Becoming an English language arts teacher in Maryland means that you will have the opportunity to shape the lives and futures of hundreds of students during your career. Language arts is a critical foundation for a student’s success. Depending on what grade you teach, you will participate in educating students in writing, reading, communication skills, and literature. You may teach pre-K students how to read their first book, or high school students how to craft a ten-page essay. Your contribution to their education — no matter what the grade level— is a vital component to their education.
Since the early 90s seniors approaching graduation have tested with declining reading scores, according to the NAEP. This statistic impacts many areas of a student’s life. In a report on American literacy, it showed that nearly fifty percent of the adults in this country are considered “functionally illiterate.” That means they aren’t able to read a prescription label, fill out a job application, or complete banking processes. Your job as a language arts teacher not only opens the door of possibility to your students, it helps them function as an adult in their day-to-day life. If you are ready to embark on this important career, below you will find the basic steps for becoming an English language arts teacher in Maryland.
|Complete Your Education|
|Pass Maryland Teaching Exams|
|Apply for a Teaching Certification|
|Upgrade Your Maryland Teaching Certificate|
Step 1. Complete Your Education
Many jobs don’t offer the stability that teaching affords. In other careers you may find yourself going from one company to the next over the course of your working years. If you become a teacher, you could have the opportunity to stay at one school for your entire career. Along with a stable outlook, your career as a teacher rewards you with the knowledge that you are helping to shape a student’s life and increase their chances of success. To get started on this journey, you will need to pursue an education that will train you as a teacher.
The programs available throughout Maryland’s college system will train you in teaching skills, English courses, and give you a broad education in other subjects. This educational track starts with general education classes, moves on to a variety of language arts courses, and finishes with teacher training.
The teacher training includes an internship that will allow you to observe in the classroom and obtain hands-on experience. This part of your education will give you an understanding of what to expect when you receive your first teaching assignment.
Maryland requires that teachers hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in order to be certified by the state. A bachelor’s program will generally take 4-5 years and a master’s degree will take 5-6 years to complete. Some of the possible degrees include:
- M.A. Education
- M.A. Early Childhood Education
- B.A English with Teacher Preparation
If you currently hold a degree but you never participated in a teacher preparation program there are three options for becoming a teacher:
You can go back to school and participate in a Maryland Approved Program that will lead to certification in English language arts or elementary education.
You may complete an alternative preparation program that leads to certification.
You may participate in a transcript analysis to determine if the courses you took in your previous program qualify you to teach.
Step 2. Pass Maryland Teaching Exams
Passing a set of state exams is part of your teacher preparation. The exams are available at testing centers throughout Maryland. Testing covers basic skills in reading, writing, and math and additional testing in English or grade level skills assessments.
Basic Skills Test
All educators will take the basic skills tests consisting of:
Reading test – This test takes up to one hour and twenty-five minutes. There are 56 selected-response questions.
Writing test– This test takes up to one hour and forty minutes. There are 40 selected-response questions and 2 essays.
Math test – This test takes up to one hour and twenty-five minutes. There are 56 questions on this test.
Content knowledge Tests:
Each of the following tests are grade-level specific. Choose which grade you plan to teach in order to determine which test(s) are appropriate for you.
Early Childhood Content Knowledge– this test takes up to two hours to complete. There are 120 Selected-response questions on this test. For teaching candidates in Early Childhood (PreK–3).
Early Childhood Principals of Learning and Teaching– this test takes up to two hours to complete. There are 70 Selected-response questions on this test. For teaching candidates in Early Childhood (PreK–3).
Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Applications- this test takes up to two hours and fifty minutes to complete. There are 124 Selected-response questions on this test. For teaching candidates in Elementary education grades 1-6.
Principals of Learning and Teaching Grades K-6- this test takes up to two hours to complete. There are 70 selected-response and 4 constructed-response questions.
Middle School English Language Arts– this test takes up to two hours and forty minutes. There are 110 Selected-response questions and 2 constructed-response questions.
Middle School Principals or Learning and Teaching– this test takes up to 2 hours. It is comprised of 70 selected-response and 4 constructed-response questions.
Secondary School English Language Arts: Content and Analysis– this test takes up to 3 hours. It has 130 Selected-response questions and 2 constructed-response questions.
Secondary School Principals of Learning and Teaching– this test takes up to2 hours. It has 70 Selected-response questions and 4 constructed-response questions.
To fill out an application for your exams go to the ETS website and create an account, choose your exam dates, and pay the fees.
Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certification
Once you have your exams completed, you are ready to apply for certification.
Here is the basic list of items you need to submit:
- Your official college transcripts. The envelope must not be opened and will need to have the official school stamp on the seal. Your school transcripts need to indicate the degree program and date of graduation. It must also indicate the Maryland Approved Program statement.
- Your Praxis testing scores. These may be on your college transcripts or you might need to send in a copy of your original scores report.
- A general cover letter with: name, phone number, current mailing address, SSI number, DOB, your email, and the area of certification.
- Proof of fingerprints.
Send all documents and application to:
Maryland State Department of Education Certification Branch
200 W. Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Step 4. Upgrade Your Maryland Teaching Certificate
When your certificate is ready to be renewed you will need to have completed a set number of college courses in order to renew and upgrade the certification. Below are the requirements for each upgrade:
- Standard Professional Certificate II – requires that you teach for three years, complete an additional six semester hours of educational credits and a professional development plan.
- Advanced Professional Certificate (APC)- requires that you teach for three years, complete an additional six semester hours of educational credits, hold a master’s degree, or complete at least 36 semester hours of graduate coursework.
Maryland English Teacher Salaries
According to some sources, Maryland claims to have the first school in the United States. It’s the King Williams School that opened in 1696. Since then Maryland has added over 1,400 public schools that teach more than 850,000 students each year.
Teachers in Maryland schools tend to earn salaries that are typical of some of the higher end salaries for the east coast. The average salary for Maryland teachers is $60,272. This takes into account longevity of service and the amount of education that all teachers have.
Each of Maryland’s more than 1,200 schools will offer an individual salary based on the contracts that were determined by their particular district. For an example, in Baltimore City a first-year English teacher in a junior high will start out their career earning $43,000 (if they have an undergraduate degree). Their counterpart at Montgomery’s schools will earn $46,410.
If a teacher decides to enter their teaching career with a higher degree, for instance they earn a master’s or a Ph.D, they can usually expect to be compensated at most schools for the additional time and dollar investment. Here are a few comparisons:
- BA – $42,890
- MA – $74,086
- Ph.D – $77,193
- BA – $41,448
- MA – $73,386
- Ph.D – $78,567
- BA – $43,724
- MA – $81,342
- Ph.D – $84,842
The two highest paying school districts were last listed as Calvert and Montgomery. If the English teacher above earned a Ph.d, she would have a salary of $103,634 with the Standard Professional Certificate. This salary is offered to all teachers who fall into these categories.
To see more district teacher salary information from other counties and metro areas in Maryland see the chart below: