How to Become a Teacher in Maryland

Maryland public school teachers need a state-issued certification. Our guide walks through the steps of how to become a teacher in Maryland.
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Teachers in Maryland work in urban and rural districts where they teach students a variety of subjects, including science, math, foreign languages, and history. Educators who want to work in Maryland public schools need teaching certification.

In Maryland, prospective teachers have several available pathways to certification. Some complete an educator preparation program in Maryland or another state. Others change careers into education and complete alternate preparation programs. Prospective teachers can attend an in-person or online program in Maryland or go back to college to earn a teaching degree. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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With above-average salaries––Maryland high school teachers earn a median pay of $78,510 per year––the state is a great place for teachers. However, before pursuing teaching careers, prospective teachers should understand how to become a teacher in Maryland.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Maryland?

In Maryland, educators must hold teaching certification to work in public schools. The state offers four levels of certification depending on the candidate's qualifications and experience. Initial teacher certification requires a bachelor's degree and an educator preparation program. Candidates must also pass certification exams.

The Maryland Department of Education issues teaching certifications. Educators licensed in another state can apply for a reciprocal license in Maryland. The state also offers certifications for applicants who complete an out-of-state educator preparation program. Maryland teaching certifications remain valid for five years.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

As in other states, teaching in Maryland requires a bachelor's degree. Many teachers meet the requirement by earning a bachelor's in education. Education majors complete specialized training in pedagogy, teaching standards, and assessment methods. In Maryland, 23 colleges and universities offer professional educator certification programs. These programs offer more than 300 specialization options, including 45 different teaching areas.

College graduates with a bachelor's degree in a non-teaching field can complete an educator preparation program or earn a master's in teaching. Maryland also awards certification to graduates from out-of-state educator preparation programs.

Maryland also sets a minimum GPA for teacher certification. Applicants need a minimum 3.0 GPA in their most recent degree. Candidates who do not meet the requirement must pass a basic skills test.

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Gain Student Teaching Experience

Maryland teachers complete student teaching experience as part of their training. Students who complete a Maryland-approved educator preparation program meet the student teaching requirement during their degree. Each program sets its own minimum hours for student teaching. The requirements may also vary depending on the degree and specialization area.

Prospective teachers who do not complete a teacher training program can pursue alternative preparation programs. These intensive programs prepare learners for classroom teaching through challenging training. After completing an alternative preparation program, including classroom experience, candidates earn their teacher certification in Maryland.

Pass Required Certification Tests

Maryland educators must pass content and pedagogy tests to earn their teacher certification. Before 2022, Maryland used the Praxis Principles of Learning exams. Starting with the 2022/2023 school year, Maryland will use the edTPA and PPAT to certify teachers.

The specific exams depend on the candidate's licensure area. Elementary educators pass content area exams on reading, math, science, and social studies. They also take a pedagogy exam and an exam on teaching reading. Educators often take specific tests at the secondary level based on their specialty. Maryland licenses teachers in biology, history, math, physical sciences, and other areas.

Apply for Certification

After meeting the education, experience, and testing requirements, candidates apply for their teaching certification. Applicants who complete an approved Maryland teacher preparation program submit transcripts, content and pedagogy test scores, and applications. The submission materials should also include a cover letter listing the area of certification.

Teachers licensed in other states submit official transcripts, a copy of their out-of-state professional certificate, and verification of test scores. They also submit an application.

The Maryland Department of Education aims to process teacher certification applications within eight weeks of receipt. Teachers pay a $10 processing fee for the certificate or any renewals.

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Maryland?

Maryland teaching certifications remain valid for five years. At the end of the five-year period, educators complete a renewal process. School systems process renewal requests for their employees. As part of renewing the teaching certification, educators must complete six credits of professional development training.

Maryland offers teaching certificates at four levels:

  • Professional Eligibility Certificate: For applicants who meet all requirements but do not currently hold a teaching job at a Maryland public school.
  • Standard Professional Certificate I: For applicants who meet all requirements and currently work at a Maryland public school.
  • Standard Professional Certificate II: For teachers with an SPC I certificate working at a Maryland public school who submit proof of three years of satisfactory teaching experience, six credits of continuing education, and a professional development plan.
  • Advanced Professional Certificate: For teachers with an SPC II certificate who submit proof of advanced standing, including a master's degree or National Board Certification.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Maryland

Teachers enjoy above-average salaries and high demand in Maryland. Nationally, high school teachers earn a median salary of $62,870 per year, while Maryland reports a median salary of $78,510 per year.

Educators take on greater responsibilities and qualify for higher salaries with a master's degree. Current teachers can also increase their earning potential by pursuing administrative roles. When considering graduate school, make sure to check which programs meet teaching certification in Maryland requirements.

The state offers several incentives and scholarships for teachers. The Maryland Higher Education Commission offers fellowships and scholarships for future teachers. Educators may also qualify for teacher loan forgiveness and public service loan forgiveness for federal loans.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Maryland

Foreign Language Teacher

Foreign language teachers educate students in grammar, vocabulary, and reading in a non-English language. Maryland reports a high need for foreign language teachers. In particular, the languages with the highest demand include Spanish, French, and Chinese. In addition to foreign language teachers, the state also reports a high need for teachers specializing in English language learners.

Median Annual Salary: $42,645

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers specialize in educating students with disabilities. They modify lesson plans to meet each student's abilities. Special education teachers offer individualized support that prepares learners for higher grades, the workforce, and college. Maryland reports a high need for special education teachers. The Board of Education offers special education licenses covering infants through 3rd grade, 1st-8th grade, and 6th grade through adult.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

Career and Technical Education Teacher

Career and technical education (CTE) focuses on vocational subjects and business training. CTE teachers train learners for skilled craft, vocational, and professional career paths. Maryland reports a high need for CTE teachers, who follow a slightly different path for educator certification.

Median Annual Salary: $59,140

Science Teacher

Science teachers specialize in subjects like earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics. Maryland also licenses environmental science teachers. Science teachers encourage analytical and critical thinking skills. They also prepare graduates for technical and STEM careers. In Maryland, science teachers rank among the highest-need subjects.

Median Annual Salary: $48,760

Math Teacher

Math teachers educate elementary students in basic mathematical literacy and teach secondary-level algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus. High school math teachers prepare students for college-level STEM majors. Secondary math teachers must pass content area exams to earn their certificate. Maryland reports a shortage of math teachers.

Median Annual Salary: $51,370

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Maryland

How do I get teaching certification in Maryland?

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Maryland teachers apply for a teaching certification from the Maryland Department of Education. Candidates must meet education requirements which include a bachelor's degree and completion of an educator preparation program. Additionally, Maryland requires passing scores on content and pedagogy exams related to the candidate's teaching areas. For example, secondary math teachers pass an exam covering math for grades 7-12.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum 3.0 GPA requirement must also submit basic skills test scores. After submitting an application and paying a $10 processing fee, applicants receive their teaching license.

Can I teach in Maryland without certification?

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Teaching in Maryland public schools requires certification. That includes schools that receive public funds from the state. Teachers without certification can teach at private schools. However, public schools tend to pay higher salaries than private schools. For example, nationally high school teachers earn a median salary of $63,400 at public schools and $58,550 at private schools.

Experienced educators can qualify for certification by completing an alternative preparation program. Earning a teaching certification in Maryland can open more career opportunities and qualify educators for higher salaries.

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

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The process of how to become a teacher in Maryland includes earning a bachelor's degree and meeting certification requirements. Bachelor's programs typically take four years for full-time students.

During a bachelor's in education, majors complete teacher preparation training. This includes student teaching experience. Education majors also prepare for certification exams during their program. After earning a bachelor's degree, teachers must pass their certification exams and apply for a teaching certification. Maryland reports an eight week processing time to issue new certifications.

What can I do with a teaching certification in Maryland?

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With a teaching certification, educators can work at Maryland public schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools. Maryland issues teaching certifications in dozens of specialization areas, including elementary education, secondary math education, special education, and foreign language education.

After receiving a teaching certification, teachers are eligible to work in K-12 schools. The certification remains valid for five years. After five years, educators can apply for certification at a higher level. Maryland offers teaching certifications at four different levels. The highest level, an advanced professional certificate, requires a master's degree or National Board Certification. Renewal also requires continuing education credits.

How do I become a substitute teacher in Maryland?

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The Maryland Department of Education does not issue substitute teacher licenses. Instead, the state's 24 local school districts set requirements for working as a substitute teacher. At the state level, substitute teachers must hold a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, many school districts set a higher educational requirement. This may include an associate degree or bachelor's degree. Substitute teachers must also pass a criminal background check. Long-term substitute teaching experience may meet the requirements for a Maryland teaching certification.

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