The Human Resources department of Dorchester County Public Schools (DCPS) handles the certification of nearly 600 teachers. The HR office monitors County and State requirements and works directly with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) on all certification requests and issues for DCPS professional employees. If you are a DCPS employee and have questions about certification that are not answered in the Handbook below, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current DCPS employees whose positions do not require a certificate (non-teachers, substitute teachers, etc.) and individuals who are no longer employed with DCPS who have questions about certification, must contact the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE),Division of Certification and Accreditation, at (410) 767-0412 or go to the MSDE website, www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/certification
This handbook includes all of the information found in this section of the Human Resources website including requirements for each certificate type, information on the renewal process, and all related forms.
- Professional Development Plan (PDP)
- CEU Credit Slip for Approval In-County Activities
1. Who must hold a teaching certificate in Maryland?
A certificate is required of every teacher, specialist, administrator, and supervisor employed in a public school in Maryland. Certificates are issued and renewed twice a year, January and July.
2. What are the types of certificates, what is the validity period for each and is there a limit to the number of each type of certificate a teacher might have?
Conditional Certificate 2 yrs 2 in a lifetime
Standard Professional I 5 yrs 1
Standard Professional II 5yrs 1
Advanced Professional 5yrs Unlimited
Resident Teacher Certificate 1yr 1
3. How do I renew my Conditional Certificate?
To get a second Conditional Certificate, a teacher must complete a minimum of 12 of the credits listed on the conditional evaluation and must meet the Maryland qualifying score on Praxis I. If the original conditional evaluation requires fewer than 12 credits, all requirements including the required Praxis I and Praxis II tests must be completed during the two-year validity period of the first certificate.
If more than 12 credits were required on the conditional evaluation and the minimum requirements for a second conditional were met, all remaining requirements on the conditional evaluation must be completed during the two-year validity period of the second conditional certificate.
4. How do I renew my Standard Professional I Certificate?
Complete a minimum of 6 credits during the five-year validity period. Since you will have a total of ten years (SPC I and SPCII) to complete your master's degree or master's equivalency, you will probably want to take more than just the 6 required credits. You also must have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience during the validity period of your certificate.
5. How do I renew my Standard Professional II Certificate?
By the end of the five-year validity period of your Standard Professional II certificate, you must earn an APC by completing either a master's degree or master's equivalency (36 credits, of which 21 must be graduate credits). You also must have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience during the validity period of your certificate.
6. What must I do to renew my Advanced Professional Certificate?
You must complete a total of 6 credits and/or equivalent units during the five-year validity period of each Advanced Professional Certificate. You must also have a minimum of three years of successful teaching experience during the validity period of each certificate.
7. What courses are acceptable for certificate renewal?
All coursework must be taken at an accredited college or university or through MSDE and must be age/grade appropriate and related to education or your current teaching assignment of for an additional endorsement.
8. What is a Professional Development Plan? When must I complete a PDP? Where do I get the form?
A PDP (Professional Development Plan) is required at the beginning of each certificate cycle and indicates your plans for professional development over the next five years of your "new" certificate. You complete and sign the PDP and then share it with your principal for his/her signature. All schools have copies of the PDP form in the school office. The principal will follow-up the PDP with the PD Equivalent Credit Form at the time of certificate renewal to award PD equivalent credits for APC holders. The PD Equivalent Credit form should be submitted to the HR office at the time of certificate renewal. The PD Plan should be kept at the school level.
9. What is an Equivalent Unit? Can anyone use these units to renew a certificate?
An equivalent unit allows APC certificate holders to renew their certificates with equivalent units and/or credits. Equivalent units are specific to DCPS and can only be used to renew an Advanced Professional Certificate.
10. Who is responsible for renewing my certificate?
The certificate holder is responsible for keeping track of their current certificate and its validity period. You need to keep a record of the coursework completed and be sure to send original transcripts/official grade reports to Human Resources for all coursework completed. Dorchester-sponsored MSDE credits are automatically sent to HR. Other MSDE credits should be submitted to HR. All college transcripts and grade reports must be requested by the teacher. It is most efficient if you have the transcripts sent to you in a sealed envelope and you deliver them to HR. That way, you know when the college has actually sent your transcript(s). The Human Resourced Department will make a request for you certificate to MSDE and will send all necessary documentation. You simply need to get the necessary documents to HR, approximately 6 weeks before your certificate expires.
11. What happens if I don't get the appropriate documentation to HR and my certificate expires?
Every teacher must hold a valid certificate to teach in any Maryland Public School.
If you do not meet the requirements for at least a Conditional Certificate, you cannot get a certificate. Without a certificate, you lose your status as a teacher. You are no longer employed by DCPS as a regular employee. If you do not meet the requirements to renew a Professional certificate, you can move to a Conditional Certificate for two years to complete your missing coursework. If you do not complete the requirements in the two-year validity period, you cannot get another certificate. You lose your tenure when you move to a Conditional Certificate.
12. How may I add an endorsement area to my certificate?
You may add a certification area/endorsement by completing 30 credits in a particular certification area or by passing the content Praxis test(s) for a specific certification area with a Maryland qualifying score, once you have an initial subject endorsement.
13. What are the possible Areas of Certification?
There are many areas of certification one can possess. If you would like an evaluation of your coursework for any of these certification areas, please contact the Human Resources Department with your specific request. The following are areas of certification in Maryland at this time:
Administrator I Outdoor Education
Administrator II Physical Education PK-12
Agriculture 7-12 Physics 7-12
Art PK-12 Psychometrist
Biology 7-12 Pupil Personnel Worker
Business Education 7-12 Reading Specialist
Chemistry 7-12 Reading Teacher K-12
Computer Science 7-12 School Psychologist
Dance PK-12 Severely & Profoundly Disabled
Early Childhood PK-3 School Social Worker
Earth/Space Science 7-12 Social Studies 7-12
Elementary 1-6 & Middle Special Education Birth -3
English 7-12 Special Education 1-8
ESOL PK-12 Special Education 6-Adult
Family and Consumer Sciences 7-12 Speech Communication 7-12
Health Education PK-12 Supervisor of School Psychological Services
Health Occupations Supervisor of Special Education
Hearing Impaired Supervisor of Speech Pathologists
Library Media Administrator Superv. of Teachers of the Hearing Impaired
Library Media Specialist Technology Education 7-12
Marketing Education Theatre 7-12
Mathematics 7-12 Trades & Industry 7-12
Music PK-12 Visually Impaired
Work-Based Learning Coordinator
14. How and when do I get my actual certificate?
MSDE has implemented an online educator portal. The Human Resource office can access your certificate and once a new one is issued, we will email it to you at your BOE email address. Visit www.mdcert.org to create an account in which you can view and print your certificate whenever you wish. Initial certificates can take a few months to go through the approval process at MSDE before they are ready to print, while renewals may take less time.