How to Become a Teacher in Maine

Every state has its own rules and requirements for teaching credentials. Find out what it takes to earn teaching certification in Maine.

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by Doug Wintemute

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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How to Become a Teacher in Maine

Working in public schools and many private schools requires teaching certification in Maine. With a bachelor's degree, the right endorsements, and passing exam scores, prospective teachers can enter the education field and help shape the young minds in their community.

According to the state's Department of Education Newsroom, Maine has a shortage of teachers in many disciplines and age groups. To meet the demand, the state has introduced financial aid incentives, such as preferable loan repayment plans and loan forgiveness.

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Ready to start your journey?

Maine hopes to encourage new high school graduates to enter the teaching field and former college graduates to return to college for a teaching degree. Prospective teachers have access to educator preparation programs at many on-campus and online colleges in Maine.

Here, we show you how to become a teacher in Maine. We also discuss the various certificate and endorsement options and teaching careers available.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Maine?

Educators working in all public schools and many private schools must earn teaching certification in Maine. While the terms certificates, certifications, and licenses are used differently depending on the state, Maine calls its teaching credentials certificates and certifications, as per the Department of Education (DOE).

Prospective teachers must complete an approved educator preparation program at the bachelor's level and the appropriate Praxis tests to qualify for certification. Out-of-state applicants with a comparable certificate and candidates from other disciplines may take alternative paths to certification. Maine offers conditional teacher certificates for new teachers and professional teacher certificates for experienced teachers.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

Educators teaching in Maine must complete an approved educator preparation program, such as a bachelor's in education. They may choose from one of many endorsements to specialize in a desired grade level and discipline. Each endorsement has its own requirements and prerequisites.

While the prerequisites vary, the following list shows the study requirements for a general elementary endorsement:

The number of credits required in each subject depends on the endorsement and grade level. While Maine does not require a specific GPA for certification, a minimum 3.0 GPA in all required coursework may allow prospective teachers to bypass a Praxis test. An approved portfolio submission can lead to the same outcome.

Gain Student Teaching Experience

Prospective teachers can qualify for teaching certification in Maine with the practical training provided in approved educator preparation programs. These programs typically feature a field experience component of at least 30 hours.

For the professional teaching certificate in Maine, candidates must complete a student teaching requirement from within an educator preparation program or one year in a professional teaching role. Student teaching components vary in length. But they typically run for at least one 15-week semester.

Throughout their training and work experience, educators learn to implement lesson plans, support students, and manage diverse classrooms.

Pass Required Certification Tests

For teaching certification in Maine, prospective educators need to pass a series of Praxis tests. Regardless of level and endorsement, all educators take the Core Academic Skills For Educators and Principles of Learning and Teaching tests.

People seeking an endorsement must also pass the respective test for their grade and discipline. The grade options include:

The discipline options include:

Apply for Certification

Prior to teaching in Maine, prospective educators must register on the Maine Educator Information System and submit all required documents. Transcripts from approved educator preparation programs are typically sent to the Maine DOE automatically, but applicants may need to submit their own verifications.

Other requirements may include endorsements, passing test scores, and contact hour verifications. Applicants must also submit fingerprints and a clean background check. The initial application costs $100 to process, plus $35 for each additional endorsement.

Applicants can check their status online.

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Maine?

To maintain teaching certification in Maine, educators need to renew their certification within six months of their certificate's expiration date. The conditional teacher certificate is valid for three years, and the professional certificate is valid for five years. Depending on the certificate, one-, three-, and five-year renewals are available.

Educators must complete a minimum of six college credits or 90 contact hours to qualify for renewal. Contact hours and college credits must be relevant professional development hours. They also need to pay $100 for the application processing fee.

Educators with a lapsed certificate must process a new application and pay the appropriate fees.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Maine

According to the Maine DOE, the state has teacher shortages in several age groups and disciplines, including:

The shortages in these fields increase the overall demand for education careers and teaching careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Maine employs more than 37,000 educational professionals, and the annual mean wage was $53,240 in May 2020. Aspiring teachers can improve their job prospects by choosing to go to graduate school and completing a master's in education.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Maine

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teacher

Kindergarten and elementary school teachers teach K-6 classrooms. They create lesson plans in accordance with curriculum guidelines, assess students, and help learners overcome learning challenges. These teachers also manage classrooms and work with parents and families when needed. They need an elementary education endorsement for teaching in Maine, plus any specialty endorsement.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

Middle School Teacher

Middle school teachers teach, test, and assess students in classrooms between grades 6-8. They need to accommodate and manage the behaviors of diverse learners and help their students prepare for the next stage in their education. These educators need an endorsement in general elementary education or a specialty middle school discipline for teaching in Maine.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

High School Teacher

High school teachers manage classrooms of students in grades 9-12. They create lesson plans that follow the school curricula, administer standardized tests, and assess students. They also help learners identify their strengths and interests and prepare them for postsecondary school or careers. For teaching in Maine, these teachers need endorsements in the K-12 or 7-12 age groups in their desired discipline.

Median Annual Salary: $62,870

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students with physical and intellectual disabilities in all age groups. They adapt lessons to fit the student's individual education plan while also preparing the learner for the next stage in their education. There are many endorsements for special needs teaching certifications in Maine, including teacher of students with disabilities and special needs teacher endorsements.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators research, design, and develop new training programs and practices. They work with educators, schools, and school boards to determine needs and then create and implement solutions. Instructional coordinators typically need a master's degree and an administrator endorsement to work in Maine.

Median Annual Salary: $66,970

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Maine

How do I get teaching certification in Maine?

To get a conditional teacher certificate in Maine, educators must complete a bachelor's degree in an approved educator preparation program. Educators need the appropriate endorsement to teach a specific age group and discipline.

Candidates with a degree in a non-approved discipline or valid teaching certification in another state may pursue an alternative certification path. The next step is to complete the necessary general and endorsement-specific Praxis tests. Teachers with conditional teaching certificates may qualify for professional teaching certificates after one year of teaching experience.

Can I teach in Maine without certification?

In the public school system, Maine teachers need certification to teach at all levels and disciplines. Students need the right education, the proper endorsements, and passing grades on the appropriate exams. The state does not award credentials to professionals based on experience and may not have an interstate reciprocity agreement in place.

While all public school positions require teaching certification in Maine, some private schools may hire candidates without it.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Maine?

The process to become a teacher in Maine depends on the endorsement and the level of certification. In general, it takes four years to complete a bachelor's degree to qualify for conditional teacher certification. According to the Maine DOE, the application processing time varies but typically takes 3-4 weeks.

For professional teacher certification, candidates must work for a minimum of one year, which brings the time commitment up to five years plus 3-4 weeks. For certain endorsements, the required courses may call for additional training and lead to a longer graduation timeline.

What can I do with teaching certification in Maine?

Educators can work in all public schools and private schools with a teaching certification in Maine, teaching in K-12 classrooms. Depending on their endorsement, they can teach in general education classes in grades K-8, specialized subjects in grades 5-12, or with specific student types in grades K-12.

Maine also offers certificates and endorsements for adult education, business education, world languages, and career and technical education. Both in-state and out-of-state students can access these endorsements.

How do I become a substitute teacher in Maine?

Interested applicants can gather substitute teacher details and application information from the Maine DOE. The job requirements vary by location and position, but most candidates need college-level training or professional experience. They also need to submit a clean background check and fingerprints.

Candidates must create an account on the Maine Educator Information System and submit all the required paperwork. They then need to complete the necessary online video training and meet with the school staff.

Feature Image: Westend61 / Westend61 / Getty Images

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