Maryland Teaching Certification

Who must hold a teaching certificate in Maryland?

Every teacher, specialist, administrator, and supervisor must hold a valid MD certificate to be employed in a public school system in Maryland.  Certificates are issued and renewed twice a year, January and July.

What are the types of certificates, what is the validity period for each and is there a limit to the number of each type of certificate a teacher might have?

Type of Certificate Validity Period Limit
Conditional Certificate 2 years 2
Standard Professional I Certificate 5 years 1
Standard Professional II Certificate 5 years 1
Advanced Professional Certificate 5 years unlimited

For more detailed information, see the Certification Chart (Adobe PDF File, opens in new window).

How do I renew my Conditional Certificate?

To get a second Conditional Certificate, a teacher must complete a minimum of 12 credits listed on the conditional evaluation and must meet the Maryland qualifying score on Praxis I. 

If the original conditional evaluation requires fewer than 12 credits, all requirements including the required Praxis I and Praxis II tests must be completed during the two-year validity period of the first certificate.

How do I renew my Standard Professional I Certificate?

Complete a total of 6 credits, reading credits if you still need them, during the five-year validity period.  Since you will have a total of ten years to complete your master’s degree or master’s equivalency, you will probably want to take more than just the 6 required credits.  You also must have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience during the validity period of your certificate.

How do I renew my Standard Professional II Certificate?

By the end of the five-year validity period of your Standard Professional II certificate, you must complete either a master’s degree or master’s equivalency (36 credits, including a minimum of 21 graduate credits).  You also must have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience during the validity period of your certificate.

What must I do to renew my Advanced Professional Certificate?

You must complete a total of 6 credits and/or equivalent units during the five-year validity period of each Advanced Professional Certificate.  You also must have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience during the validity period of each certificate.

What courses are acceptable for certificate renewal?

All coursework must be taken at a regionally accredited college or university or through MSDE and must be age/grade appropriate and related to education in general or your certification area.

What is a Professional Development Plan?  Must I complete one?

A Professional Development Plan is a plan developed by a certificate holder with his/her supervisor indicating professional development plans for the upcoming school year and is required by MSDE for certificate renewal.  The PDP for most FCPS certificate holders is included in the current evaluation system and is kept on file at the school.  Only administrators must complete the 5-year PDP on the appropriate form at the beginning of each certificate validity period. 

Who is responsible for renewing my certificate?

You are responsible for keeping track of your current certificate and its validity period.  You need to keep track of the coursework that you complete and be sure to send original transcripts/official grade reports to Human Resources for all coursework completed.  You can access your record at FCPS Employee Self Service Portal.

MSDE credits are automatically sent to HR.  For more information on MSDE credits, click here.  College transcripts and grade reports must be requested by the teacher.  It is most efficient if you have the transcripts sent to you in a sealed envelope and you deliver them to HR.  That way, you know when the college has actually sent your transcript.  The Certification Officer will make a request for your certificate to MSDE about two months before your certificate expires after all official documentation is received for your renewal credits.  Once your certificate request has been made and approved by MSDE, you can go to www.mdcert.org (opens in new window) to print your certificate.  The certificate cannot be printed before its issue date.

Is there a fee to renew my certificate?  How do I pay it?

Each certificate renewal requires a $10 fee, but the addition of a certification area costs nothing. Fees are deducted from the teacher’s paycheck a month or two before the certificate expires.

How may I add a certification area to my certificate?

You may add a teaching certification area by completing 30 credits in a particular certification area or by passing the appropriate test(s) for a specific certification area with a Maryland qualifying score.  Click here to access the complete list of Praxis tests (opens in new window) and click here to access the list of accepted ACTFL tests and required scores (opens in new window). 

Specialist certifications (Media, Guidance, Reading Specialists, etc.) and Administrator certification require a course by course evaluation or the conferral of a master's degree in the appropriate area.  Evaluations are completed by the Certification Officer by request.

What are the possible Areas of Certification?

Please see the table of certification areas (Adobe PDF File, opens in new window).  If you would like an evaluation of your coursework for any of these certification areas, please E-mail with your specific request.

How and when do I get my actual certificate?

You print your certificate from the MSDE website whenever you wish.  Certificates cannot be printed until the date they are issued.  To do so, access www.mdcert.org (opens in new window) and follow the onscreen directions.  You need to set up an account the first time you access the site.  After that, you simply need your username and the password you created on the site when you registered.

What is the Senior Teacher Waiver and how do I know if I am eligible for it?

According to COMAR 13A.12.01.14B.(1)(2), a teacher who has 25 years of experience in public education or is 55 years of age may request the Senior Teacher Waiver for certificate renewal.  That means that the teacher is exempted from taking the 6 credits to renew his/her Advanced Professional Certificate and is not held to the reading or special education required courses that have not yet been met.

Professional Learning Experience Units being replaced by MSDE Credit for Specialized Learning Experiences

Effective July 1, 2017, Professional Learning Experience Units (PLUs) are being phased out and replaced with "MSDE Credit for Specialized Learning Experiences (opens in new window)".

What are the requirements to earn MSDE Credit for Specialized Learning Experiences?

  • Request must be made prior to engaging in the PL experience to gain prior approval.
  • The professional learning experience must occur outside of the regular workday.
  • The experience must be a minimum of 15 hours (may be a combination of "seat time" and submitted evidence of implementation/learning).
    • 15-29  hours = 1 credit
    • 30-44 hours = 2 credits
    • 45 + hours = 3 credits
  • You may not request approval for the same experience more than one time.

How do I submit a request for pre-approval?

Before beginning the experience, submit your Request for MSDE Credit for Specialized Learning Experiences (opens in new window)