Frequently Asked Questions

These questions and answers are based upon current regulations and are subject to change by the State Board of Education (SBE) and/or the Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board (PSTEB).

1. What is certification?
Certification is the process to verify that each educator required to hold a certificate has the qualifications and appropriate training to execute his/her professional responsibilities.

2. Who must hold a Maryland certificate?
Teachers, specialists, and administrators in Maryland public schools and in approved schools operated by state agencies must hold a valid certificate appropriate to the field of employment. Certain nonpublic school personnel employed in special education facilities must also hold a valid certificate appropriate to the field of employment.

3. How do I qualify for a Maryland certificate?
Certification may be obtained in one of the following ways:
• completing a Maryland approved educator preparation program;
• completing an out of state college or university educator preparation program that leads to certification in that state;
• holding a valid, out-of-state professional certificate and submitting verification of 3 years of full-time satisfactory professional experience; 
• meeting transcript analysis requirements; or 
• completing a Maryland Resident Teacher Certificate program.

4. Are there any special requirements for Maryland?
As of July 1, 1999 individuals applying for a Maryland certificate are required to complete additional reading course work. Early childhood, elementary education, and special education at those levels are required to complete 12 semester hours. Secondary education, PreK-12, and secondary special education teachers are required to complete 6 semester hours. 

Additionally, all individuals who apply for certification in a specialist or administrative area must submit 3 semester hours of coursework in special education.

5. How do I apply for Maryland certification?
Please create a portal account at Once an account is created, you may submit your materials by mailing all required documentation in a complete packet to the MSDE at:

MSDE Certification
200 West Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

This packet must include the following:
• Signed and initialed application 
• Official transcripts in an unopened mailer for all course work taken (student copies in unopened mailer are acceptable);
• Copy of required Maryland tests or copy of out-of-state tests (if applicable);
• Copy of professional out-of-state certificate (if applicable);
Verification of experience (if applicable)
• Cover letter with your name, address, social security number, date of birth, personal email address, and area of certification being requested.

6. What is a "crime of violence" under Maryland law?
A crime of violence is defined in the Maryland Code, Criminal Law Article Section 14-101.  

7. How long will it take to process my certification application?
Complete packets will be processed within 8 weeks of receipt. Incomplete applications will delay the process.

8. How much does a certificate cost?
A $10 processing fee is required for the initial certificate and for each certificate renewal thereafter.  Acceptable forms of payment include: cashier's check, certified check, money order or credit card; personal checks are not accepted.  Please note: those who choose to submit payment online must pay a $1.50 service charge. 

9. What Maryland certificates are available?
There are 3 professional certificates: Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC); Standard Professional (I & II) SPC; and Advanced Professional Certificate (APC). The Resident Teacher Certificate (RTC) is granted to individuals who complete the Resident Teacher Certificate Program, Maryland's alternative certification program; this certificate is issued only at the request of a local school superintendent.

10. How do I add another certification area to my teaching certificate?
To place additional subjects/fields on your certificate, you may complete either 
course work requirements (30 credits depending upon the area)  or submit a qualifying score on the appropriate content assessment.   No pedagogy assessment is required to add an endorsement to your professional MD teacher's certificate.  

11. Will services as a substitute count toward experience?
Service as a day to day substitute is not acceptable. However, satisfactory service as a long-term substitute for a minimum of 3 months in the same assignment will be credited.

12. What types of teaching will not count toward certification?
The following are not acceptable for the experience requirement:
• teacher of adult classes of persons 21 years or older (except if applying for an area of Professional and Technical Education)
• day-to-day substitute teaching 
• college teaching  

13. Are quarter-hours equivalent to semester credit hours?
No. A quarter hour is equal only to two-thirds of a semester credit hour.

14. Are online, correspondence video, and/or telecommunication courses acceptable?
Yes. The courses must be earned and appear as a passing grade on an official transcript of a regionally accredited college or university.