Continue reading to learn more about these options.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

To pursue alternative teacher certification in Maryland, candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree. There are several pathways that candidates can follow based on their educational background and experience. These alternative routes may allow you to teach while fulfilling certification requirements, potentially reducing the time it takes to earn a standard teaching certificate.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Maryland

Maryland’s alternative teacher certification programs typically lead to the award of a master’s degree plus eligibility for licensure. It is also possible, though not common, for highly-qualified educators to earn certification via portfolio, an option which only a few states offer. Most applicants will, however, be required to complete formal teacher preparation in order to become licensed to teach in Maryland.

Resident Teacher Certificate (RTC)

The Resident Teacher Certificate (RTC) allows candidates to teach while attending an alternative teacher preparation program. RTC alternative preparation programs are jointly administered by school districts and participating colleges and universities and typically lead to the issuance of a post-graduate certificate. Such a program may also lead to a master’s degree in education, or in a core subject that includes an approved certification program.

Those interested in this route to certification should review the Maryland Approved Alternative Preparation Programs guide.

Conditional Certificate (COND)

Though not common, the Maryland State Department of Education will issue a Conditional Certificate to a candidate who is not already certified to teach at the request of a local school system. The local school system will typically only request this credential if no certified teachers can be found for an open position. This type of certificate is only valid for two years.

Certificate Issued After Transcript Analysis

Unlike many other states, Maryland does retain the option to issue teaching certification to candidates who do not meet typical certification requirements if their college transcripts demonstrate deep content-area knowledge. This type of certification will only be issued for endorsements in specific secondary subjects and the requirements are stringent. You can review the full requirements here. Candidates must post passing scores on the state-required educator assessments prior to requesting a transcript evaluation.

Testing Requirements for Maryland Alternative Certification

All Maryland educators must pass the same set of exams to become fully licensed to teach in the state. First, candidates must pass a basic skills test. The Praxis Core meets this requirement. Exceptional scores on the SAT, ACT, or GRE tests may replace the basic skills exam requirement.

Next, candidates must take the Praxis content area assessments appropriate to the grade level and subject area for which the candidate seeks endorsement. A listing of required Praxis content area exams by endorsement area is available through the Maryland State Department of Education.

Teachers of foreign languages must take the American Council on Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency test, administered through Language Testing International (LTI).

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Reciprocity in Maryland is possible for out-of-state certified teachers who completed a teacher preparation program that holds approval from the appropriate State Board of Education. For details on reciprocity requirements, see our teaching license reciprocity resource or contact the Maryland Department of Education.

Maryland School District Requirements

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Maryland

In order to ensure that you qualify for licensure, it’s important to verify that the certification program you select is approved by the state. The schools below offer teacher preparation programs that typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree and which have been approved by the Maryland State Department of Education (MDSDE):

  • Bowie State University (Master’s)
  • Coppin State University (Master’s)
  • Frostburg State University* (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Goucher College* (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Hood College (Certificate)
  • Johns Hopkins University* (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Loyola University Maryland* (Master’s)
  • McDaniel College (Master’s)
  • Morgan State University (Master’s)
  • Mount Saint Mary’s University (Master’s)
  • Notre Dame of Maryland University* (Certificate, Master’s)
  • Salisbury University (Master’s)
  • St. Mary’s College of Maryland (Master’s)
  • Stevenson University (Master’s)
  • Towson University (Master’s)
  • University of Maryland-Baltimore County* (Master’s), College Park (Master’s), Eastern Shore (Master’s), Global Campus (Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Maryland State Department of Education: https://www.marylandpublicschools.org/Pages/default.aspx