Office of Educator Licensure

Advancing, Extending, or Renewing a License

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions related to advancing, extending, or renewing a license. Additional information, including how to advance, extend, or renew a license, can be found on our Advancing, Extending, or Renewing a License page.

How long will the renewal of a professional license take?
ELAR, our online application system, enables you to apply for renewal and make your payment online; so, the processing turn-around time is immediate once your payment is approved. If you send your application and/or payment by mail, it may take an additional week or more to process.

May I extend my Initial license?
An Initial license may be extended one time only for an additional 5 years of employment if the educator has not yet satisfied the requirements necessary to advance to the Professional level license. An application for the Initial-Extension license must be submitted, along with a school or district employment letter verifying five years of employment under your license and a signed plan statement.

May I extend or re-apply for a Provisional license that has expired?
No. Educators are not able to extend or re-apply for the same Academic Provisional license.

I have multiple Professional-level licenses with different expiration dates. May I renew the licenses at the same time?
In order to renew multiple licenses at the same time, you may have to let one or more licenses become Inactive until all licenses are on the same renewal cycle. In such cases, it is important to note the following:

  • You cannot let the license under which you are employed expire.
  • You cannot renew an "additional" license unless you hold an active 'Primary' license that is not within one year of its renewal date.
  • A license must be 'Active' for at least four years before it can be renewed, i.e., the license cannot be renewed until one year prior to the expiration date.

Activities older than five years from the date of the Renewal application may not be counted.

I am a retired educator. Am I required to meet the renewal regulations to make or keep my Professional license 'active?'
Yes, all educators must renew every five calendar years to keep a Professional license 'active.'

I was originally issued a "Standard" certification (now called a Professional license) that indicates it is valid for life. Does renewal of a Professional license apply to me?
Yes. Since the Education Reform Act, all educators must renew a Professional license every five (5) calendar years in order to keep it 'active.'

May a variety of professional development activities in one topic be used to satisfy the 10-hour-in-a-topic PDP minimum requirement?
Combining (bundling) professional development activities in one topic may be used to satisfy the 10-hour-in-a-topic minimum requirement for renewal. Note that districts will need to maintain reasonable documentation and award PDPs after an observable demonstration of learning. For example, a middle school mathematics teacher could participate in a six-hour, district-based professional development program focused on algebraic structures, then attend a four-hour session on teaching algebraic structures at a statewide workshop, and subsequently develop a new curriculum unit on algebraic structures for use as a district guide. The new curriculum unit would also serve as a demonstration of learning. In this example, the district may award the educator twenty-five PDPs in content (six PDPs for the district-based professional development program, four PDPs for the statewide workshop, and fifteen for the new curriculum unit).

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


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