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.

Visit our Routes to Certification page for more information.

4. Are there any special requirements for Maryland?

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. 

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).  If sending your documents electronically, use the address as the recipient when ordering transcripts;
  • Copy of required Maryland tests or copy of out-of-state tests (if applicable);
  • Copy of professional out-of-state certificate (if applicable); and
  • Verification of experience (if applicable).

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 completing a Resident Teacher Certificate Program, Maryland's alternative certification program; this certificate is issued only at the request of a local school 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 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.  

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 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 
  • 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. Are online, correspondence video, and/or telecommunication courses acceptable?

Yes. The courses must lead to credit earned and appear as a passing grade on an official transcript of a regionally accredited college or university.

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

The MSDE communicates to applicants and existing educators via email.  It is critical that you keep your email address up to date through your portal account. Should you have difficulties updating your email on the portal, please contact the Certification Assistance Center at