Media Release: Maine DOE Experiences a 40 Percent Increase in Educator Certification Applications

Maine DOE’s Certification Team Processed 40 Percent More Initial and Renewal Certification Applications Over the Summer Compared to Last Year

The Maine Department of Education experienced a 40 percent increase this summer in the number of initial and renewal educator certification applications processed compared to last year. The Maine DOE’s certification team processed more than 11,000 certification applications between June and August.

“While educator shortages persist across our state, this increase is encouraging and the Maine DOE is committed to doing everything we can to build and support the education workforce in our state. This is the most important work of our society and we want people to know that Maine is a state that respects, supports, and empowers our educators. If you want to become an educator in Maine, we want to make sure you have a pathway into the profession and that you are supported in the classroom,” said Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin.

Maine DOE Educator Recruitment and Retention Efforts and Initiatives:

  • Developing, supporting, and sustaining a robust educator workforce is one of the Maine DOE’s six strategic priorities.
  • Research demonstrates that feeling supported and respected is key to educator recruitment and retention. Maine stands out as a state that respects educators as professionals and the Maine DOE empowers teachers to take risks and be innovative.
  • One of the Mills administration’s first actions was to raise minimum teacher salaries to $40,000.
  • Last year, The Maine DOE released Teach Maine, a comprehensive roadmap to develop, support, and sustain a robust educator workforce in the state. Teach Maine is organized around four key themes: incentivize recruitment and retention efforts; expand and diversify educator workforce efforts; support educator development, growth, and leadership; and elevate educators and the education profession. The report is the result of contributions by education stakeholders throughout Maine, who provided feedback via multiple channels, including regional Think Tanks, focus groups, surveys, organizational meetings, and informal conversations. Additionally, the Department of Education convened an Educator Talent Committee, a core group of internal and external stakeholders, to share their experiences, look at research and trends, and to make recommendations on how to address Maine’s educator shortage.
  • Last month, the Mills administration announced a new initiative to help Maine schools recruit, train, and retain educators through pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Under the initiative, schools and other education and community-related organizations can apply for competitive funding, with awards of up to $250,000 to begin local educator pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs to help address Maine’s educator workforce shortage. Read more.
  • The Maine DOE partners with Live + Work in Maine to encourage people to come live and teach in Maine. Through the partnership, all school administrative units (SAUs) have free access to Live + Work’s highly trafficked job board to recruit educators. The partnership has expanded to include a national advertising effort to Live and Teach in Maine and educator-specific content on Live + Work’s website.
  • The Maine DOE invested in the BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risk Model) for Maine schools. Research has shown that the BARR model results in increased job satisfaction for teachers and higher levels of collaboration. 71 new Maine schools are implementing the BARR model this school year.
  • The Maine DOE’s Educator Summit brought together 600 educators this summer for 4 days of professional learning opportunities with more than 100 workshops. The DOE’s certification and educator excellence teams were on site to support educators and prospective educators, including a job fair on the final day.
  • The Maine DOE also encourages educator leadership by creating opportunities for peer-to-peer professional learning and by establishing statewide teacher cohorts around such areas of interest/expertise as: digital learning/Computer Science, interdisciplinary and project-based learning, innovation and design thinking, BARR schools, literacy, special education, and more. The Maine DOE offers robust professional learning opportunities throughout the year.
  • Maine DOE staff visited 7 summer camps in 2022 and 10 summer camps this summer to speak with counselors about how the skills they develop as camp counselors can lead to opportunities and pathways into the teaching profession.
  • Maine DOE staff serve on the advisory board for the University of Maine System Teacher Residency. The University of Maine System Collaborative received funding through a Congressional Directed Spending earmark supported by Senators King and Collins. The Maine Teacher Residency Program offers paid internships for new teachers and supports student teaching candidates, emergency, and conditionally certified teachers and connects them with teacher education programs to strengthen their preparation and retention.
  • The Maine DOE is working with the Region 1 Comprehensive Center to build state and local staff capacity to collect, analyze, and use educator supply-and-demand data in order to better inform educator recruitment and support efforts. A pilot program will get underway beginning in December.
  • Prospective educators can reach out to the Maine DOE’s educator excellence and certification teams to receive personal support from DOE staff to create their roadmap to becoming a certified teacher in Maine.
  • Through Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan (MJRP) funds, the DOE supported UNE’s Future Teachers of Maine Summer Institute allowing dozens of high school students who have shown an interest in the teaching profession an opportunity to live on campus for a week. Students learn from and with students currently in UNE’s educator preparation program during the weeklong deep dive into the teaching profession and the steps it takes to get into the classroom.
  • Through an AmeriCorps Planning Grant, two York County high schools worked with the Maine DOE to place AmeriCorps members with teachers of first-year students. Those members will not only support students as they navigate high school but will also learn from master teachers and support Maine’s pipeline into the teaching profession.
  • The CDS/AmeriCorps First 4 Partnership is currently looking to recruit, train and empower 17 AmeriCorps members to serve and support children with disabilities with building social emotional skills and school readiness children enrolled in CDS preschools across the state.  The investment in members will not only serve to ensure positive preschool experiences and improve child outcomes for those children, this opportunity will also provide important, dynamic training, 1:1 mentoring and experience for each volunteer to utilize toward certification in the educational field. CDS is committed to building a robust early education workforce. As part of this initiative CDS will support teacher or educational technician licensure for future employment in Maine schools.
  • Maine DOE’s Special Educator Engagement Development & Supports (SEEDS) program provides training and professional learning opportunities to Ed Techs in special education classrooms to support their professional growth and opportunities to achieve their special education teacher certification.
  • The Maine DOE supported passage of LD 753, which Governor Mills signed into law. The bill will allow retired teachers and educational technicians to renew their certification and help fill educator shortages by re-entering the classroom.
  • The Maine DOE worked with US Department of Education to name teacher shortage areas for Maine for SY 23-24. Eligible teachers in those certification areas qualify for enhanced federal student loan forgiveness.
  • The Maine DOE was awarded a $9 million 5-year grant from the US DOE to recruit, respecialize and retain school social workers, school counselors, and school psychologists to work within schools.
  • The Maine DOE is working with CTE schools to expand their education preparation programs beyond Early Childhood Education.
  • The Maine DOE continues to support the EMCC Learning Facilitators program, which offers an alternative, skills-based pathway toward Education Technician III certification. Program participants enroll in a “boot camp” to complete initial coursework and then the rest of their experience is directly in schools under the guidance of EMCC staff and local school mentors.  The Maine DOE supported passage of LD 1366, which opens the door to other institutions of higher education replicating the success of EMCC’s program.


Teacher Shortage Areas For 2023-2024 School Year 

The U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) annually designates teacher shortage areas for the purposes of deferment of loan repayments or reductions of teaching obligation. The Maine Department of Education (DOE) recently requested input regarding designated teacher shortage areas for federal reporting and would like to thank all those who submitted information during the comment period. The comments related to teacher shortage enabled the DOE to add additional teaching endorsements to the USDOE proposal. The following are PreK-12 teacher shortage areas for the 2023-2024 school year:

  • General Elementary
  • Early Childhood
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • English/Language Arts (Middle and Secondary Level)
  • Mathematics (Middle and Secondary Level)
  • Science-Physical (Secondary Level)
  • Science-Life (Secondary Level)
  • Science (Middle Level)
  • Physical Education
  • World Languages
  • Visual Arts
  • Teacher of Students with Disabilities (See note below.)

In Maine, the annual teacher shortage list is utilized by the DOE to determine which endorsements are eligible for an emergency certificate.  It should be noted, however, that on October 4, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released a memorandum to clarify the requirements of IDEA Part B, which outlines the expectations for the preparation and training of all special education teachers nationwide. Noted in the memo, special education certification or licensure requirements may not be waived.

For federal purposes, the benefits to student financial aid recipients, such as loan cancellations, are indicated in the following regulatory provisions:

  • 34 CFR 682.210(b)(5)(ii), (b)(7), (q), and (s) enable a borrower who had no outstanding Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan on July 1, 1987,  but who had an outstanding FFEL Program loan on July 1, 1993, to qualify for deferment of loan repayment under the Stafford Loan Program anytime within the life of the borrower’s loan(s) for up to three years of service as a full-time teacher in a private elementary or secondary school in a teacher shortage area designated by the Department, and as certified by the chief administrative officer of the particular school in which the borrower is teaching;
  • 34 CFR 674.53(c) enables Federal Perkins Loan borrowers who are full-time teachers of mathematics, science, foreign languages, bilingual education, or any other field of expertise where the State educational agency determined there is a shortage of qualified teachers to qualify for cancellation of up to 100 percent of the outstanding balance on the borrower’s Federal Perkins loans; and
  • 34 CFR 686.12(d) enables grant recipients to fulfill their teaching obligation under the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program (regarding the requirement to serve at least four academic years, within eight years of graduation) by teaching in a “high-need field,” which includes academic disciplines/subject areas identified as teacher shortage areas at the time the grant recipient begins teaching in that field.

Stafford Loan and Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS) borrowers who have questions concerning their loans, including the teacher shortage area deferment, can contact the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 1-800-4FED-AID.

Federal Perkins Loan borrowers should contact the school where they received the loan.

For questions related to the 2023-2024 shortage areas, please contact Michael Perry, Acting Director, Office of Higher Education and Educator Support Services, at

National Board Scholarship Application Window Now Open 

Are you a Maine public school teacher who is interested in becoming National Board Certified? Are you a school administrative unit that is eager to offer this exceptional professional learning opportunity to your teachers?  State law, 20-A MRSA Section 13013-A subsection 5 & 6; as amended by PL 2012 c. 702, established the National Board Certification Scholarship Fund to encourage teachers to apply to, and enroll in, the certification program offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, or its successor organization. 

A school administrative unit, or a publicly supported secondary school or CTE region, may request scholarship funds on behalf of its teachers who meet the requirements. 

In school year 2022-23, Maine Department of Education (DOE) will allocate $75,000 to the scholarship fund, and shall award an amount equal to the cost of the certification program, less any other funds received by the applicant to not more than 30 teachers accepted into the program annually. Priority will be given to teachers who have already begun the process and teachers employed in high needs schools.

For more information and eligibility requirements, please visit our National Board Certification Scholarship page: 

Please Note:  The application will be open from August 8, 2022 through October 15, 2022.  If you have questions about the National Board Salary Supplement Program or the National Board Scholarship Program, please contact Emily Doughty at 


Employment Specialist Certification Training

The Maine Departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services are pleased to announce the new Working Together Maine Workforce System training led by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Successful completion of this training leads to an approved Employment Specialist certification that meets the requirements of Maine state agencies to support individuals with disabilities on their paths to employment.

To learn more about this in person training and to register view the flyer.

For additional information or questions, please contact Lara Enein at

Updates on Implementation of New Chapter 115 Regulations

In an effort to keep the education field apprised of implementation progress on Chapter 115 regulations, the Maine DOE certification team wanted to provide the following updates.  Please remember the new regulations begin this Friday, June 10th.

  • Seventy-two different endorsements have already been created and tested and are ready for application submission beginning Friday.  Other endorsements have been created with new regulations and are in the testing phase, while even more are being created.  The plan is to hopefully have all endorsements prepped for application submission for Friday.
  • New PDF support documents that outline requirements for both conditional and professional certifications have been created for every endorsement and are currently undergoing review.  Those will begin being uploaded to the certification website on Thursday, June 9.
  • Enhancements to the website for clarity are currently underway.
  • Communications to the certification office have increased substantially and we have assisted roughly 3,000 educators each of the last two weeks through various channels.  Please be sure to take advantage of the supports we have and are enhancing on the website to help us process applications as quickly as possible.