Frequently Asked Questions

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

1. What is certification?

Certification is the process to verify that each educator required to hold an educator certificate in Maryland 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;

  • Completing a Maryland Resident Teacher Certificate program.

Visit our Routes to Certification page for more information

4. Are there any special requirements for Maryland?

Yes. There are special requirements based on the certificate you hold:

  • As of July 1, 1999, individuals applying for a Maryland teaching 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. Visit our Reading Requirements page for more information.

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

  • School counselors are required to present specialized coursework at each renewal of their professional certificate. Visit our School Counselor Renewal Requirements page for more information.

5. How do I apply for Maryland certification?

Applications for certification are submitted through The Educator Application and Certification Hub (TEACH). If you are under contract with a Maryland public school district, a State-operated agency, or a nonpublic special education facility, please contact your employer directly to determine if there are additional requirements you must complete during the application process.

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?

Once submitted, an application will be reviewed within eight weeks.

8. How much does a certificate cost?

A $10 processing fee is required for the initial certificate and each certificate renewal thereafter.

9. What Maryland certificates are available?

There are 4 professional certificates: Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC); Standard Professional I (SPC I); Standard Professional II (SPC II), and Advanced Professional Certificate (APC).

The Resident Teacher Certificate (RTC) is granted to individuals completing a Resident Teacher Program, Maryland's alternative certification program; this certificate is issued only at the request of a local school system superintendent.

The Conditional Certificate is issued only at the request of a local school system on behalf of an employee who has not yet met the requirements for professional certification.

10. How do I add another certification area to my teaching certificate?

To place additional subjects/fields on your existing professional teaching certificate, you may complete coursework 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 existing professional teaching certificate.

Visit our Endorsement page for more information.

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 may be credited.

12. What types of teaching will not count toward certification?

The following types of experience are not acceptable:

  • 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

  • Teacher of college coursework

13. Are quarter-hours equivalent to semester credit hours?

No. A quarter-hour is equal to two-thirds of a semester credit hour.

14. How will the MSDE communicate with me regarding my request for certification?

The MSDE communicates to applicants and existing educators via The Educator Application and Certification Hub (TEACH), as well as through email. You must keep your email address up to date through your TEACH dashboard. Should you have difficulties updating your email, please contact the Certification Office at

15. Where can I find a copy of my certificate?

You may log onto The Educator Application and Certification Hub (TEACH) to download a copy of your certificate. You will be required to complete a one-time registration to access TEACH.