How to Become a Special Education Teacher in Maine

Special education teachers are required to have at least a bachelor's degree. There are three different certificates that they may obtain, depending on the age they will teach. There are two or more exams required for each certificate type. Continue reading to find out more. Schools offering Emotional & Behavioral Disorders degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Special Education Teacher Requirements

There are three key requirements for any certification as a special education teacher; these are education, student teaching, and exams. Additionally, all certifications require a criminal record check. Educators can waive certain tests with a higher degree or completion of a teacher education program. Read more below.

Education Required Bachelor's degree and special education courses**
Exams Required Praxis I
Praxis II
PLT (K-8, 7-12)**
License Validity Period 2 years (provisional); 5 years (professional)**
Advancement Requirements Master's degree
4 years' teaching experience
Additional special education courses
Principles of Learning and Teaching exam**
Mean Salary for Special Education Teachers in Maine (2018) $36,070 (pre-k); $51,980 (kindergarten and elementary); $57,040 (middle school); $51,910 (secondary)*
Estimated Job Growth for Special Education Teachers (2016-2026, nationwide) 11% (pre-k); 7% (kindergarten, elementary, middle and secondary school)*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Maine Department of Education (DOE)

Required Education and Student Teaching

For all future special education teachers, a bachelor's degree is required. Although a degree in special education is ideal, it is not specifically required. In addition to a bachelor's degree (if not met within the degree path) the educator must have 24 college credit hours in special education courses. Although each certification has different requirements, they each share the same basic educational expectations.

All courses taken must be at a 100 level or higher from an accredited four-year college. However, up to six semester hours can be waived with a score of 60 or higher on a CLEP subject exam. For example, a passing score could waive an Algebra or an English class requirement.

In addition, each certificate type requires that educators meet a specific amount of student teaching hours. This can be waived after one school year of successful teaching with another valid certificate in Maine.

Required Exams

Below are the exam requirements for each certificate type:

Birth to Age 5 Certificate

  • PRAXIS I: Core Academic Skills for Educators (can be waived with a graduate degree)
    • Reading (#5712): Score of 156
    • Writing (#5722): Score of 162
    • Mathematics (#5732): Score of 150
    • Composite Score: 468
  • PRAXIS II: Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood CK
    • Test Code 5691: Score of 159

K-8 Certificate

  • PRAXIS I: Core Academic Skills for Educators (can be waived with a graduate degree)
    • Reading (#5712): Score of 156
    • Writing (#5722): Score of 162
    • Mathematics (#5732): Score of 150
    • Composite Score: 468
  • PRAXIS II: Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications
    • Test Code 5354: Score of 151
  • PLT: Principles of Learning and Teaching (waived with completion of teacher education program)
    • Test Code 5622: Score of 160

Grades 7-12 Certificate

  • PRAXIS I: Core Academic Skills for Educators (can be waived with a graduate degree)
    • Reading (#5712): Score of 156
    • Writing (#5722): Score of 162
    • Mathematics (#5732): Score of 150
    • Composite Score: 468
  • PRAXIS II: Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications
    • Test Code 5354: Score of 151
  • PLT: Principles of Learning and Teaching (waived with completion of teacher education program)
    • Test Code 5624: Score of 157

Applying for Certification

Once the above requirements are met, applicants will need to submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check. They will also mail their certificate application, official transcripts, a $100 initial application fee, and other applicable documentation to:

Department of Education

Certification Office

23 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333-0023

Certificate Renewal

Renewals are completed through the Maine Educator Information System website, or MEIS. After logging in, an educator will select 'Renew Endorsements.' The site will go step-by-step through the process, which should only take around 15 minutes. The site will have the educator's information already loaded, and will only need updates where applicable. There is a $100 renewal fee that will be required before submission. Processing of the renewal can take around 5 weeks.

Advancement Opportunity

Special education teachers may choose to advance and obtain a Special Education Consultant Certificate. This credential allows them to hold more of an advisory role. Additional requirements to acquire this certificate are a master's degree, four years of full-time special education teaching experience, training in at least two areas of disability, and the PLT test, either or 0624 or 5624, if not already completed.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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Popular Schools

  • Concordia University Portland

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    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

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  • Northcentral University

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  • University of Maine at Farmington

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    • Maine: Farmington
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