Maine Teacher Certification Guide


How to Become a Teacher in Maine

The three main requirements for aspiring teachers to complete before becoming a K-12 teacher in Maine include:

  1. obtaining a bachelor's degree
  2. completing a teacher preparation program (often included in a bachelor's degree program in education)
  3. passing the appropriate Praxis tests for teachers (a GPA of 3.0 in specific courses or approval of a portfolio are accepted substitutes)

Aspiring teachers who have a bachelor's degree in a field other than education that does not include a teacher preparation program can seek to qualify for certification by having their college transcripts assessed by the Maine Department of Education. This alternative route includes returning to school to obtain the necessary courses from a teacher preparation program.

Those with licenses from other states can also apply to have their transcripts and teaching experience evaluated. Aspiring teachers who pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, which is the Praxis Subject Assessment that applies to the aspiring teacher's chosen area of teaching, may qualify for state certification. In some cases, the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching may be necessary as well. Passing one or all three of these Praxis tests may be required for admission into a teacher preparation program.

Maine Teacher Certification Programs

There are two main licensing levels for those looking to obtain Maine teacher certification

  1. a provisional (or conditional) license
  2. a professional license

Aspiring teachers having recently graduated or begun their careers in education will usually first seek to obtain the 2 year provisional license. It requires a bachelor's degree, a completed teacher preparation program, and a passing score on the relevant types of Praxis tests.

After holding and teaching with the provisional license for 2 years (which can be extended by one year if necessary), teachers can apply to receive the professional license (renewed every 5 years subject to various teacher orientation and professional development courses).

The Maine Department of Education has approved the following colleges with teacher certification programs:

  • Bates College - offers bachelor's degrees in several grade 7-12 subject areas, as well as K-12 Art.
  • Bowdoin College - offers a bachelor's in Education, including Math and Physics subject areas.
  • Colby College - offers a bachelor's in Education with a focus on social justice.
  • College of the Atlantic - the Educational Studies Program can lead to certification in K-12 Art, grades K-8, or grades 7-12 in Life Science, Social Studies, or English.
  • Husson University - undergraduate degrees include Elementary Education and Secondary Education in English, Life Science, or Physical Science. Graduate programs are also offered as well as alternative routes to certification.
  • Saint Joseph's College - offers a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education.
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle - offers bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Physical Education.
  • Thomas College - offers certification in Elementary Education, Early Childhood Education, and Secondary Education in English, Life Science, Math, and Social Studies.
  • University of New England - offers bachelor's degrees in Elementary/Middle Education, Secondary Education, and Art Education.
  • University of Maine at Augusta - offers bachelor's degrees in Elementary and Secondary Education.
  • University of Maine at Farmington - offers bachelor's degrees in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, English Language Learners, Physical Education, Special Education, and World Languages.
  • University of Maine at Machias - offers degree in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, Special Ed, and Inclusive Early Childhood.
  • University of Maine in Orono - offers degrees in Elementary Education, Secondary Education, and Physical Education.
  • University of Southern Maine - offers degrees in Elementary Teacher Education, Secondary Teacher Education, Foreign Language Teacher Education, and Art and Music Teacher Education.

There are also several community colleges from which credits can be transferred into one of the above mentioned 4-year colleges.

Maine Teacher Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree is required for teaching in Maine, with each age and subject group requiring different courses to be completed.

Certificate Sought Provisional Certificate
Professional Certificate
Elementary school 6 semester hours in each of the following:
Math, English, Science, and Social Studies
Adds 3 semester hours of an additional
6 undergraduate elementary education courses
Secondary school 24 semester hours completing
subject-specific coursework
Adds a 3 semester hour course in teaching
exceptional students and a 3 semester hour
course on secondary education methods

Student teaching is required to obtain a professional certificate in both elementary and secondary education unless the aspiring teacher has completed at least 2 years of teaching with a provisional license.

Maine Praxis Testing

There are two Praxis tests that aspiring teachers can pass in order to obtain teacher certification in Maine.

  1. The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Exam (Praxis I) - assesses general knowledge of reading, writing, and mathematics. A composite score of 468 is required to pass, with a score of at least 156 on reading, 162 on writing, and 150 on mathematics.
  2. The Praxis Subject Assessment (Praxis II) - a test specific to the age and subject for which the aspiring teacher is seeking certification. These Assessment tests have different passing scores but can range between 155 and 160.

A third test, the Principles of Learning and Teaching, can be taken for those aspiring teachers who have not completed a state-approved teacher education program. This test also has different passing scores depending on the age group that will be taught, but they range between 157 and 160.

Praxis Core Academics Skills for Educators Exam

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Exam is available to all Maine teachers to take and consists of reading, writing, and mathematics. The Praxis reading test requires test takers to read several passages and analyze, summarize, and synthesize what was read in order to show reading comprehension. Different question formats such as multiple choice and select-in-passage are used.

The Praxis Core writing test consists of two writing assignments that show the test taker's ability to write in both argumentative and informational styles. Several select-response questions are asked about proper researching and editing techniques.

The Praxis Core math assesses mathematical reasoning ability and includes number entry and select-response questions. A calculator is provided.

Praxis II Exam

The purpose of the Praxis Subject Assessment (Praxis II) is to evaluate an aspiring teacher's skills and knowledge of the specific subject area that they hope to teach in. The Maine Department of Education decides which Praxis Subject Assessment are necessary for which teaching subject area, and there are more than 90 available. The format and the length vary but most consist of both multiple choice and essay questions and can range between 1 and 4 hours.

Additional Maine Teacher Certification Requirements

One of the Maine's teacher certification requirements include passing a criminal background check as well as fingerprinting, applied for and scheduled through the Maine Department of Education website.

Maine Teacher Licensing Application Process

Maine's teacher licensing process involves creating a MEIS account through the Maine Department of Education website. There, candidates will be able to fill out their teaching license application, upload and submit documents, pay the application fee, and check on the status of their application. The following will be asked for:

  • All college transcripts
  • If your transcript does not mention that Verification of approved teacher certification program, whether in the transcript or via program verification form filled out by the college
  • All Praxis test scores
  • A criminal background check
  • Fingerprints (can be submitted later)
  • Credit card information for application fee

Aspiring teachers should be prepared to wait 4-6 weeks for approval. The application does not expire. If the Maine DOE denies the initial application, the aspiring teacher can work to complete the necessary courses and submit the missing forms.

Alternative Paths to Licensure for Maine Teachers

There are some additional options for obtaining a Maine teaching license:

  • The ETEP (Extended Teacher Education Program) is an accelerated program offered through the University of Southern Maine. Aspiring teachers with a bachelor's degree can complete this 1 or 2 year graduate level program that leads to a Master of Science in Education and eventually teacher certification.

  • A Master of Arts in Teaching Degree can be obtained in one year by candidates that have a 4 year bachelor's degree in a liberal arts or science field other than education. It's an accelerated, full-time program that offers students all the courses necessary to apply for teacher certification.

  • The Conditional Certificate Program is for candidates who have their bachelor's degree but are still working on completing a few requirements. The certification is given for one year and can be extended if the applicant is making progress towards completing the requirements. The Maine Department of Education decides who qualifies for this program on a case-by-case basis.

  • Earning a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all state-required courses can be offered in lieu of taking the Praxis Core. The course subjects and number of credits can vary by grade level a teacher wants to be certified for but typically include math, English, science, social science, and pedagogy courses.

  • A second alternative to Praxis tests for teachers include submitting a portfolio for approval by the state Department of Education. This needs to include proof of competency in all 11 of the Initial Teacher Certification Standards for the state, including understanding of learner development, learning environments, instructional strategies, and technology standards.

Maine Teacher Certification for Out-of-State Teachers

Out-of-State teachers can apply for teacher certification in Maine. The Maine Department of Education uses the Interstate Agreement to determine eligibility. The candidate needs to have been teaching 5 of the last 7 years in the same age and subject as they're applying for and possess an active teaching license for that same age and subject. They also need to submit their college transcripts to show that they attended a state-approved preparation program, a resume that shows their teaching experience, a background check, and fingerprints (can be mailed). If the out-of-state teacher has not completed the Praxis tests required for Maine aspiring teachers, they will need to take those and submit their test results as well.

Maine Educator Professional Development & Advancement

A teacher who has a provisional teaching certificate can apply for the professional certificate after 2 successful years of teaching, though the applicant needs to finish and submit any missing coursework required. The professional license needs to be renewed every 5 years through the MEIS on the Maine Department of Education website, along with the application fee and background check.

There are several other ways in which a teacher can advance their career. They can choose to pursue an advanced degree such as a Master of Arts in Teaching, which leads to an approximate $5000 per year salary increase. Professional development that teachers can pursue outside of a graduate degree is the NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards), which is rewarded by a small increase in salary.

Finally, teachers can gain relevant skills and knowledge by pursuing advanced certification in specialized fields such as Special Education or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Maine Teacher Employment Outlook & Salary

Salary and other information for teachers in Maine is presented in the following table:

Number of schools in Maine 617 (548 elementary, 206 high schools)
Average student Attendance 90.3% (national average is 93.1%)
Annual Salary for Teachers average: $52,000, ranging from $35,000 for a first year teacher with a bachelor's degree to $70,000 for a teacher with a master's degree and 30 years of teaching experience.
Number of teachers in Maine 18,400
Teacher job openings per year 98 Kindergarten, 336 Elementary, 337 Secondary
Areas with teacher shortages General Elementary (K-9), Early Childhood (Pre-K) English Language Arts (7-12), Teacher of Students with Disabilities, Mathematics (7-12)
Teacher benefits Summers off, affordable health insurance, retirement planning (full retirement at 65 with 5 years of teaching, or at any age with 25 years of teaching)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get a conditional teaching certificate in Maine?

    The Maine Department of Education will give a conditional teaching certificate, valid for one year, on a case by case basis. Aspiring teachers who have completed their bachelor's but are missing just a few courses, may apply for this type of certificate.

  • What grade do I need to pass the Praxis?

    A composite grade of 468 is required to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Exam (156 on reading, 162 on writing, and 150 on mathematics). Passing grades for the Praxis Subject Assessments vary by subject.

  • Can I take the Praxis from home?

    Yes, the Praxis tests can be taken at home for those who live in the United States. The test is done on the computer and a human proctor is used to monitor the test taking process.

  • Are teachers needed in Maine?

    Yes, teachers are needed in Maine, especially Early Childhood, Elementary, and English and Mathematics Secondary teachers. There are approximately 800 Elementary and Secondary school teacher job openings every year. Demand for teachers is expected to grow by 7% every year.

  • How much do Maine Teachers Make?

    Teachers in Maine make an average of $52,000 per year. First year elementary school teachers with a bachelor's degree will make approximately $35,000, whereas experienced high school teachers with master's degrees can make up to $70,000. Salaries increase with experience and level of education and professional development.

  • Does Maine have teacher reciprocity?

    Maine does not have teacher reciprocity, but uses the Interstate Agreement to determine eligibility. As long as out-of-state teachers meet all the requirements for Maine teacher certification, they will be approved.