Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Maryland

Teaching is a career for professionals with education at at least the bachelor's level (and often at the master's level). Maryland accepts multiple paths. A person can qualify after completing a Maryland-approved program or a program approved by another state. Programs are specific to the subject area and/ or population that the teacher will be responsible for. It is not uncommon for teachers to add teaching areas, though, without completing additional programs.

Applicants may be approved after transcript analysis; this is an appropriate path for a person who holds a degree in an area that is related to the one where they will be teaching. Alternative programs may put degreed professionals into the classroom sooner. Out-of-state certificate holders can be approved if they have sufficient recent experience; this is an option for individuals who took less common certification paths in another jurisdiction.

Ultimately, Maryland sets standards high. Renewal is based on earning additional academic credits. A teacher who is employed under a standard professional certificate is expected to have a plan in place for achieving advanced licensure. Advanced credentialing entails completing a master’s degree, accruing a large block of graduate credits, or achieving National Board certification. The National Board certification program is portfolio-based and rewards exemplary practice and reflective ability.

The Department of Education has provided lists of university-based programs (

Teaching Areas

Teaching areas fall under the following broad classifications:

  • Early Childhood/Elementary
  • Middle School
  • Secondary
  • Special Education
  • Specialty Areas

Initial licensure in early childhood or elementary education is as a generalist. Middle school endorsements are available in core areas (mathematics, English language arts, science, social studies). These endorsements authorize subject area teaching for grades 4-9, and overlap grade-wise with elementary (1-6) and secondary (7-12). Secondary certifications cover a broader range of topics. The following is a sampling:

  • Agriculture/Agribusiness and Renewable Natural Resources
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Geography
  • History
  • Marketing
  • Political Science

Maryland specialty areas cover P-12. They are offered in traditional ‘special subjects’ such as art and physical education and in less common ones such as environmental education.

Special education credentials are offered in multiple grade bands and also in several special categories. A person can, for example, be an early childhood special education teacher or a special education teacher with a specialization in working with students who are deaf or hearing impaired.

Some additional teaching areas are endorsement only; they are added onto existing certifications. Among them are elementary STEM leader and mathematics instructional leader.

Maryland has mandates about teaching within one’s own teaching area (s). This doesn't mean one won't teach any classes outside this, but there are some limits. In some cases, one will need to be working toward meeting requirements in the other teaching area.

Endorsements may be added by examination or credit count.

Reading Coursework Requirement

Maryland has reading coursework requirements that apply to teachers across categories. Early childhood, elementary, and early childhood or elementary levels teachers are expected to have 12 semester hours. Secondary, K-12, and secondary special education teachers are expected to have six. State code identifies particular topics that are to be addressed. Reading coursework can be credited toward the coursework requirement for renewal. A teacher who is certified at the professional level in early childhood, elementary, or early childhood/ elementary special education but has not had the required coursework may test out of the coursework.

Assessment Requirements

A candidate can expect to pass multiple assessments along the way.

Prospective teachers pass a general academic test. The licensing authority can accept SAT, ACT, or GRE scores above a certain threshold; scores depend on administration date. Some students will be required to take the Praxis CORE.

Most subject area tests are part of the ETS Praxis series. The Department of Education has provided a list of Praxis tests by subject area along with test code and passing scores ( Graduates of middle school certification programs often have dual subjects; they are required to pass two subject examinations.

Many initial certifications also carry a pedagogy test requirement. Typically, this is Principles of Learning and Teaching test at the appropriate grade band. World language majors do not have a pedagogy test requirement if they graduated from approved programs. However, those who are approved based on transcript review must pass a world languages pedagogy test ( In a similar vein, pedagogy testing is required of some, but not all, middle school certification candidates.

Maryland also uses assessments administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

The same tests are in widespread use around the nation. The Maryland licensing authority can accept assessments taken in other jurisdictions if scores are at the level required in Maryland. Experienced out-of-state teachers may be exempted from the usual test requirements.

Applicants for transcript review complete some testing requirements before application.

The Application Process

Maryland has an online educator portal. Some supporting documentation must be sent separately. Forms can be downloaded from the Department of Education website ( Applicants can select the statement that best describes their circumstances and credentials to be directed to the list of documents they will submit.

Generally, candidates submit transcripts, test scores, and verification of experience if applicable.

Teacher Certification Levels

An individual who has met requirements but is not yet employed is issued a Professional Eligibility Certificate. The individual is issued a Standard Professional Certificate when employed by a qualifying school or school system. Higher level certifications include Standard Professional Certificate II and Advanced Professional Certificate.

Additional Information

Maryland educators are certified by the Maryland Department of Education ( Certification Call Center can be reached at 410-767-0412 or 866-772-8922.

The Maryland State Education Association is an additional professional resource (