Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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Requirements and Licensure

Teacher Requirements

Teachers are licensed professionals in the Commonwealth. In many cases the minimum requirements to obtain a teaching license are possession of a Bachelor's degree and passing scores on the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), although some licenses have additional requirements. In order to receive a formal evaluation to determine your specific requirements, you must apply for a license.

4 types of license:

  • Preliminary
  • Initial
  • Professional
  • Temporary

Preliminary: You can obtain a Preliminary license (valid for 5 years of employment) with the minimum requirements of having a bachelor's degree and passing the appropriate MTEL(s). This license allows you to teach while working towards completing an approved educator preparation program, which is required for an Initial license.

Initial: An Initial license is valid for 5 years of employment (with the option of extending it for 5 additional years) and requires the completion of an approved educator preparation program. There are several types of approved educator preparation programs available. If you do not hold a bachelor's degree, one option is for you to enroll in a traditional undergraduate (baccalaureate) approved program. You will earn a bachelor's degree and complete an approved preparation program for your Initial license.

If you already hold a bachelor's degree, you can either complete a traditional post-baccalaureate (master's) approved program, an approved alternative program, or for some license areas, the Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure. Completion of one of these programs will result in endorsement for an Initial license.

Professional: There are several options to obtain your Professional license including completion of a traditional post-baccalaureate (master's) approved program, completion of an approved alternative program, completion of a master's degree in the license content area, or obtaining National Board certification. If you already have a master's degree, you can complete an approved non-degree 12 credit program or 12 credits of graduate level courses in an academic discipline appropriate to the instructional field. In addition, teaching at least 3 years under your Initial license and completing a one-year induction program and 50 hours of mentoring, are also required to obtain a Professional license.

Temporary: If you are an experienced teacher from another state, you may be eligible for a Temporary license (valid for 1 calendar year). Teachers with at least three years of experience under a license equivalent to the Initial license may qualify for a Temporary license, which allows you to teach while completing any additional requirements for an Initial license.

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Last Updated: March 12, 2015

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