How to Become a Teacher in Maine

The state of Maine is committed to putting great teachers in the state's classrooms. The standards are high here, but so are the rewards, as teachers here have a real opportunity to make a meaningful impact in students' lives and the future of the state.

The following steps will help guide your path towards becoming a teacher in this great state.

Choose What You Want to Teach

One of the first things prospective teachers should do is choose the age group or subject(s) they would like to teach. For example, would you like to focus on elementary, middle, or high school aged children? Perhaps you prefer to work with children with special needs. There are different requirements for each area of certification, so it is important to have a good idea before you begin. If you are not sure, you can consider the following: Do you have a passion for a specific subject? If you do, perhaps you can consider becoming a certified middle or high school teacher. If you do not have a passion for a single subject, you can consider becoming an elementary school teacher. Elementary school educators teach a breadth of subjects at the fundamental level.

If you are still unsure, the Maine Department of Education offers information on teachers, students, and schools in the state-which could help you make your decision.

Earn a Bachelor's in Education to Meet the Requirements for a Teaching Certificate in Maine

If you want to teach in Maine, you must at least have a bachelor's in education that's offered as part of a state board-approved teacher education program. These programs help you build skills specific to the level or subject you want to teach.

If you do not have a bachelor's degree yet, you should ask an advisor if your university offers a joint program; most accredited colleges and universities do. A joint program is one that blends together the coursework and requirements needed to become a teacher and to get a bachelor's degree.

Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

As mentioned earlier, in order to become a teacher in Maine, you must complete an accredited teacher education program. This will lead you towards earning teaching certification.

If you already have a bachelor's degree, you can earn your teaching license by completing an alternative teacher preparation program. For those who already have degrees, the completion of the program along with passing test scores will lead you towards becoming a certified teacher. Keep in mind that your school might even offer a joint Master's Degree and certificate of teaching program.

The teacher education programs in Maine prepare pre-service teachers for a career in the classroom. The programs generally have two parts: curricula and fieldwork. During the program, you will focus on teaching methods for your applicable subjects, classroom management strategies, lesson plan design, differentiated instruction, and more. In addition, it is likely that you will participate in student teaching or an internship. As a student teacher, you will work with a master teacher to develop your skills in a classroom.

Maine's Department of Education maintains a list of universities and institutions that offer accredited Teacher Preparation Programs.

Alternative Teacher Certification in Maine

If the above path does not apply to your circumstances, there are alternative routes to becoming certified to teach in Main. Alternative routes usually result in a temporary teaching certificate which can eventually become a valid teacher certification.

Career Change to Teaching

Maine's Department of Education offers transcript analysis for people who want to make a career change into teaching. These applicants should have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university. In addition, applicants should have relevant content area coursework and passing scores on the Praxis Pre-Professional Skills exam. If you meet these requirements, you can apply for a conditional teaching certificate. Keep in mind that before the conditional certificate is granted, the school district must first have actively sought to hire a traditionally licensed individual and been unable to do so.

Teacher Certification Reciprocity

If you are certificated to teach in another state, you will likely be allowed to also teach in Maine through a reciprocity agreement. In this state, reciprocity is available under two circumstances: (1) Candidate has completed an approved preparation program for the endorsement or certificate being sought with a formal recommendation for certification from the institution; (2) Candidate must have completed three successful years of teaching within the five years prior to applying for Maine certification under a valid comparable teaching certificate.

Pass the Tests Required for Teacher Certification in Maine

Basic Skills

Those who desire to teach in Maine must successfully pass several tests as well. Prospective teachers must prove their abilities in the fundamentals of reading, writing, and mathematics by passing the Praxis CORE Academic Skills for Educators test. This test is often also referred to as the PPST or the Praxis I.

Subject Tests

In order to show subject matter competency, Maine requires educators to pass the Praxis II exam. This exam measures subject-specific skills and knowledge. In order to qualify for certification, the test should be taken in the area the candidate desires to teach. The test is comprised of multiple choice and essay questions.

Some colleges or universities require candidates to pass some or all of these exams before entering or exiting a teacher preparation program. Ask a college advisor for specific information regarding the test you need to take in Maine for your subject area.

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Apply for your Maine Teacher Certification

Application Requirements

The Maine Department of Education will ask you to submit the following forms and documentations:

  • Completed application form
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Official college transcript(s)
  • Passing scores on all required exams
  • If applicable, official copy of out of state teaching credential
  • Official statement of status eligibility
  • Records of employment
  • Clear status on fingerprint and background check

Contact Information

Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023
Phone: (207) 624-6600

Find a Teaching Job in Maine

After completing the above steps, you will have what it takes to begin your career as an empowering educator in the state of Maine!

Public School Teaching Jobs

Teacher candidates looking for employment prospects in the state of Maine are encouraged to research using the state website as well as the supporting database found at Serving Schools. With these resources, potential teachers can submit applications for timely postings. Teachers are advised that Serving Schools provides job listings for more roles than teachers and administrators.

Currently, the state of Maine has a need for elementary teachers, and those possessing Special Education qualifications. Other desirable subjects are Language Arts, Physical Education, and STEM subjects.

MEA and MTA Labor Unions

Once hired, teachers are eligible to participate in the Maine Education Association (MEA) as well as the Maine Teachers Association (MTA). Both are labor unions whose support benefits teachers' working conditions, professional development, career advancement, and retirement.

Private School Teaching Jobs

Teachers who are looking for alternative career paths may choose to apply to the state's 179 private schools. In these private schools, the student to teacher ratio of 9:1 is greatly favorable for an excellent learning environment. Almost half of the private schools in the state have religious affiliation.

Teacher Retirement in Maine

Upon retirement, teachers can expect to draw a pension from their mandatory contributions from Maine Public Employees Retirement System (MainePERS). Additionally, nearly all school districts participate in teacher insurance benefit plans under Maine Education Association Benefits Trust (MEABT) to ensure the continued health and wellness of their family.

Teacher Shortage in Maine by Subjects or Discipline (2021-2022)

The following list of teacher shortage areas in Maine has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Early Childhood PreK-12
  • ESOL PreK-12
  • World Languages - Spanish, Italian, French, Latin PreK-12
  • Career and Technical Education PreK-12
  • Generic Special Education PreK-12
  • Elementary Education
  • Physical Science PreK-12
  • Theatre PreK-12
  • Health Science PreK-12
  • English 7-12
  • Social Studies 7-12
  • Special Education (Severely/profoundly handicapped, visual impairment, deaf/hearing impairment)
  • Art PreK-12

Number of Public and Private School Teachers By Grade

The following Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) table highlights the number of teachers in Maine in both private and public schools, by grade level, as of May 2021:

Grade Level Number of Teachers
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education 1,410
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 4,890
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 3,330
Special Education Teachers, Preschool 60
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 1,070
Special Education Teachers, Middle School 440
Special Education Teachers, Secondary School 750

Continue Your Education and Professional Development

Teachers and educators throughout North America have built a strong culture of professional development in their workplace. Ongoing professional development is documented to improve teachers' professional practice both in and out of the classroom. In this way, teachers reflect on and assess their own goals and learning needs and collaborate with other professionals in order to improve student achievements, increase pay, and advance their careers.

The best professional development programs are strongly data and research-based, provide opportunities for collegial learning, include programs and offerings that are presented by in-house resources, and are differentiated by level of experience and professional needs.

Professional Development in Maine

The state of Maine's Department of Education functions as the state's database for available professional development. Teachers are encouraged to access the database through appropriate school district channels in order to engage in relevant professional development. Maine has a Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth (PEPG) framework in place in order to help teachers in the state achieve their professional goals and improve student learning.

The Benefits of Earning a Master's in Education or Teaching: Better Pay, Fewer Professional Development Requirements

No, a master's in education or teaching isn't a requirement for teaching in Maine. But a master's degree will allow you to broaden your knowledge and skills, either within your specific subject area, or more generally in education, and bring an advanced level of expertise to the classroom. Plus, it may open doors for a host of professional opportunities and increased pay.

Your professional teacher certificate is valid for five years and is renewable upon the completion of at least six semester hours of approved study or 90 hours of in-service training.

While you don't need to take graduate-level courses to meet the six-semester-hour requirement, earn your master's degree and you'll be able to satisfy the continuing education requirement for your professional teacher certificate after completing just two courses.

A Higher Level Degree Comes with a Higher Salary

Earning a master's in education or teaching often results in a pay increase for Maine's educators. According to figures published by the Maine Education Association, master's-prepared educators in the state public school system usually earn more than their bachelor's-prepared peers. For example, teachers in the Caswell Public Schools earned a minimum salary of $37,500, while teachers here with a master's degree earned a minimum salary of $41,250 as of the 2021-2022 school year.

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2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Teachers (Preschool, Elementary, Middle School, High School) and Special Education Teachers, (Preschool, Kindergarten and Elementary, Middle, High School) reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2023.