Find an Education Path For Teaching in Massachusetts, MA

Once the decision has been made to become a teacher, the level of education completed determines the next steps.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

Look over the information below and discover steps you should take to become a teacher in Massachusetts.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

Having a high school diploma or a GED opens doors to many institutions of higher learning that can lead you to a teaching career in Massachusetts. Bachelor’s degree programs typically require applicants to be high school graduates or to have earned a GED.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, child development, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. The Massachusetts Department of Education recommends that, once you decide what and who you want to teach, the next step is to enroll in a four-year college and earn a Bachelor in Education degree, with a major in the subject area and grade level you have chosen.
  4. Aspiring teachers can enroll at a two-year or community college and earn an Associate degree or certification in the field of Early Childhood Education.
  5. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help with making a decision about which school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Attending a community college and earning an Associate’s degree is a valuable step toward becoming a teacher in Massachusetts. Taking community college classes before entering a Bachelor’s degree program may provide some necessary prerequisites for courses in the four-year program.

  1. Many community college credits can be transferred to public and independent four-year colleges and universities, where students can complete a Bachelor’s degree. A Bachelor’s degree is required of all applicants seeking a Massachusetts teaching license or certificate.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Transferable credits or your Associate degree may qualify you to enter a four-year college as a Junior. Pursuing and earning a Bachelor’s degree in Education is a major step towards a teaching credential. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. Attending a Massachusetts community college or another two-year college is essential to earning an Associate degree. Associate degree programs in Early Childhood Education offer a combination of academic courses and internship experiences that prepare aspiring teachers for early childhood education careers. An associate degree may satisfy requirements for certification by the Massachusetts Office for Child Care Services.
  4. Some new educators, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to enter the work force directly and begin working with infants, toddlers and pre-school children. Graduates of these programs may be eligible for employment as assistants, paraprofessionals or teachers in childcare centers, preschools and Head Start classrooms.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution is essential to qualify for a Massachusetts Teaching Certificate. If you want to teach in Massachusetts and already have a Bachelor’s degree, the next steps toward teacher certification will often depend on your undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Sciences that included coursework applicable to early childhood, elementary or secondary education topics, you may have fulfilled many essential academic requirements necessary prior to applying for licensure in Massachusetts.
  2. If you want to become an elementary teacher, Massachusetts requires that you have a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences or in Liberal Arts from an accredited college or university. Many certification programs recommend this major, because it prepares educators for teaching in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  3. If you are interested in teaching middle school or high school, you will need to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Sciences with a major in the subject area(s) you plan to teach. Receiving a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Sciences degree in this subject may satisfy academic requirements recommended by accredited teacher preparation and credential programs.
  4. Prospective teachers, who have earned a bachelor’s degree, passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and met other eligibility requirements may qualify for a Preliminary license. This license is granted to teachers who have not yet completed an approved professional teacher preparation program.
  5. To advance to an Initial license, all applicants must complete a regionally accredited Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation program or a Master’s in Education degree that includes a Teacher Preparation Program. By exploring the different routes leading to licensure, you will discover which option satisfies your academic and career requirements.
    Prospective teachers must pass mandatory tests before applying for certification or licensing with the Massachusetts State Board of Education. The state’s official licensing exam is the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). All candidates for educator licensure in Massachusetts must pass the MTEL tests in Communication and Literacy Skills, General Curriculum test, Foundations of Reading and/or in the subject area they plan to teach.
  6. Once you have successfully completed all academic and experiential requirements and assessments, you are ready to begin the multi-phased application process that will lead to becoming a fully licensed Massachusetts educator.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or Are in a Master’s Degree Program

Master’s degrees in Education typically offer a course of study that includes an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, approved by the state of Massachusetts. If your Master’s degree major was not Education, a Teacher Preparation Program must be completed prior to applying for a teaching credential. You can move forward in a few different directions once you have a Master’s degree.

  1. Some universities in Massachusetts offer a Master of Arts in Education, which is blended with a Teaching Credential program. Master’s in Education degrees are also available with a variety of concentrations. A Teacher Preparation Program is integrated into some but not all Master’s in Education degrees, so look into available programs and contact universities that interest you.
  2. If you want to begin your teaching career shortly after completing coursework and mandatory teacher preparation, passing all required tests, and fulfilling student teaching requirements, the next step is to apply for your teaching certificate. Contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to request information and an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree. Massachusetts has a variety of Educational Doctoral Programs, so gather information to discover the best university and program for you.