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How to Become a Special Education Teacher in Maryland

Discover all the necessary requirements for obtaining certification as a special education teacher in Maryland. Learn about levels of certification and the salary for special education teachers in the state.

Information for Special Education Teachers in Maryland

Special Education teachers are responsible for educating students with learning or medical disabilities. Maryland offers special education certificates at the preschool level, elementary and middle school levels, secondary/adult levels as well as certificates to teach the blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, and severely and profoundly disabled. Educational programs and assessments in special education must be fulfilled to obtain eligibility. Below are facts related to certification and salary figures for Maryland special education teachers.

Education Required Bachelor's degree
Exam Requirements Basic skills assessment
Praxis test in Special Education
Praxis test in Teaching Reading
Certification Renewal Period 5 years
Credits Required for Renewal 6 semester hours of acceptable credit for advanced certificate
Average Annual Salary (2017) $60,850* (kindergarten and elementary school)
$70,470* (middle school)
$67,490* (secondary school)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% (special education teachers nationwide)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn Your Degree

All educators in the state of Maryland are required to hold a minimum educational requirement of a bachelor's degree. Applicants can choose to complete a Maryland Approved Program, an alternative preparation program, or complete a transcript analysis that fulfils qualifying scores on the Praxis test in Special Education and basic skills assessment.

A Maryland Approved Program is an undergraduate or graduate degree from a state-approved college or university, leading to a teaching certification in special education. These programs help deepen your understanding of how students with disabilities effectively learn in a classroom environment, equipping you with the right knowledge to develop and improve lesson plans, programs, and resources that accommodate their needs.

Those planning to teach special education at an early childhood or elementary level must complete 12 additional semester hours in reading coursework. Those teaching at a secondary level are required to complete 6.

Step 2: Take Your Tests

All teaching candidates in Maryland (who are applying for an initial certification) must achieve a qualifying score on an approved basic skills assessment and the appropriate Praxis assessments. A basic skills assessment measures the mathematics and literacy skills of all potential teachers. For those looking to gain certification in special education, the special education Praxis test will assess your core knowledge and application in teaching special education. Content will touch upon areas of professional responsibility, developing an accommodating learning environment for students with disabilities, and understanding development, behavior, and characteristics. Special education teachers at all levels are also required to complete the Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary Education test, which covers multiple areas of reading development.

Step 3: Apply For Your Certificate

The state of Maryland has a four-tier certification process for all teachers, in which they advance from one certificate to the next once the necessary educational experiential requirements are fulfilled. New teachers begin with a Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC), then advance to a Standard Professional Certificate I (SPC I) upon obtaining employment at a local Maryland school system, to a Standard Professional Certificate II (SPC II) and finally, an Advanced Professional Certificate (APC).

New teachers can create an online portal and then send in the application, test scores, transcripts, a cover letter, and any certificates, if applicable to the Maryland Department of Education.