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.
Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Maryland

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in MD through 20242

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 Outlook
From 2014 to 2024, the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation projects 14,524 openings due to growth for elementary school teachers in Maryland, 8,138 openings due to growth for middle school teachers in Maryland, and 8,324 openings due to growth for secondary school teachers in Maryland.3 These projected openings are in addition to replacements as current teachers leave their positions. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 59,430 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Maryland, excluding special education teachers.4 The average annual salary of elementary school teachers in Maryland is $63,750, while middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $65,940 and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $66,080.4 The Maryland State Education Association provides news and current information relevant to educational professionals in Maryland.

Maryland Teacher Education Requirements

Maryland State SealThe 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 6 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 either 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 Assessments. 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.

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.

Visit the Maryland Department of Education for further details on Maryland teacher licensing.

Maryland Teacher Salary and Jobs

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers9,120$31,120
Preschool Teachers, Special Education640$64,440
Kindergarten Teachers2,280$58,820
Elementary School Teachers25,410$63,750
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School4,590$55,950
Middle School Teachers14,240$65,940
Middle School Teachers, Special Education2,780$66,010
Secondary School Teachers19,780$66,080
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education3,090$65,080
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education920$67,330

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

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

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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. Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation: http://www.dllr.state.md.us/lmi/iandoproj/
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Maryland: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm