Vocational Technical Education
Educators, including teachers, support personnel, and administrators are required to hold a license issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in order to be eligible to teach in the Massachusetts Public Schools. For thorough and specific information about the license you wish to obtain, you can search for potential pathways and requirements using the Licensure Requirements Tool.
Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL):
As of September 1, 2014, educators seeking their first Initial Vocational Technical Principal/Assistant Principal license are required to complete the Performance Assessment for Leaders (MA-PAL). Individuals who applied for and completed all requirements for the Vocational Technical Principal/Assistant Principal license prior to September 1, 2014, would not need to complete the PAL as a requirement for that license.
Types of Licenses
The Vocational Education Teacher licenses have two stages, Preliminary and Professional. Possession of either license makes an educator eligible for employment in a Vocational Technical Education setting in the state of Massachusetts; however, an educator must earn a Preliminary license before they may advance to a Professional license.
Preliminary Vocational Technical Teacher license - valid for 5 years.
To earn a Preliminary Vocational Technical Teacher license:
- You must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. (For certain fields, a college degree is required.)
- You must document the required number of years of experience working in the field of the license. (Number of years varies, depending on license field).
- For certain fields you must possess an occupational license or certification.
- Achieve a passing score of at least 70% on both the written and the performance vocational subject matter test
- You must complete one of the following:
- Achieve a passing score on the Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test (VTLST)
- Achieve a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills Test
Professional Vocational Technical Teacher License - renewed every 5 years.
To advance from a Preliminary License to a Professional license:
- You must work for at least 3 years as a Vocational teacher under a valid Preliminary license
- You must complete a school district sponsored one-year induction program
- For licenses that require either an occupational license or certification, you must maintain such a license/certification
- You must have completed 39 college degree credits that includes:
- 18 academic college credits in English, mathematics and science
- 21 professional education credits from courses designated by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
In order to begin work as an administrator in a vocational education setting you must possess a Vocational Technical Administrator license. These licenses come in two stages, Initial and Professional. An administrator must earn their Initial license before they are able to advance to the Professional stage.
Administrator licenses (Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent and Principal/Assistant Principal):
Initial Vocational Technical Administrator license - valid for 5 years
To earn an Initial Vocational Technical Administrator license:
- You must possess a Bachelor's degree
- You must achieve a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills test
- You must have completed at least three full years of employment in an executive management/leadership role or in a supervisory, teaching, or administrative role in a public school, private school, higher education, or other educational setting accepted by the Department.
- You must have completed at least three full years of employment in vocational technical education, career and technical education or workforce training acceptable to the Department of Education
- You must complete one of the following:
- An Administrative Apprenticeship/Internship in the role of the license with a trained mentor, using Department guidelines
- An approved post-baccalaureate program of studies including a supervised practicum/practicum equivalent in the role of the license
- A Panel Review and recommendation for licensure using department guidelines.
- For those applying for VocTech Superintendent/Assistant Super, you must possess at least an Initial license under 603 CMR 4.00 or 7.00 in another educational role or the Preliminary Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent license under 603 CMR 7.00
- For those applying for VocTech Principal/Assistant Principal, you must complete the Performance Assessment for Leaders (PAL)
Professional Vocational Technical Administrator license - renewed every 5 years
To advance to a Professional Vocational Technical Administrator license:
- You must have completed at least 3 years working under the Vocational Administrator license at the Initial level.
- You must complete a one-year induction program with a trained mentor as a part of your first year working under the Initial license.
The Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system allows current and prospective Massachusetts educators to complete most licensure related transactions on the Internet. Within ELAR, individuals may apply for new licenses, renew Professional licenses, check licensure status, edit personal information, post resumes, locate job openings, and more.
Forms / Templates
Vocational Licensure Application Package
Credit Card Authorization Form
Renewal of License Application
MA Voc Tech Educator Individual Professional Development Plan - PDP Folder
Course Substitution for Professional Vocational Technical Teacher License
Extension of a Preliminary Vocational Educator License
Verification of Preliminary Vocational Licensure Employment Experience
Verification of Preliminary Vocational Licensure Self-Employment Experience
Vocational Technical Literacy Skills Test
Written & Performance Subject Area Tests
Chapter 74 Guide for Preliminary Vocational Technical Teacher Licensure
Chapter 74 Guide for Professional Vocational Technical Teacher Licensure
Chapter 74 Guide for Vocational Technical Administrator and Cooperative Education Coordinator Licensure
Chapter 74 Guide for Professional Vocational Technical Educator License Renewal