How to Earn a Teaching License in Maine

If you want to be a teacher in Maine, your first step is to earn certification. While there are several pathways to doing this, your options depend upon your current or future level of education and experience.

Our guide can help you determine the pathway that’s right for you at any point in your career. Perhaps you’re beginning your journey and need to know about Maine’s teacher certification process. Or maybe you want to learn how to progress to advanced certification or specialized teaching endorsement—or you’re looking to move to Maine from out of state. You’ll find all that information and more right here.

Maine Department of Education Teaching Requirements

The Maine Department of Education (MDOE) offers two main levels of licensure for teachers:

Provisional: The provisional license is the entry-level certification for Maine teachers. You must have your fingerprints cleared to earn this certification. You should also complete a series of education and testing requirements. The certification is valid for two years and can be extended for one year, if necessary. While you hold this license you should work towards earning a professional certification.

Professional: To advance your provisional license to a professional license, you will need to have at least two years of experience teaching. The license is valid for five years and can be renewed.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements for Maine Teachers

All applicants looking to gain teacher certification in Maine must earn a bachelor’s degree and complete coursework that is specific to the grade level and subject they seek to teach. The degree should be earned through an approved teacher preparation program. You can find a list of MDOE approved programs here.

Complete a Student Teaching Assignment

The teacher preparation program you join will require that you complete a student teaching experience. Ideally this experience will be completed towards the end of your degree program, once you have covered most of the coursework that you will need to become a teacher. As a student teacher you will be mentored by an experienced teacher. You will teach in their classroom and they will assist you and provide feedback on your performance.

Pass Maine Certification Exams

Maine teacher certifications must be endorsed in a specific grade and/or subject level, which is why you should make sure you complete your degree program in the certification area you seek to teach. Completing the program should prepare you to take the Praxis exams that align with your teacher certification endorsement area.

Typically you will need to take and pass at least three exams to gain certification. All candidates will need to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. This exam will include three sections and test your basic skills in reading, writing and math. Collectively you should complete the exam with a score of 468 or higher. However, you can take a section of the test individually if there is only one section you did not pass.

From there you will need to take two Praxis II exams that test your knowledge of the grade level and subject you intend to teach. Your ability to work with a specific grade level will be tested by the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam, while your ability to teach a particular subject will be tested by a core content exam specific to that subject.

You can find a more detailed description of endorsement areas and the tests that correspond to each in the Certification Endorsement Areas section below.


Currently, all teacher application packets can be mailed to: Department of Education Certification Office, 23 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0023. You may also be able to submit your application electronically.

To complete an application packet you will first need to fill out and sign the application. You should then enclose your official college transcripts, examination scores, and the processing fee of $100. When you have all of the materials required for the application packet, you can then mail it to the address above. You can submit your application prior to having your fingerprints cleared, however you will need to gain clearance before you can be issued your teaching license.

Applications typically require about four to six weeks to process. You can check the status of your application at the MDOE My Status portal.

How Much Do Teachers in Maine Make?

When you read the chart below you should consider all of the factors that can impact the salary you might make as a teacher in Maine. What kind of degree you hold, how long you’ve been teaching and where you teach can all put your salary below, at, or even above the listed salaries.

salary outlook
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
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Median Hourly WageN/A

Job growth1%

Total Employment5,330

Metro area Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Portland-South Portland, ME $62,970 $45,430 $78,760
Bangor, ME $61,460 $38,070 $77,730
Lewiston-Auburn, ME $60,440 $39,430 $73,910

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.


Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2032

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2022

Specialty Certifications

As discussed above, each Maine teacher certification must have an area of endorsement. The endorsement is what qualifies you to teach a specific grade and subject. Along with completing the fingerprint and all education requirements, you will need to pass specific Praxis exams to earn an endorsement. Below, you can find some of the most popular endorsement types. If you do not see the endorsement that interests you, the MDOE does offer additional endorsements beyond the ones mentioned below.

Early Childhood Education


In addition to passing the Praxis I, early childhood educators should pass the Praxis II Education of Young Children exam with a score of 160. This exam will include topics such as: Childhood Development and Learning; Observation, Documentation, and Assessment; Developmentally Appropriate Practices; Professionalism, Family, and Community; Content, Pedagogy, and Knowledge; and Knowledge of Teaching.

The Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 Praxis requirement will be waived if you have already completed a teacher preparation program. Passing all of the required exams can certify you to teach ages birth through five.

Elementary School Teacher


Elementary school teachers in Maine can earn one of two endorsements: early elementary or general elementary. Each will have slightly different testing requirements:

Early: While you will be expected to pass the Praxis I, the Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 exam requirement may be waived if you complete a teacher preparation program. You will also need to pass the Praxis II for Education of Young Children with a score of 160. You can find a description of the topics covered in this exam above.

General: For this endorsement you will also be expected to pass the Praxis I, with the Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 exam requirement being waived if you complete a teacher preparation program. The Praxis II exam you must take is the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects. The exam includes four distinct subtests. You must pass each subtest to meet this requirement: Reading and Language Arts (157), Mathematics (157), Social Studies (155), and Science (159).

Middle and Secondary School Teacher


Middle school teachers in Maine can work with students in the 5-8 grade range. These teachers must earn their endorsement in a specific subject area. At the middle level there are four endorsements offered: English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Each endorsement has its own subject area Praxis II exam that you must take and pass to earn that specific certification. In addition to the Praxis II, you will need to pass the Praxis I Core Assessment.

Secondary school teachers in Maine also have a variety of endorsement options available that are similar to those offered at the middle school level. You should take the Praxis II content exam that aligns with the teaching subject you focused on in in your degree program. At the secondary level these Praxis II exams/endorsement areas include: English, Life Science, Mathematics, Physical Science, and Social Studies.

Substitute Teacher Certification


The MDOE does not offer a substitute teacher certification. To become a substitute teacher you should contact your local school district, as they will have their own requirements in place for hiring substitutes. If you live near multiple school districts, contact each district office to find out which district’s requirements you can meet. Some districts also pay their substitutes more than others, so you may want to compare your options based off the expected income. You may also have the option to substitute within multiple school districts, which can be helpful if you need to ensure that you have a teaching assignment each school day.

Physical Education (PE) Certification


Although the PE teacher endorsement in Maine does cover grades K-12, you are expected to pass the Principles of Teaching and Learning for either the K-6 or the 7-12 grade range. You may have this requirement waived if you successfully complete a teacher preparation program.

Just like all other Maine educators, PE teachers must pass the Praxis I Core Assessment. From there, PE endorsement candidates should take and pass the Praxis II Physical Education: Content Knowledge exam with a score of 149 or higher. This exam will test you on: Content Knowledge and Student Growth and Development; Management, Motivation, and Communication; Planning, Instruction, and Student Assessment; and Collaboration, Reflection, and Technology.

Special Education Certification


Special Education teachers in Maine must pass the Praxis I exam to earn certification. While some candidates may be required to take the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam for a specific grade range, you can be exempt from this requirement by completing a teacher preparation program.

The Praxis II content exam that you will be expected to pass before earning your certification must be specific to the special education endorsement you seek to earn. There are seven special education endorsement options offered by the MDOE:

Blind or Visually Impaired (K-12)
Deaf or Hearing Impaired (K-12)
Speech and Hearing Clinician (K-12)
Severely Impaired Students (K-12)
Students with Disabilities (0-5)
Students with Disabilities (K-8)
Students with Disabilities (7-12)

English as a Second Language Certification


ESL teachers in Maine have the option of what grade level they want to work with. While the certification is for K-12, you will be expected to take the Principles of Teaching and Learning for Grades K-6 or 7-12. Alternatively, you can be exempt from this testing requirement by successfully completing a teacher preparation program.

All ESL candidates must take the Praxis I Core Assessment and Praxis II exam. There are no exemptions for these testing requirements. The Praxis II is for English to Speakers of Other Languages and will cover: Foundations of Linguistics; Foundations of Language Learning; Planning and Implementing Instruction; Assessment and Evaluation; Culture; Professionalism and Advocacy. You should earn a passing score of 155 or higher on this exam

Certifications for School Administrators


There are a variety of school administrator licenses offered in Maine, all the way from Superintendent to Teaching Principal. The Teaching Principal license often serves as a leadership certification for active teachers, and requires at least three years of teaching experience. Typically teachers are interested in earning an administrator certification to become superintendents or building administrators, commonly referred to as principals.

The superintendent endorsement is often the most advanced administrator license offered. If requires three years of teaching experience, three years of administrative experience, a master’s degree, and fingerprint clearance. All of your master’s level coursework should be specific to education administration. Candidates for a superintendent endorsement should complete the School Superintendent Assessment exam offered by Praxis. You must also complete a superintendent internship, serve as an assistant superintendent for one year, or complete a mentorship plan.

The building administrator endorsement requires that you hold a master’s degree, have three years of teaching experience and clear a fingerprint check. Your master’s degree coursework should be specific to school administration. There is also a Praxis exam required for this endorsement, called the School Leader Licensure Assessment. To complete the in-field requirement, you will need to complete a building administrator internship, serve as an assistant principal for a year, or complete a mentorship plan.

Certificate vs Certification


A certificate is awarded by an educational institution, and signifies that a student has satisfactorily completed a given curriculum. Certificate programs can help students prepare for certification exams.


A certification is generally awarded by a trade group after an individual has met certain professional requirements (e.g. earned a specific degree, worked professionally in a given field for a set amount of time, etc.) and passed a certification exam.

In short, a certificate is evidence that someone has completed an educational program, while a certification denotes that someone has met a certain set of professional criteria and/or passed an exam.

Not all programs offered are designed to meet state educator licensing or advancement requirements; however, it may assist candidates in gaining these approvals in their state of residence depending on those requirements. Contact the state board of education in the applicable state(s) for requirements.

Teaching Reciprocity Agreements in Maine

When teachers move to Maine and wish to continue teaching, they must earn reciprocity to transfer their out-of-state license into a Maine teaching certification. Maine created their reciprocity agreement in conjunction with the Interstate Agreement made by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). This agreement has all participating states create their own standards for reciprocity in order to encourage teacher movement.

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Yes, Maine does participate.
State Grants Full Reciprocity No, additional requirements must be met before gaining full licensure.
Coursework Requirements All candidates must submit their transcripts for analysis. Additional coursework may need to be completed if deficiencies are found.
Test-out or Exemption Candidates can substitute passing scores of 60 or above on CLEP examinations to meet up to six semester hours of course requirements.
Assessment Requirements Out-of-state candidates are required to pass the Praxis II content assessments. Candidates seeking a certification in the same endorsement area as the one they held in their sending state are not required to take the basic skills or pedagogy exams. Out-of-state candidates who do not meet the assessment requirements are granted a Conditional License for one year until they work to meet the requirement.
Different Requirements Based on Experience Out-of-state candidates who completed an approved preparation program for the endorsement or certification sought and who have three years of successful teaching experience in the past five years with a valid certification from a state participating in the NASDTEC interstate agreement are eligible to receive a Professional Teacher Certification. However, candidates meeting these requirements may still be required to take additional coursework or assessments. Candidates meeting experience requirements can teach under a Conditional License while working to complete requirements. Candidates not meeting experience requirements may also be required to take additional coursework or assessments, but can also teach under a Conditional License.
Performance Requirements There are no requirements related to performance.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials Maine has two main licensure levels: Conditional and Professional. Out-of-state candidates who meet all reciprocity requirements and have an out-of-state license that is comparable to the Professional License are eligible to receive a Professional License. Candidates who do not meet requirements are granted a Conditional License until they can meet the requirements.

Information reported by the Education Commission of the States.

Alternate Teaching Certification

Alternate pathways to teacher certification are often most helpful for those who hold a bachelor’s degree outside of the field of education. While you will still need to meet a variety of additional requirements, taking advantage of an alternative pathway may help expedite the route to licensure.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

Earning a Maine Conditional Certification is a great alternative pathway to licensure for those who hold a bachelor’s degree, but have not completed a teacher preparation program. The certification allows school districts to request that a candidate receive certification in order to fill a teaching position. They may only make this request if there are no other qualified teachers available. The certification is valid for one year and may be extended for an additional year.

While you hold this certification you will be expected to work towards the provisional teacher license. You can do this by successfully teaching for at least one year and passing the Praxis I Core Academic Skills for Educators, the Principles of Learning and Teaching, and the Praxis II content area exams.