How to Become a Teacher in Maine

Known for its progressive stance on education policy, Maine is an excellent state in which to pursue a career in teaching.

Those interested in learning how to become a teacher in Maine should become familiar with all of the relevant requirements. Getting a teaching license in the state means the opportunity to work with motivated students, dedicated parents and other incredible education professionals. To begin, determine the type of teaching license that is best for you by reviewing the credentials needed to teach in Maine.

Maine Fast Facts for Educators

Boasting stunning natural beauty, Maine ranks 41st in population in the United States, with just over 1.3 million residents. According to the National Center of Education Statistics, Maine has 189,000 school-aged students enrolled in 657 public schools (including charter schools) that employ a workforce of more than 15,000 teachers. The student-to-teacher ratio of 12.29 is far below the national average of 15.97. Smaller classrooms have been shown to result in stronger student performance, reports USA Today, making them attractive to students, families and teachers alike.

How to Earn a Maine Teaching Certificate

Traditional Path

According to the Maine Department of Education, all teachers in public schools must hold a valid teaching certificate. Earning an Initial Teaching Certificate includes the following requirements:

  • Bachelor degree. All candidates must have earned a bachelor, master or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution. Degrees from traditional colleges and universities as well as relevant online degree programs are permissible to fulfill this requirement.
  • Required coursework. This includes at least 60 credit hours of liberal arts courses, including such subject areas as science, social science, foreign languages, English, language arts or mathematics. At least 36 of these credits must be in the particular area in which you seek to be certified. In certain circumstances, coursework taken at an accredited two-year college may be acceptable with approval of the state Board of Education.
  • Exam scores. To earn a bachelor degree in education in Maine, educators must receive passing scores on the Praxis I exam. To qualify for an initial teaching certificate, you must take the Praxis II exam. Demonstration of both general teaching knowledge and expertise in a particular content area is expected.
  • Student teaching. As part of a teacher-preparation program, educators must complete a practical student teaching experience. This may be waived if you have taught one or more years in a Maine classroom as a credentialed instructor.
  • Teaching exceptional students in the regular classroom. At least one course (3 credits) must be dedicated to instruction in the education of exceptional students in a regular classroom setting.

Alternative Approach

Those who have not completed all of the requirements to earn an Initial Teaching Certificate may be able to teach in Maine through an alternative path if they hold a bachelor degree from an accredited university and can pass a preprofessional-skills test. This alternative path to certification allows professionals to begin teaching while completing the relevant requirements to earn a traditional teacher certification.

Benefits of Teaching in Maine

Although teaching salaries in Maine are not as high as elsewhere in New England, they are appropriate for the cost of living in the state. First-year teachers earn an average of $31,835, according to 2012-2013 data from the National Education Association. Specific salaries vary by region, so consult your area school district for more information. Teacher salaries increase commensurate with advanced degrees and greater teaching experience.

Much of Maine’s population resides in the Portland-Lewiston-South Portland metropolitan area, which has a population of about 600,000. The concentration of Maine’s population in the southern part of the state means that there are large swaths of rural areas that are typically underserved. The U.S. Department of Education has named some of these places teacher-shortage areas. This means educators who accept positions in those areas may qualify for federal loan forgiveness or deferment. For teachers with substantial student loan debt, taking a position in an underserved area of Maine can be a great financial choice as well as a rewarding career move.