Teacher Certification in Maine

To become a teacher in Maine, all applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree, or required semester hours of academic study. Academic and teacher preparation courses must have been earned at a four-year institution that is approved by one of Maine’s regional accrediting agencies. Acceptable accreditation may also come from the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education or any other national accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.

General Application Requirements

  • Application for teacher certification requires submission of your final transcripts.
  • Teaching candidates cannot apply for certification until after all student teaching and final course work for their degree is completed.
  • Eligible applicants will receive a two-year probationary certificate with a content area endorsement.
  • Fingerprints and a background check are required of all teachers.

Initial Certification

  • Eligibility for Initial Certification

Initial Certification is issued to a teacher who has never held a Maine teaching certificate or endorsement. An initial certificate may be a conditional, provisional, targeted need certificate or a transitional endorsement. Initial Certification applicants must submit the following:

  • Official transcript of undergraduate studies
  • Evidence of bachelor’s degree and date received
  • Verification of the certificate or endorsement, including content area(s) and grade level(s) in which applicant wants to teach.
  • Applicants who have passed required assessments must submit score results.
  • Prior to being issued any type of Maine certification, applicants must pass a background check and have their fingerprints taken through the process approved by the Maine Department of Education.
  • A background check is required of all teachers in Maine.
  • Out-of-state applicants must submit evidence of out-of-state teacher

Provisional Teacher Certification

  • The Provisional Certificate is the regular initial two-year teacher certificate issued to teachers by the Maine Department of Education.
  • Provisional Teacher Certification applicants must earn minimum qualifying scores on the required PRAXIS I Pre-Professional Skills Test in basic skill areas, including reading, writing and mathematics.
  • Applicants must also attain passing scores on the PRAXIS II exam, which tests knowledge of the applicant’s chosen content area. Passage of the appropriate Principles of Learning and Teaching exam is also required.

Conditional Certificate

  • Many bachelor’s degree graduates are eligible to receive a conditional teaching certificate, issued by the Maine Dept. of Education, which allows one to teach in Maine for a limited period of time, while taking and passing specified education courses in order to become fully certified.
  • The Conditional Certificate is a one-year certificate issued to teachers who have not yet met all of the requirements for an initial certificate.
  • Applicants who have not achieved Maine’s qualifying scores on the required qualifying examinations are eligible for an initial conditional certificate, if they have met all of the other requirements for a conditional certificate.

Targeted Need Certificate

  • Targeted need certification provides an alternate pathway to teacher certification for positions designated as an educational shortage area when there is a shortage of fully certified applicants. The alternative certification is for individuals who are not eligible for any other certificate.


  • Endorsements are one or more notations on a certificate issued to a teacher that specifies the valid grade levels and subject areas for which the applicant is qualified and approved.
  • A Transitional Endorsement is the endorsement issued to a certified teacher who does not meet all of the requirements for the specific content area endorsement.

Transitional Endorsement

  • A transitional endorsement to certification provides an alternate pathway to certification for individuals who hold a provisional or professional teacher certificate but are missing some of the requirements for the additional endorsement sought.
  • A transitional endorsement shall be issued only if the applicant has been assigned to teach the subject or grade level for which the transitional endorsement is sought.
  • The requirement for student teaching for a teacher endorsement may be waived if the applicant can document substantial teaching experience at a similar grade level of content area for the endorsement sought.

Professional Certificate

  • The Professional Certificate is Maine’s standard five-year teaching certificate. The professional certificate requires one or more endorsements that specify the subject area(s) and the grade level(s) for which a teacher is deemed qualified.
  • A professional certificate is renewable for five-year terms.
  • Applicants can become eligible for a Professional Teacher Certificate by completing a specified set of requirements, including:
    • Holding a provisional certificate.
    • Being employed under Maine’s provisional certificate for two school years.
    • Providing positive recommendations from their certification support system.
    • Verifying proficiency in Maine’s standards for an initial professional teaching certificate.


    • Completing five or more years of teaching in the endorsement area under a valid certificate in another state.
    • Graduating from a state-approved and accredited preparation program.

Highly Qualified Teacher

The Highly Qualified Teacher designation was introduced as part of the national No Child Left Behind program. Any public school teacher who teaches
Core Academic Subjects is mandated to become a Highly Qualified Teacher. Maine’s percentages of highly qualified teachers have risen each year since the program began. Maine rates above the national average for all categories.

  • To satisfy the federal definition of Highly Qualified, a teacher must:
    • Have at least a Bachelor’s degree.
    • Have valid state certification for which no requirements have been waived.
    • Demonstrate content knowledge in core academic subjects.
  • The No Child Left Behind Core Academic Subjects are:
    • English, Reading or Language Arts.
    • Mathematics.
    • Science.
    • Social Studies.
    • World Languages.
    • Visual and Performing Arts.
  • (http://www.msad33.org/TLC/Chapter_115_Part_I.pdf)
  • www.maine.gov/education/hqtp/teacherquality030107.pdf
  • www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/05/071/071c1152.doc
    www.maine.gov/education/teacherinduction/forms/MSAD72HandbookFINAL2-11-09.pdf – 2009-09-08