Teacher Education FAQ

If you don’t see an answer to your question below, please contact the Office of Admissions.

Undergraduate Teacher Education

Our Undergraduate Teacher Education program offers:

  • An Elementary Education major that leads to a Bachelor of Science and certification to teach grades K-6.
  • Secondary Teacher Education Pathways that lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science and certification to teach grades 6-12, or world languages to K-12.
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  • Field experience begins with classroom observation during your first year and continues during your second and third years.
  • Your final year includes a year-long student teaching internship, during which you’ll gain experience in two different schools and/or grade levels.
  • As a student in an Elementary Education Major (K-6), you’ll select an area of concentration from the list of content areas below:
    • English
    • Geography-Anthropology/Social Studies
    • History/Social Studies
    • Liberal Studies: Humanities
    • Math
    • Science
  • Review your options for majors.
  • Ask yourself:
    • What subject am I most interested in?
    • What topics make me excited about teaching in the future?
  • If you’d like to teach a world language, you can major in either French or Spanish Linguistics and graduate with a qualification to teach grades K-12.

The University offers majors in Art Education and Music Education that lead to K-12 teacher certification. Please note that these programs are offered separately from our undergraduate teacher education program. Learn more about Art and Music Teacher Education.

  • Students are responsible for arranging transportation to field experiences and student teaching internships. Students traveling to schools in Portland, Westbrook, and Gorham can make use of the METRO Husky Line, which provides free USM student transportation 7 days-per-week, year-round.
  • Many students also arrange group carpools for transportation to field experiences and student teaching.
  • Full-time students can complete the Elementary Education major or the Secondary Teacher Education Pathways and earn their degree in approximately four years if they begin as a first-year student and take the recommended 15 credits per semester.
  • The Elementary Education major includes 120 required credits. Required credits include your teacher preparation courses, the courses for your major, USM’s Core Curriculum requirements, and your student teaching internship.
    • This is the typical number of credits for an undergraduate degree.

Our current students who are interested in teaching should contact Christen Eaton, Academic Advisor, or connect with their professional advisor, for information about our Undergraduate Teacher Education Major and Pathways.

We welcome students who would like to transfer to the University! Our Office of Admissions would love to answer any questions you have about the transfer process. We can also offer an unofficial transcript evaluation to identify the best way to use the credits you’ve already earned.

Call us: 1-800-800-4USM
or (207) 780-5670
TTY (207) 780-5646

Email us: admitusm@maine.edu

You can also learn more about transferring to USM.

You may consider our graduate level Teaching and Learning — Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP) (MSEd) program, which allows students who already hold a bachelor’s degree to earn their Teaching Certification in as little as 9 months or up to 2 years. Learn more about the ETEP program.

Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP)

The Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP) at the University of Southern Maine (USM) is a nationally accredited and state-approved teacher preparation program that leads to teacher certification (K-6 or 6-12) and a master’s degree.

  • Academic strength — Applicants demonstrate this through:
    • Performance during the completion of an undergraduate degree in an appropriate academic discipline.
    • Strong written and oral communication skills demonstrated through the application and interview process.
  • Prior experiences working with children and/or adolescents — In instructional situations where they have developed a learning-centered educational philosophy.
  • Leadership qualities — such as:
    • Self-knowledge
    • Maturity
    • Sensitivity to others
    • The ability to adapt to, and learn from, new and challenging situations
  • You will select your specific certification area as part of the application process.
  • You must submit proof of academic course credit relevant to your intended certification area.
    • This includes a bachelor’s degree and 24 credits specific to the content you intend to teach.

Learn more about academic preparation for your intended certification area.

  • Contact our Academic Advisor to discuss your preferences and options, and to have an unofficial transcript analysis completed. The transcript analysis will determine which certification area(s) you are best qualified for.
  • To teach middle school 6-8 grades you will need to complete the secondary teacher education program that requires 24 credit hours in a content area from your undergraduate degree.

Yes. Graduate students who meet enrollment requirements are eligible for loans and scholarships.

  • Costs and Financial Aid: Review information about our tuition, the FAFSA, and financial aid.
    • We’re happy to announce, starting Fall 2022, out of state ETEP candidates will qualify for in-state tuition.
  • Scholarships: There are opportunities offered through the Office of Graduate Studies as well as specific opportunities for graduate students studying in the School of Education and Human Development. We encourage students to apply for both types of scholarships.
  • External Resources

Students studying in our 2-Year Pathway often have time for Graduate Assistantships, which offer a stipend and possible tuition waiver. Learn more about Graduate Assistantships.

  • Students find it easier to maintain employment when they are enrolled in the 2-year pathway
    • Students in this pathway may remain employed on a part-time basis or on a flexible full-time schedule. Please contact our advisor to discuss these options.
    • Those employed as education technicians in their certification area may be able to maintain full-time employment for the first three semesters and possibly even the fourth. Please contact our advisor to discuss these options.
  • 9-Month Pathway: During this time-intensive program, typically students choose not to remain employed — either on a full-time or a part-time basis. Please contact our advisor to discuss what’s best for you.
  • Read about Our Program Options to learn more about our pathways and schedules.

For 2023-2024 students may be eligible for the Maine Teacher Residency, a congressionally funded grant program for teaching interns who are employed by a school district.

Generally, this is discouraged. Coursework is closely connected to the student-teaching internship, and one of our program benefits is the opportunity to progress through your courses along with your fellow cohort students.

  • Our strong partnerships with regional school districts offer our students the opportunity to gain experience in urban, suburban, and rural school settings.
  • We work with our students to place them in school districts that align with their location and career goals.
  • Applicants who are invited to interview with ETEP faculty for admission to the program will have an opportunity to express their interest in particular school settings, although placement in a particular district cannot be guaranteed.

Learn more about the student-teaching internship.

Courses are held on both our Gorham and Portland campuses in the afternoon and evening in the fall and after school in the spring, with some class meetings held online. Students enrolled in a particular certification area may also attend class meetings off campus.

  • While the University does not offer job placement services, ETEP offers several areas of career preparation including:
    • Resume and interview skill workshops
    • Job fairs
    • Alumni networking

Learn more about teaching jobs available in Maine.