Maryland's public education system has received top national rankings year after year in all areas evaluated in Education Week’s annual “Quality Counts” survey. Maryland schools’ most recent overall grade was B+, which placed Maryland at the top of the list of all U.S. states. Most states have received grades of C or below whenever the “Quality Counts” tally is calculated. Maryland schools take their responsibility to students very seriously and the state is committed to training and hiring excellent teachers.
Maryland’s certified academic and arts educators are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree. They must also provide verification of successfully completion of approved Teacher Preparation training and experiential hours. All applicants must pass the PRAXIS tests prescribed for their particular subject areas and grade levels. College coursework, training and/or degrees must be completed at a college or university that has received regional accreditation Maryland.
Coursework in Teacher Education
Prospective teachers are required to learn about the profession of teaching through teacher education courses.The minimum coursework required for certification in Maryland includes teaching methods, assessment of students, teaching of reading, the psychology of learning, child or adolescent development and special education.
The Experiential Component
Maryland requires that all providers of teacher education incorporate an experiential component into the program.Usually called student teaching or a teaching internship, this aspect of training requires practical application of skills and knowledge acquired in teacher education courses.
Criminal History Background Checks
Individuals seeking employment with Maryland local school systems are required to undergo a criminal background investigation, including fingerprints.
Teaching Certificates and Contracts
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) issues two basic types of teaching contracts and a series of teaching certificates that have been structured to encourage teachers to move up through the levels. Maryland does not issue any permanent certificates.
A regular contract is issued once a teacher has met all requirements for standard certification and submitted all necessary official documents along with verification of passing the mandatory tests.
Teachers can be issued a provisional contract if they are hired to teach in a critical area with a teacher shortage, but who have not completed all requirements for a regular certificate. Teachers can continue to teach with a provisional contract until all outstanding requirements are met, at which point they will be eligible for standard certification and mat qualify to receive a regular contract.
The Conditional Certificate is issued at the request of a local school system superintendent to a teacher employed in a local school system who does not meet all regular certification requirements. Verification of passing scores on mandatory state test(s) and all applicable course work must be submitted before the Conditional Certificate expires. The certificate is valid for two years.
Professional Eligibility Certificate
The Professional Eligibility Certificate is issued to an applicant who meets all certification requirements but is not employed in a Maryland local school system. After a teacher has found employment in a local school system or accredited non-public school, the appropriate conditional, standard or advanced certificate can be issued or renewed by the Maryland State Department of Education.
Standard Professional Certificates
Standard Professional Certificate 1 (SPC1)
This is Maryland’s first-level professional certificate. It can be issued to a teacher who meets all certification requirements and is employed in a Maryland local school system. This certificate is valid for five years and renewable only once.
Standard Professional Certificate2 (SPC2)
This certificate is issued to a teacher who is employed by a Maryland local school system or an accredited non-public school and has completed three years of approved school-related experience plus six approved credit-hours. To be issued an SPC2, the teacher must have previously held the SPC1. The SPC2 is valid for five years.
An out-of-state applicant with no teaching experience must present evidence that s/he has completed an out-of-state approved educator preparation program. In addition to completing an out-of-state approved teaching program, the applicant must pass Maryland's mandatory teacher certification tests, the Praxis I and the Praxis II.
An out-of-state teacher with a valid certificate and teaching experience from another state must have completed an out-of-state approved teaching program and met that state's qualifying scores for being issued a teaching certificate.
Maryland Approved Preparation Program (MAP)
Maryland In-State Graduate
A prospective teacher who has graduated from a Maryland Approved Program (MAP) must submit official transcript(s) showing all coursework and evidence of degrees, and a statement verifying completion of an approved teacher preparation program. In-state teachers must also obtain qualifying scores for the Praxis I and Praxis II certification tests.
Maryland Approved Alternative Preparation Program (MAAPP)
Resident Teacher Certificate
Alternative certification is issued to an applicant who has been selected by a local school system to participate in Maryland’s alternative teacher preparation program. This certificate is issued while an individual is employed as a teacher, but is still a student in a preparation and mentorship program.Entry requirements include the a bachelor’s degree or higher, a 2.75 GPA in the major coursework and qualifying scores on the mandatory PRAXIS I Basic Skills test and the PRAXIS II content area test. The Resident Teacher Certificate is valid for two years.