According to the Center for Workforce Research and Information, Maine needs approximately 400 new preschool, elementary, middle, and high school teachers each year in order to replace teachers who have retired or left the profession. While Maine's Department of Education (Maine DOE) does not project that the teaching workforce will grow as a whole, there will still be consistent employment opportunities for qualified certified teachers in the state.
The requirements for teacher certification vary from state to state. The Maine DOE has explicitly authorized 16 in-state colleges to administer educator preparation programs. Students who graduate from these programs meet all educational requirements for teacher certification in Maine. Students who complete a teacher preparation program outside of Maine must submit their college transcripts so that the Maine DOE can determine if the program's coursework meets state requirements.
Many universities have expanded their education programs to include online options. Online programs allow students to earn a degree while still balancing other professional and personal obligations. Distance learning is also more flexible, since it allows students to create their own schedules and complete coursework whenever is most convenient. Students can complete all of the coursework required to earn a teaching license online, but they still need to teach in a physical classroom to earn their initial teacher certification.
How to Become a Teacher in Maine
Every state has its own requirements for teacher certification. While teaching reciprocity agreements have made it easier for teachers to find jobs across state lines, educators must still meet all of the licensing requirements for the state in which they wish to teach.
The most common pathway to becoming a teacher in Maine is to earn a bachelor's degree in education and pass the Praxis I and Praxis II exams.
Those who have earned a bachelor's degree in an area other than education can apply to the Maine DOE for conditional teaching certification. If approved, these individuals can teach in a Maine school for a set period of time (usually one year) while they complete additional coursework and pass required exams.
Teachers with a license earned in another state can also receive conditional certification to teach in Maine. Out-of-state teachers must meet Maine's educational and testing requirements in order to gain permanent certification.
While an associate degree can help prepare students for a career in teaching, Maine teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree. Educators must also complete required coursework, serve as a student teacher or conditionally-certified teacher, and pass the Praxis I and II exams.
The easiest way to become a teacher in Maine is to earn a bachelor's degree in education from an approved education preparation program. All of the educator preparation programs approved by the Maine DOE meet educational and student teaching requirements. Upon earning a bachelor's degree in education, students must pass the Praxis I exam to earn their initial certification, which lasts for two years. After completing two years of teaching and passing the Praxis II exam, teachers can apply for their professional certification, which lasts for five years.
Initial teaching certification lasts two years and professional certification lasts for five years.
Those who have earned a bachelor's degree in an area outside of education can still be conditionally certified to teach in Maine. Often, these educators complete a one-year master's program in education while they are teaching. After earning their master's degree, candidates must still pass the Praxis I and II exams to qualify for professional certification.
Maine participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement through National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). This agreement allows individuals who have received a teaching license from another state to earn conditional certification to teach in Maine. If a conditionally-approved teacher has met all of the educational and testing requirements set out by the Maine DOE, they can earn professional certification after a probationary period. If a teacher has not met all of the Maine teaching requirements, they must do so before being granted a full license to teach in the state.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Maine
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to American Education||This course provides an overview of the major issues and challenges in education and schooling in the United States. Students learn about the purpose of schooling and the roles of various stakeholders in education.|
|Technology and Learning in the Classroom||In this class, students explore the many kinds of instructional technologies that support student learning. Students study, use, and design a number of digital learning experiences and assessment tools.|
|Teaching Exceptional Learners||This course prepares educators to teach students with unique needs, including English language learners, students with physical and mental disabilities, and students who are exceptionally gifted or academically talented.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Diversity and Social Justice Education||This class addresses issues of race, culture, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, and age. Students examine how these issues affect student learning in the K-12 context. The class also emphasizes inclusive classroom interaction and curriculum design.|
|Mathematical Content for Elementary School Teachers||This course lays the foundation for the mathematical concepts introduced in the first through third grades, including basic problem solving, sets and operations, fundamental geometry, and probability.|
|Education Practicum and Seminar||Also known as student teaching, this course requires a supervised teaching experience in a public school classroom. Students spend at least six hours per week in a classroom with a mentor teacher. They also participate in a weekly seminar to examine their own teaching.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Educational Assessment||This course introduces the principles, concepts, and practices associated with the design and implementation of educational assessments. Students learn about teacher-designed exams, standardized tests, and large scale assessments.|
|Dynamics of the Curriculum||This class helps prospective teachers develop the knowledge and skills needed to develop their own curricula. Educators put their learning into practice by creating a draft curriculum.|
|Introduction to Students at Risk||Teachers play a key role in reducing student dropout rates. In this course, teachers explore warning signs, socioeconomic influences, and policies and practices that can help keep students from dropping out of school or falling behind in their studies.|
Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Maine
The Maine DOE certifies all teachers in Maine. In order to apply for initial certification, prospective teachers must have a bachelor's degree, complete required coursework in education, serve as a student teacher, and pass the Praxis I exam. They must then submit their application materials, a copy of their fingerprints, and a $100 certification fee to the DOE. If approved, applicants can teach under their initial certification for two years. During that time, initially-certified teachers must pass the Praxis II exam to receive professional certification. Professional certification lasts for five years before it must be renewed.
Those who hold a bachelor's degree in an area outside of education may petition the DOE for conditional certification. Applicants must submit their college transcripts, along with a $100 fee. If approved, conditionally-approved teachers may teach for one year while they take the required educational coursework and prepare for the Praxis I exam. Teachers must renew conditional certification annually. Conditionally-certified teachers can apply for their initial certification once they meet all requirements.
Professional certification lasts for five years before it must be renewed.
Through the NASDTEC reciprocity agreement, those who have earned a teaching license in another state can also receive conditional certification to teach in Maine. However, these individuals must still meet the same education and exam requirements established by the DOE for all teachers in Maine.
Similarly, those who have received a professional certification in Maine may be eligible to teach in other states. Usually, these teachers can work for a limited time period while they meet their new state's requirements. While it may help expedite the licensing process, holding a Maine teaching license does not automatically qualify educators to teach in another state.
Choosing a Degree Program in Maine
Prospective teachers should think carefully about which degree program is right for them. Some students may want to specialize in special education or early childhood literacy, but not all programs feature these concentrations. There are several questions that you should ask yourself to help determine the best program for you.
Where is the school located? Will you be able to complete student teaching at a site close to your home? Most schools allow distance learners to find their own site for student teaching. However, some programs require students to intern in a specific community or state. This is especially important if you are considering out-of-state schools.
How long will the program take? Full-time students usually complete a bachelor's program in four years, but students who already have an associate degree may be able to finish sooner. Some schools offer accelerated options for students who want to complete their degree quickly.
Will this program meet the requirements for licensure in Maine? The Maine DOE has approved 16 educator preparation programs at colleges and universities across the state. If you choose to attend a program that has not been pre-approved, it is essential that you make sure it meets the criteria set out by the DOE for certification.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Maine?
Students interested in teaching have two options when it comes to earning a degree online. One, they can enroll in an online bachelor's in education program. Students can complete most of their coursework for these programs online, but they must also complete a certain number of student teaching hours in person.
Two, students can choose to enroll in an online bachelor's program in an area outside of education. For example, a student interested in teaching calculus may earn a degree in math. After earning their degree, students can apply to the Maine DOE for conditional teacher certification. These individuals will still need to complete education coursework while they are teaching, but this may allow them to bypass the student teaching requirement.
The Maine DOE oversees all teacher certification, regardless of whether a program is offered online or on campus. So long as an applicant has earned a bachelor's degree and completed the necessary coursework in education, it does not matter if they earned their degree online. All candidates must complete Praxis exams and undergo student teaching or conditionally-certified teaching to qualify for a teaching license in Maine.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Maine
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Maine
With the cost of college higher than ever, earning an education degree requires significant financial investment. Luckily, there are several funding opportunities that students can use to reduce the overall cost of a teaching degree in Maine. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA connects students with various forms of federal support, including grants, loans, and work-study opportunities. Students do not need to pay back grants or earnings from work-study jobs. However, students must pay back federal student loans unless they receive loan forgiveness.
Some state governments forgive loans after teachers complete a certain term of service.
Aspiring teachers can also pursue grants, loans, and scholarships offered by state governments and private organizations. As with federal awards, students do not need to pay back private grants and scholarships. Some state governments forgive loans after teachers complete a certain term of service. Additionally, some schools may offer discounted tuition to veterans or current teachers who are continuing their education.
Private student loans are another option for students who have difficulty funding their own teaching degree. However, private loan agencies often charge higher interest rates than state and federal loan providers. These loans also are not eligible for loan forgiveness. Students should consider private student loans a last resort.
Loan Forgiveness for Maine Teachers
The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program rewards individuals for teaching in a low-income school or educational service agency. In exchange for five years of service, the federal government will forgive up to $17,500 in federal loans.
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) offers a similar program. Educators for Maine provides loans to individuals who excel academically and commit to teaching in Maine after graduation. FAME forgives one year's worth of a loan for one year of teaching. Some borrowers may receive two years of loan forgiveness for one year of teaching if they do so in an underserved subject area. If a recipient of an Educators for Maine loan does not go on to teach in Maine, they must pay back their loans in full.
Private student loans are rarely, if ever, forgiven due to public service. Students should be cautious about using private student loans to finance their education.
Scholarships for Maine Teaching Students
Students aspiring to teach in Maine can access a number of scholarships to help finance their education. Many government agencies and organizations offer funding specifically for future educators. Some professional association offer additional scholarships and tuition discounts for their members. Below are four scholarships for students pursuing an online teaching degree in Maine.
Educators for Maine $3,000
Isabel Grindle Condon Scholarship Fund $2,500
Lou Fontana Scholarship $750
State of Maine Grant Program $1,500
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Maine
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
The two tables in this section show the average salaries for teaching positions in Maine, as compared to the national average. The annual mean wage for teachers in Maine is $48,540, about $6,000 less than the national average. Maine is a largely rural state, and some of this difference can be attributed to the fact that salaries are lower in rural areas than they are in metropolitan areas.
However, Maine has historically struggled with increasing salaries for its teachers. In 2005, Maine passed legislation setting the minimum salary for teachers at $30,000. Under that law, the state provided funds to districts to help cover teacher salaries, but that funding ended in 2013. A 2017 bill that would have raised the minimum salary to $40,000 failed to become law. Proponents of raising the minimum salary argue that the state is losing qualified candidates because it cannot match salaries paid elsewhere.
Teachers working in kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary schools earn roughly the same salary, as the table below illustrates. However, preschool teachers earn considerably less on average. This is due to the fact that most preschool teachers do not need a bachelor's degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, preschool teachers across the country tend to earn less than the average for all other education occupations.
|Elementary School Teachers||$51,810|
|Middle School Teachers||$51,680|
|Secondary School Teachers||$52,410|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Maine
How do I get certified to teach in Maine?
How much do teachers make in Maine?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Maine?
Do you need a master's to teach in Maine?
Resources for Teachers in Maine
- Maine Department of Education The Maine DOE oversees K-12 teacher certification in the state. The department has broad responsibility for ensuring that every student in Maine has the opportunity to be successful. In addition to certification applications and guidelines, the DOE offers educational resources and professional development opportunities for current and aspiring teachers.
- Maine Education Association MEA is the state-level affiliate of the National Education Association, a union for teachers and educators. The organization advocates on behalf of its members, hosts conferences and seminars, disseminates the latest research in the field, advertises Maine teaching jobs, and offers grants to help improve teaching and learning in the classroom.
- Maine Association for the Education of Young Children MaineAEYC is dedicated to providing high-quality learning opportunities for children from birth through age eight. The association presents webinars, workshops, and annual conferences for early childhood educators. MaineAEYC also connects teachers and administrators with state and national resources.
- Educate Maine Educate Maine works to ensure that all students in Maine graduate from high school ready for college study or a career. This nonprofit organizes a state-wide professional development program for teachers, selects the Maine teacher of the year, and supports schools that offer computer and information technology resources to their students.
- American Federation of Teachers - Maine Regional Council The AFT is a national labor union for teachers. One of its primary concerns is making sure that teachers are adequately supported and appropriately compensated. The Maine Regional Council is the state-level arm of the AFT and serves as the union resource for teachers in the state.