How to Become a High School Teacher in Maryland

Maryland high school teachers must earn a degree from an approved program and pass the required certification tests for their chosen subject area. Read on to learn about the high school teaching subject areas and their certification requirements.

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High school teachers may instruct students in a range of subject areas, including biology, social studies, English, art, business education, and political science. Maryland reported a shortage of qualified teachers for some subjects, such as chemistry, Spanish, and mathematics, as of the 2016-2017 school year. Graduates from approved programs, particularly in areas where there are reported shortages, should currently enjoy good job prospects in Maryland.

Maryland High School Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for High School Teachers in Maryland (2016)* $65,930 (General Education);
$68,400 (Career/Technical Education);
$64,980 (Special Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements Basic Skills;
Content and Pedagogy

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education Requirements

Earning a degree from an approved, accredited program ensures that you have the skills and knowledge needed for a teaching career in Maryland. Those interested in teaching high school can pursue a degree that prepares them to teach their chosen subject or specialization area. A degree in special education with a focus on students in grades 6-12 will prepare individuals to teach high school special education students. Those who wish to teach subjects that have pre-k to grade 12 certification may focus on programs to teach those subjects, such as art education, music education, or different languages. Other programs focus specifically on educating high school students in that subject area, such as Spanish secondary education, physics, or theater.

Approved programs include core subject requirements in the focal area of the degree. Math teachers will take courses in algebra and calculus while English teachers will be studying literature and grammar. All programs include education courses and student teaching assignments so that graduates have classroom teaching experience prior to entering the workforce.

Step 2: Pass Basic Skills Tests or Meet Requirement

All teacher certification applicants must pass three Basic Skills tests, or they must fulfill the testing requirements on one of three other tests.

Basic Skills Tests

There are three Basic Skills tests that cover mathematics, reading, and writing skills. The passing score for the math test is 150. A grade of 156 or higher is needed to pass the reading test, and the writing test requires a score of 162 or more. These tests each cost $90 or $150 for all three at once.

Alternate Tests

It is possible to demonstrate that you fulfill the Basic Skills requirements by earning passing scores on the ACT, SAT or GRE. A score of 24 is needed to pass the ACT. A combined score of 1100 or more is required to pass the SAT, and the passing grade on the GRE is 297.

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Step 3: Pass Content and Pedagogy Tests

The content and pedagogy test requirements vary by subject area. Those planning to teach subjects such as special education, art, Spanish, English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), German, health, physical education, French, and music are only required to pass a content test in their certification area.

In order to teach subjects such as physics, theater, social studies, chemistry, biology, technology education, business education, political science, marketing, history, mathematics, English, economics, computer science, geography, and agriculture, it is necessary to pass two exams. One exam is a content exam in the subject area that the applicant plans to teach. The other test is the Principles of Learning & Teaching Grades 7-12 pedagogy.

To teach other classes, such as physical science and environmental science, it is only necessary to take the Principles of Learning & Teaching Grades 7-12 pedagogy exam.

Passing score requirements for the content exams vary by subject. A passing score on the agriculture test is 147 while a score of 165 is needed to pass Chinese Mandarin, and a score of 168 is required in subjects such as English and geography. All applicants required to take the Principles of Learning & Teaching Grades 7-12 pedagogy exam must earn a score of 157 or more to pass.

Step 4: Apply For PEC or SPC I

The following items must be included when applying for a Maryland teaching certificate:

  • A completed application form
  • Transcripts to prove graduation from an approved program
  • Basic Skills test scores
  • Content and Pedagogy Test Scores
  • A cover letter with applicant's personal information and type of certification sought

All items must be mailed or emailed to the Maryland State Department of Education for review. If emailing, transcripts must come directly from your institute of higher learning. Individuals who have a teaching job at a school in Maryland will receive the Standard Professional Certificate I (SPC I) while those who meet the certification requirements but are not employed as a teacher in Maryland will receive the Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC).

Teacher Certification Resources

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