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.

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 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. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Maryland schools page.

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.

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 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 Education Application and Certification Hub 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
Certification Branch
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.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers9,400$38,440
Preschool Teachers, Special Education360$61,210
Kindergarten Teachers2,610$67,170
Elementary School Teachers28,250$71,060
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School3,970$64,590
Middle School Teachers12,450$69,710
Middle School Teachers, Special Education3,280$72,880
Secondary School Teachers19,330$72,610
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,150$71,340
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education650$71,760

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Maryland

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Maryland broadly has the following shortages5:

  • Art and Music Education (Art, Dance, Music), Pre-K-12
  • Art and Music Education (Theatre), 7-12
  • Career and Technical Education (Business Education; Computer Science; Family and Consumer Science; Professional Technical; Technology Preparation), 7-12
  • Early Childhood (General Curriculum/Early Childhood), Pre-K-3
  • English as a Second Language (English as a Second Language), Pre-K-12
  • Health and Physical Fitness (Health Science, Physical Education), Pre-K-12
  • Language Arts (English), 7-12
  • Mathematics (Basic and Advanced Mathematics), 7-12
  • Science (Biological Sciences, Chemistry), 7-12
  • Social Studies (General), 7-12
  • Special Education (All Exceptionalities), Pre-K-12
  • World Languages (French, Spanish), Pre-K-12

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

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.

Question: How much do teachers make in Maryland?

Answer: On average, elementary, middle, and high school teachers (excluding special and career/technical education) earn an annual salary of over $71,000.4 Factors contributing to teacher salary include location, level taught, and teacher qualifications.

Question: In what areas are teachers needed in Maryland?

Answer: Maryland has reported teacher shortages in several areas for the 2021-22 school year, including special education, Spanish, French, science, and English as a second language.5 Teachers of these shortage area subjects may find more job opportunities than other teachers.

1. Maryland State Department of Education: https://www.marylandpublicschools.org/Pages/default.aspx
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, 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
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/