ESOL/ESL Teacher Certification in Maryland

In Maryland, ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers are generally referred to as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teachers. Keep reading to find out how to become a certified ESOL teacher in the state. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Maryland ESOL Teacher Career Overview

ESOL, or ESL, teachers focus on developing English speaking, reading, listening and writing skills with students who don't speak English as their first language. It is the job of an ESOL teacher to help these students become proficient in English, both in school and conversational settings. Aspiring ESOL teachers in Maryland need to get a state certificate in PreK-12 ESOL, which qualifies them to teach the subject at any grade level.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree; teacher preparation program approved by the state
Exams Required Basic skills test
Praxis Subject Area Assessments: English to Speakers of Other Languages, and Teaching Reading: Elementary Education
License Validity Period Five years
License Renewal Requirements 6 hours of credit/professional development in reading
Advancement Requirements Three years of teaching experience, six college credit hours, and a plan for graduate-level education
Mean Salary (2018, for general teaching) $38,440 (preschool)
$67,170 (kindergarten)
$71,060 (elementary)
$69,710 (middle)
$72,610 (high school)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide) 10% (preschool)
7% (kindergarten and elementary)
8% (middle and high school)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Education Requirements

The state requires at least a bachelor's degree to become an ESOL teacher. It also requires an ESOL teacher preparation program, which can be through undergraduate or graduate coursework. Here is the breakdown of credit requirements:

  • Content Courses: 6 credit hours of a foreign language, 6 credit hours in linguistics, 3 credit hours in cross-cultural studies and 6 credit hours in language learning
  • Reading Methods: 6 credit hours
  • Teacher Preparation Program: 12 credit hours in ESOL teaching methods, 6 credit hours in the basics of education, 3 credit hours about working with special needs students and 6 credit hours of student teaching (or a year of teaching experience)

Required Tests

All teaching certificate candidates in Maryland are required to pass a basic skills test. This can be through the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exams in reading, writing and math. SAT, ACT and GRE scores may also count toward the basic skills assessment. Required scores depend on when applicants took the exams.

ESOL/ESL teachers must also take the following Praxis Subject Area Assessment exams for the PreK-12 ESOL teaching certification:

  • English to Speakers of Other Languages (Test 5362), required score of 155
  • Teaching Reading: Elementary Education (Test 5205), required score of 159

Application Process

First, applicants need to make an account in the online portal on the Maryland State Department of Education website. Through this system, applicants will be able to view the status of their application, print the certification and more. Next, applicants must fill out an application form, which covers employment history, student teaching experience, education and areas of certification.

The state asks applicants to mail or email a cover letter, the completed application form, their transcript and test scores to the Maryland State Department of Education. If the application is approved, the state will then ask applicants to pay a fee.

Advancing a Teaching Certification

Maryland has different teacher certifications depending on experience level. New teachers will receive the Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC), which is for those who meet the qualifications but don't have a current Maryland teaching job, or the Standard Professional Certificate I (SPC I), which is for those who are employed by a Maryland school.

Teachers with an SPC I can advance to a Standard Professional Certificate II (SPC II) with three years of teaching experience, six college credit hours, and plans for continuing education to receive the Advanced Professional Certificate (APC). The APC is for those who earn a master's degree related to education; have 36 semesters hours of relevant coursework, including some at the graduate level; or get a National Board Certification and 12 credit hours of graduate-level coursework.

Renewal Requirements

Teachers must request a renewal of their certificate after five years through the school they work at. The state of Maryland requires all teachers to earn continuing education credits or professional development in reading; those who teach preK-12 specialty subjects must complete six hours. Certified teachers without a teaching position must send a cover letter and proof of six semester hours of continuing education, at an accredited institution, to the Maryland State Department of Education.

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