Maine Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

According to the Maine Department of Education, research has shown that students who are involved in the arts are more successful in school, more involved in their communities, and perform better on standardized tests. Maine has made a commitment to the visual arts in prekindergarten through grade 12 by adopting content standards (known as the Maine Learning Results) for the visual and performing arts, which outline a pathway so that every high school graduate has proficiency in one or more artistic disciplines. These standards focus on arts literacy, the elements of art and principles of design, artistic media, tools, techniques, and processes, artistic expression and performance, composition, exhibition, and more.

The Maine Department of Education Certification Office administers the rules of the Maine State Board of Education relating to the issuing of credentials teachers. To become an art teacher in Maine, complete the following steps:

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Complete Testing
Apply for Your Certificate
Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Pursue Graduate Work



Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program

The first step to becoming an art teach in Maine is to complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited four-year school. You can also start preparing for a career in education at a Maine community college, and transfer to a four-year program.

You may also complete an approved teacher prep program, although it is not strictly required by state law for art teachers. (In this case, different rules for certification apply—see below.) The state has a small list of approved teacher prep programs, which may be found here. You will need a formal recommendation from your school at the end of the program.

If you have never taught before in Maine, you must successfully complete a student teaching experience of at least 15 weeks. You will also be required to complete an approved course for “Teaching Exceptional Students in the Regular Classroom.”

If you haven’t do not complete an approved teacher prep program alongside your bachelors degree, you will need the following:

  • A minimum of 15 semester hours in performance/studio coursework in art-related areas
  • A minimum of 9 semester hours in theory/history coursework in art-related areas
  • Completion of an approved course for “Teaching Exceptional Students in the Regular Classroom”
  • Passing scores on the exams above
  • Passed content area methods course or content area methods assessment
  • Completed one academic semester or a minimum of 15 weeks of full-time student teaching, or a combination of part-time and full-time student teaching in an amount equivalent to 15 weeks in the endorsement area at the specified grade level. (Certain exceptions apply.)

There are other pathways to becoming certified to teach art as career and technical subject in grade 9 through 12 at career and technical centers, at career and technical regions, or at a career and technical satellite program. Detailed information on these five pathways is available in the state regulations at Chapter 115, Part II.



Step 2. Complete Testing

Before applying for initial teacher certification, you must pass all three Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) tests. The Praxis Core tests measures basic skills in reading, writing, and math, through multiple-choice questions and two thirty-minute essay questions. Passing scores in Maine are as follows:

  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading 156
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing 162
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics 150

Art teachers must also pass The Principles of Learning and Teaching test, which measures general pedagogical knowledge through multiple-choice questions and constructed-response prompts based on case studies. These tests are administered at four grade level ranges: Early Childhood, K–6, 5–9 and 7–12. Minimum scores in Maine are as follows:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7–12
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K–6
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7–12

You must also pass an arts-specific subject test, Art: Content Knowledge test (5134), a two-hour exam that measures basic knowledge of art-making and the historical and theoretical foundations of art in the Western tradition and worldwide. A passing score in Maine is 158.

You can find the test center closest to you here. All ETS tests in Maine are now computerized, although paper tests are available for those with applicable disabilities.



Step 3. Apply for Your Certificate

All teachers in Maine’s public and private schools must be certified. Under most circumstances, Maine offers three types of certificates for art teachers: provisional, professional, and master certificates. The first certificate to apply for is the provisional certificate, which is good for two years.

To become certified, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Furnish evidence of good moral character when requested
  2. Be at least 18 years of age
  3. Be knowledgeable of physiology and hygiene, with special reference to the effects of alcohol, stimulants and narcotics upon the human system;
  4. Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with the following exceptions (unless teaching in a grades 9-12 career and technical education capacity)
  5. Satisfactorily complete a state and national Criminal History Records Check based on fingerprints
  6. Demonstrate that learning standards are met by passing the tests below

To apply for a provisional certificate, follow the seven steps below:

  1. Complete and sign application
  2. Enclose all official transcripts
  3. Include additional documentation, if necessary
  4. Enclose appropriate non-refundable fees ($100 for an initial certificate)
  5. Enclose explanation of application questions to which you answered “yes”
  6. Include examination scores for the tests above (copies are fine)
  7. Submit application

You can download an application online. On your application, list the appropriate certificate or endorsement code and grade level in which you’re interested. The appropriate endorsement code for Visual Arts K-12 teachers is 620. For a high school career and technical endorsement in Visual Arts, the code is 926.

Transcripts must show your degree and date conferred, Social Security number (when possible), all courses for which you have received credit, the registrar’s signature and the embossed seal. If you’re applying to become an arts high school teacher in the career and technical arena, you must send a resume of related paid work experience, including dates, number of years/weeks in the position and descriptions of work experience.

When it comes to test scores, send copies of score results with your application package even if ETS states that they were sent directly.

Send the entire application package in one envelope to:

Department of Education
Certification Office
23 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0023

You can’t be issued a certificate to teach until your fingerprints are on file with the Maine department of Education. Further information on fingerprinting and appropriate sites to have it done can be found here. The Department will also conduct a Criminal History Records Check.



Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License

The Certification Office will automatically mail you a renewal applications when your certification is up for renewal.

According to state law, the following situations apply if you want to renew a provisional certificate while employed:

  1. If the approved certification support system or the superintendent of the school administrative unit or approved private school recommends another provisional certificate, you may renew for an additional one-year or two-year term. If there is an inconsistency between the recommendations of the superintendent and the support system, the Commissioner may hold a fact-finding hearing in the school administrative unit where the teacher is employed. At the hearing, the Teacher Action Plan, superintendent’s recommendations and the support system recommendations must be presented. With the consent of the teacher, the hearing may be open to the public.
  2. If you are employed in a private school that has been approved for attendance purposes only and does not have an approved certification support system, you may renew for an additional two-year term.

If you are not employed, or employed for less than 2 consecutive school years , you may renew for an additional two years through regular channels (i.e., that state education department will send a renewal package.)

Professional Certificate

The next level of certification to apply for is the professional certificate, which is the standard certificate for teachers and educational specialists in Maine and is good for five years. There are a variety of pathways for achieving this license. If you already hold a provisional certificate and are employed in Maine, the most common pathways are:

Option 1: Requirements

  1. Hold a provisional certificate under which you are employed in Maine;
  2. Have been employed under the provisional certificate for two school years;
  3. Meets the standards for professional growth leading to competency established in Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 118;
  4. Provide a positive recommendation from the certification support system following completion of an action plan for an initial professional certificate, which is based on a demonstrated proficiency of Maine’s standards for a teaching certificate.

Option 2: Fast-track

  1. Meet the eligibility requirements to hold a provisional certificate;
  2. Have at least two school years of teaching experience or educational specialist experience;
  3. Have taught less than two school years in Maine under a provisional certificate; and
  4. Provide a positive recommendation from the certification support system following a minimum of one observation.

Master Certificate

The master certificate is the certificate for teachers and educational specialists in Maine that indicates that the holder is especially capable and knowledgeable, and is good for five years. The following eligibility requirements apply:

  1. Demonstrate the standards for professional growth based on the standards for National Board Certification.
  2. Provide a positive recommendation from the certification support system that a master teacher certificate be issued, based on completion of an action plan for a master certificate, in accordance to Me. Dept. of Ed. Reg. 118;
  3. Hold a valid professional certificate in the same certification area for which the master certificate is sought.

Standards for renewal are the same as those for initial issuance of the certificate.



Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work

Graduate work can provide access to higher levels of licensure in Maine and often a salary bump. Post-baccalaureate options in Maine and nearby states include:

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)
  •  Master of Education in Instructional technology
  • Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Masters in Education in English/Language Arts
  • Masters in Education in History/Social Studies
  • Master of Science in Teaching
  • Master of Science in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
  • Master of Education in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Doctor of Education in Adult, Occupational and Continuing Education
  • EdD in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education


Maine Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in Maine (as of the 2012-2013 school year) was $31,835, somewhat lower than the national average of $36,141. The average teacher salary overall was $44,731.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers6,880$48,480
Middle School Teachers2,880$49,940
Secondary School Teachers5,200$48,440


However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:

Occupation Title EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Bangor, ME
Elementary School Teachers680$48,760
Middle School Teachers290$56,940
Secondary School Teachers420$48,850


Lewiston-Auburn, ME
Elementary School Teachers460$45,760
Middle School Teachers280$45,550
Secondary School Teachers430$45,700


Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME
Elementary School Teachers1,660$53,010
Middle School Teachers720$51,660
Secondary School Teachers1,440$52,020


Portsmouth, NH-ME
Elementary School Teachers410$54,780
Middle School Teachers200$57,300
Secondary School Teachers210$59,460


Rochester-Dover, NH-ME
Elementary School Teachers740$53,520
Middle School Teachers350$52,660
Secondary School Teachers550$53,860


Salary schedules vary by school district. The Maine Education Association lists many of these schedules here.

Information on postsecondary art teacher salaries in some areas of Maine can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Annual Median Salary
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford ME
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area
Estimate Not Released

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