Teacher Education

ETEP - FAQS


In what geographic areas are placements made?
The ETEP cohorts are spread across the southern Maine region for both the 9-month and the 13-month options. Many area district schools are used for placements.  Placements are made according to geographic location of the intern, content area and available mentor teachers, and available partner schools.

What Makes a Strong Candidate for ETEP?
We seek candidates who demonstrate the characteristics of self-knowledge, maturity, sensitivity to others and the ability to adapt to, and learn from, new and challenging situations. Strong candidates to ETEP are also academically strong students. They demonstrate this strength through their performance during the completion of an undergraduate degree in an appropriate academic discipline, by successfully passing Praxis I or Core, and by demonstrating strong written and oral communication skills in the application process. Lastly, strong ETEP candidates have prior experiences working with children in instructional situations where they have developed a learning-centered educational philosophy.

Can I get certified without going through a university teacher education program like ETEP?
Yes, the state of Maine offers alternative certification pathway which does not require completing a state approved program such as ETEP. Unfortunately, such a route provides neither the high level of professional preparation that ETEP offers nor an equal level of competitiveness for obtaining a teaching position. Finding a job, if certified through the alternative route with a "conditional" certification, can often be difficult and frustrating. However, if you are unable to join ETEP and would like to be advised about the alternative pathway, please contact the Maine Department of Education (207-624-6603).

Are there any courses that are prerequisites for admission to ETEP?
Yes, there are. ETEP is a teacher certification program that provides the professional course work needed to be well prepared for the first year of teaching. ETEP does not include content courses in the liberal arts that are required for teacher certification. Those courses are prerequisites to the program.

The best way to find out where you stand in terms of the pre-requisite coursework required for teacher certification is to refer to the following link for information regarding transcript self-analysis.

What if I have missing course work?
There are two ways to fulfill any gaps in what you need for pre-requisites: either course work or CLEP testing.  You can take a course at any four-year accredited college or university. You can also take your missing course(s) at a community college as a long as that course would transfer to a four-year institution.  Additionally, you can attain college credit by taking and passing a College Level Entrance Program (CLEP) test. These tests are standard and given at most college testing centers including USM. They cost at USM is $125 per test plus a $15 fee for posting the credit to a USM transcript. It’s a good idea to make sure you have the prior knowledge before attempting the test, however. The website for CLEP at USM is http://usm.maine.edu/pla/pla-CLEP-exams. The maximum number of CLEP credits one can use for certification purposes is 6.

What Praxis test do I take?
ETEP candidates should either take the Praxis I, Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST) or the Core before applying to ETEP.   The Praxis I is being phased out by the Educational Testing Service and will not be offered after August 31, 2014.  However, Praxis I is still available as an option through 8/31/14.  It will be accepted by the Maine Dept. of Education for certification purposes until 8/31/18*.

The Praxis I is being replaced by the Praxis Core.  Either test is required as part of the admission application to ETEP and both are currently available.  The Praxis Core is similar to Praxis I but has 2 essays (not just 1) and may have constructed responses incorporated instead of just multiple choice.

The computer-based version of either test is offered at most Prometrics Centers (a.k.a.Sylvan Learning Center) throughout the U.S. Locally, South Portland has a site. The advantage of the computer-based version is that a student receives math and reading scores immediately after completing the test (the writing score takes several weeks.).

You can register for either test by going to www.ets.org/praxis/register or by calling 1-800-772-9476.  The dates that the test is offered should also be posted on the website.  The Praxis Core test has limited dates in 2014.  There is no plan to introduce a paper-based Core.

*Special Note:  If a candidate has already taken the Praxis I or plans to do so by August 31, 2014, USM and the Maine Dept. of Education will accept the results of this test until August 31, 2018.

How difficult is the Praxis I?
Both the Praxis I test and the Core include three timed subtests: reading comprehension, writing and math. The writing component includes multiple choice grammar questions as well as a written essay. The Core actually requires two essays, one argumentative and one informative/explanatory. The math section includes basic numeracy, fractions, decimals, percents, word problems, basic geometry and algebra. Higher level math is not included. In the Core, there will likely be some constructed response answers required, not just the usual multiple choice. Both tests are similar to SAT tests taken for college admissions. They are basic knowledge tests developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

There are lots of books available to help a prospective student prepare for the Praxis I or the Core exam. Various publishers create such books which are available through most chain bookstores. Also, the ETS offers e-books online through their website: www.ets.org/praxis

How much does ETEP cost?
The in-state tuition rate for 2013-2014 is $380 per credit. There are also fees for such items as parking, health services, courses, and enrollment. These can add up to $625 or more per semester. So, ETEP costs about $13,790 for the 33 crediths whether one opts for the 9-month or 13-month option. You also need to consider transportation, daycare (if applicable), and book costs, etc. Visit the USM Student Billing webpage to see the most up-to-date costs for tuition and fees.

Is financial aid available?
Yes! At the graduate level, part-time (at least six credits per semester) to full-time students are eligible for loans and scholarships. There are many scholarships available both within the University and within the State of Maine for those who pursue teaching. And, some loans may be forgivable for those who teach in a shortage subject area or a low income school. Once a year, USM hosts a financial aid night for ETEP applicants in early December that can help you plan your academic finances for the year. For more information on scholarships visit http://usm.maine.edu/sehd. For more information about financial aid at USM visit http://www.usm.maine.edu/fin

Can I have a graduate assistantship while I'm in ETEP?
For those students in the 13-month option, it may be possible to work as a graduate assistant. A typical graduate assistant position is ten hours per week. You receive a monthly stipend and a possible tuition waiver. For more information visit:  http://usm.maine.edu/sehd/financial-aid.

Can I work while I'm in ETEP?
The only option in which a job is possible is the 13-month one. The 13-month option is compatible an an ed. tech. position. If the job is non-education related, then the work schedule needs to be part-time and flexible enough to accommodate an internship.  The 9-month option is an intensive, full-time one, and there is little time for outside work.

How do I register for classes?
Since all ETEP class numbers are not disclosed to the general public, you will not find them by doing a "Course Search." You will, however, be notified by the Teacher Education Office at registration time about which classes to register for. You then go to Maine Street and your "Student Services Center" to register. If you have difficulty registering, please contact Jennifer Camire, Administrative Specialist for the Teacher Education Department, either by phone at 780-5456 or by email (preferred) at jcamire@usm.maine.edu.

Can I take classes for ETEP ahead of time?
Generally, this is discouraged. All options in ETEP are self-contained and mandate a certain number of credits. Moreover, coursework is closely connected to the internship and seminar and is taken with a specific cohort. If a student has a recent course that is equivalent of SED 540 (Exceptionality) - which is the only course that could be transferred in to USM, the student needs to choose another course in its place, in consultation with a faculty advisor. Therefore, it is not in your best interest to take any courses ahead of time.

Will USM help me get a job?
USM does not do job placement. Each spring ETEP holds an information session on applying for a teaching position in the K-12 schools. We invite local superintendents and principals to come to talk with you about what they are looking for in a teacher candidate. For more information on teaching jobs available in Maine visit: www.servingschools.com

What is the job market like for certified teachers?

The job opportunities depend on individual districts, disciplines, time of year, and certification area. In general, if an individual is a "certified" "highly qualified teacher," he or she is in a stronger position than all others. Non-certified, non-highly qualified teachers have a difficult time being considered in most disciplines. Individual profiles can be found on the Maine Department of Labor: http://www.maine.gov/labor/cwri/

What is the starting salary for teachers in Maine?
By law beginning in 2007-2008, the minimum starting salary for all beginning teachers in Maine is $30,000. All districts must start at that level but then they have individual negotiation abilities after that. All districts and school's salary steps are public information. Most, if not all, districts have this information on their individual web sites.