Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Maine

Maine teachers must earn bachelor's degrees and meet education and testing requirements that are specific to the subject areas where they wish to teach. They also go through a background check process.

Maine has an approval process for in-state schools.

Out-of-state teachers from states that participate in an inter-state compact may be credentialed on the basis of having completed formal programs or on the basis of three years of recent experience.

Conditional credentials may be issued when there is a shortage. These can put teachers into classrooms at an earlier stage. Conditionally credentialed teachers are professionals who already hold degrees at the bachelor’s level; they continue to take coursework toward full certification. Maine has a new conditional credential designed to meet the need for teachers in the special education arena. A person can be granted a conditional credential as a teacher of students with disabilities after as few as nine semester hours. The conditionally certified teacher will receive intensive mentoring and support.

Maine Teaching Endorsements

There are many subject area authorizations. Maine offers both an elementary (K-8) and early elementary (K-3) certification.

Secondary certification is offered in the following subjects:

  • Life Science
  • Physical Science
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Driver's Education

Middle school (5-8) endorsements are available in English, social studies, mathematics, and science. Some subjects list among the requirements graduation/ recommendation from a program specifically designed for the preparation of middle level educators.

World language certification is available in multiple languages including Spanish and Chinese.

K-12 fields include the following, among others:

  • English as a Second Language
  • Art
  • Music
  • Theater
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Physical Education
  • Adapted Physical Education

Adapted physical education is an adjunct credential, designed for a teacher who already possesses a physical education credential.

Maine issues certification as ‘teacher of disabled students’ in several age or grade bands. Other special education credentials such as teaching the severely disabled and teaching the blind and visually impaired are available at the K-12 level.

Endorsement standards are available from the Department of Education ( Many K-12 and secondary endorsements follow a similar pattern: 24 semester hours in a content area (for example, math, or theater) plus a course in teaching methods that is specific to the content area, a course in teacher the exceptional child in the general classroom, and a student teaching experience. Credentialing is dependent on passing a test that is specific to the teaching area.

Some, like elementary education, have very specific requirements. An elementary K-8 teacher will have methods courses in reading, math, science, and social studies. He or she will have a methods course in language arts or another qualifying course such as children’s literature.

Maine, like other states, has provisions in place to make it easier for certified teachers to step into roles where they are not currently endorsed but are needed. Endorsement standards note requirements for issuance of a transitional credential to already certified teachers. In many cases, the minimum requirement for the transitional credential is nine semester hours. The student teaching requirement can be waived when a teacher has taught for a year in a Maine school in the area for which endorsement is sought.

Standards are revisited periodically. Applicants are directed to contact the Certification Office if standards for the desired credential show a date more than two years in the past. (In September of 2018, many endorsements show a July 2018 date.)

The testing vendor states that the Maine licensing authority may carry out transcript analysis for individuals who have not completed state-approved or nationally accredited educator preparation programs (

The Assessment Process

Maine uses Praxis assessments. Teacher candidates will take the appropriate subject area test. Elementary and early elementary candidates will take a pedagogy test at the appropriate level. This will be either Principles of Teaching and Learning: Early Childhood or Principles of Teaching and Learning: K-6. K-12 and secondary level teacher candidates take a pedagogy test if they did not complete a state-approved program. (K-12 candidates who are required to take a pedagogy test will take either of two: Principles of Teaching and Learning: K-6 or Principles of Teaching and Learning: 7-12.)

Prospective teachers also take a basic skills assessment. Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) is the adopted test; it is also part of the ETS Praxis series.

ETS maintains state-specific pages for Maine ( Candidates can view candidate bulletins. They can see what score they will need to pass particular assessments.

The Application Process

Application-related forms can be found on the website of the Department of Education (

The licensing authority requires official transcripts. International transcripts must be evaluated by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member organization.

Out-of-state teachers submit copies of their licenses.

Maine has recently launched an online certification system. Step-by-step instructions are found in the forms section. Applicants can monitor their status online.

A candidate will need to complete a fingerprint-based background check before his or her certificate can be issued. The approved vendor is IdentoGO. Typically fingerprints are made electronically. The Department of Education has provided a timeline and a link to register ( Out-of-state applicants will receive special instructions upon registration.

Additional Information

Maine teachers are under the authority of the Maine Department of Education ( The Certification Office can be reached by email at ‘cert.doe at’.

There have been new rules enacted recently.

Rule updates are published on the Certification Office web page.