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Massachusetts Teacher Certification

In Massachusetts, prospective educators can apply for a license even if they have not yet completed all of the requirements for becoming a teacher. Candidates are encouraged to submit applications for licensure as soon as they know what license they would like to obtain. Applying earlier means the application gets evaluated sooner. If someone has not completely satisfied all requirements at the time the application is evaluated, the Department of Education will send the applicant details about any incomplete requirements and how they can be satisfied. Massachusetts allows current and prospective teachers to complete most license-related transactions on the Internet.

  

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All Massachusetts teachers must have passed the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. These standardized tests were created to evaluate all educators seeking Pre-Kindergarten to grade 12 licenses. All educators in Massachusetts must also have at least a bachelor’s degree and will eventually need to complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program, or its equivalent.

The state of Massachusetts offers four major types of certification or license for academic and arts teachers, no matter what grade level or subject an educator wishes to teach. Within each certification category, there are specific requirements for different grade levels and subject areas. The License types are:

Preliminary License

  • The Preliminary license is issued to a successful applicant who:
  • Holds a bachelor's degree, has passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and has met other eligibility requirements established by the Board of Education

        but

  • Who has not yet completed an Approved Educator Preparation Program. The Preliminary License is valid for five years of employment.
  • Academic and Arts teachers seeking a Preliminary License for Elementary grades1-6 are required to meet additional eligibility requirements, including the following:
  • Achieve passing scores on exams testing skills and knowledge in General Curriculum, Literacy and Communication Skills, Foundations of Reading and math.
  •  Enroll in and complete seminars or courses that address the teaching of:
        • Reading
        • English Language Arts
        • Mathematics

Humanities teachers seeking a Preliminary License for Middle school grades 5-8 are required to meet additional eligibility requirements, including the following:

  • Achieve passing scores on the Communication and Literacy Skills test, the Middle School Humanities subject matter test, on the History subject matter test and on the English subject matter test.
  • Math and Science teachers seeking a Preliminary License for Middle School grades 5-8 are required to meet additional eligibility requirements, including:
  • Achieve a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test, a passing score on the Middle School Mathematics and Science subject matter test, as well as on the Mathematics subject matter test and the General Science subject matter test.

Initial License

An Initial License is issued to a person who holds a bachelor's degree and who has passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), completed an approved Educator Preparation Program and met other eligibility requirements established by the Board of Education. The Initial License is valid for five years of employment and may be extended for an additional five years.

Academic and Arts teachers who are seeking an Initial License for Elementary grades 1-6 are required to meet these additional eligibility requirements:

Possess a Massachusetts Preliminary license for this field and grade level.

Achieve a passing score on the General Curriculum mathematics subtest and on the Elementary Mathematics subject matter test or on the Middle School Mathematics subject matter test.

Humanities teachers seeking an Initial License for Middle School, 5-8 are required to meet additional eligibility requirements. Examples of these requirements include:

  • Achieve passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test, the History subject matter test, the English subject matter test and/or the Middle School Humanities subject matter test.
  • Complete a Massachusetts-approved Education Preparation Program for Middle School Humanities 5-8.
  • Possession of a valid license or certificate issued by a state with which Massachusetts has signed the Interstate Contract and three years of employment within the last seven years under this valid license or certificate.
  • Completion of a state-approved Educator Preparation Program applicable to the license sought in a state with which Massachusetts has signed Interstate Contract.

Mathematics Teachers Seeking an Initial License for Middle School 5-8 are required to meet additional eligibility requirements. Some examples are:

  • Possession of a Massachusetts Preliminary license for this field and at this grade level.
  • Completion of a Massachusetts Middle School Mathematics/Science 5-8 Approved Educator Preparation Program.
  • Achieve a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test, the Middle School Mathematics/Science subject matter test, the Middle School Mathematics subject matter test and/or the General Science subject matter test.
  • Possession of an applicable and current license/certificate issued by a state with which Massachusetts has signed an Interstate Contract and three years of employment within the last seven years under this valid license or certificate.
  • Completion of a state-approved Educator Preparation Program applicable to the license sought in a state with which Massachusetts has signed an Interstate Contract.

Professional License

A Professional License is issued to a person who has worked under their Initial Massachusetts license for three full years, completed a Performance Assessment Program or an appropriate master's degree program, and met requirements established by the Board. The Professional license is valid for five calendar years and renewable for additional five-year terms.

Alternative Licensing

Alternative/practice-based educator preparation programs are state-approved, accelerated, stand-alone licensure, non-degree programs that lead to a Massachusetts Initial or Professional license. Some teachers who follow this path are seeking Initial and Professional licenses in areas of high need, such as mathematics, science, reading specialist, elementary education and special education.