Massachusetts state law requires that all educator roles that require licensure within a Chapter 74 program are filled with educators who hold the appropriate Massachusetts educator license. However, if a school district has been unable to hire a licensed and qualified educator for a position, they have the option of applying for a hardship waiver. The hardship waiver permits employment of an educator who does not currently hold the appropriate license but who the district believes has the experience and knowledge to be successful in the role of the license. The Department will grant a hardship waiver only when a district can demonstrate that a good faith effort has been made to find an appropriately licensed educator and it is granted on the assumption that the educator will complete the steps to earn the license.
Q: How long is a waiver valid?
A: A hardship waiver is valid for the school year in which it was requested. All granted waivers and open waiver applications will expire on June 30th of that school year.
For example, if a district applies for a waiver on December 15, 2018 and it is approved on January 4, 2019, then the waiver will expire on June 30, 2019.
Q: Can a waiver be transferred between school districts? Educators?
A: No. When a waiver is issued, it is only valid for the applying school district, for the specific educator listed and for the field granted. A waiver is not transferable to another district or to another educator for the same role.
Q: Can an educator apply for a Licensure Hardship Waiver?
A: No. Only a school district may apply for a waiver.
Q: When can the district apply for a waiver?
A: A district can apply for a waiver for the upcoming school year beginning on April 1st and ending on June 30th of that school year. For example, if a district wanted to apply for a waiver for the 2020/21 school year, they may apply as early as April 1, 2020 and as late as June 30, 2021.
When a district submits a waiver request, the ELAR system assumes that the waiver is for the current school year unless they are applying between April 1st and June 30th. If a district applies during this three-month window, they must select if the waiver they are requesting is for the current school year or for the following school year. For example, if a district applies for a waiver on May 15, 2020, they will need to select if the waiver is for the 2019/20 school year OR the 2020/21 school year. For another example, if a district applies for a waiver on August 20th, 2020, the ELAR system will automatically record the waiver as one for the 2020/21 school year.
Q: What is required for a Vocational Licensure Hardship waiver to be granted?
A: The requirements for a waiver to be approved can be broken into two halves: The Responsibilities of the District requesting the waiver; and the Responsibilities of the Applicant
Q: What happens when a waiver is granted?
A: Upon verification that all components of an application and applicant requirements have been met, the waiver is granted. Both the district and the educator are sent a letter informing them of the approval. The educator is then eligible to work in the role of the license for the school year.
Q: What happens if a waiver application is reviewed and not granted?
A: If a waiver application is unable to be granted, a letter will be sent to the school district detailing the reasons why. Districts should note that this does not mean the waiver can't eventually be approved. Waiver applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Districts may submit the additional information and the Licensure Office will re-evaluate the application.
Q: What happens when a waiver expires?
A: Ideally, the educator will have completed all outstanding licensure requirements by the end of the school year. This allows the license to be issued and the educator may begin working under said license. However, if an educator has not completed all requirements for the license by the end of the school year, the employing school district may apply for an additional year waiver if they so choose.
Q: What is needed for an additional year waiver to be granted?
A: The requirements for an additional year waiver can be broken into two halves: the Responsibilities of the District requesting the waiver and the Responsibilities of the Applicant
Q: Can the district resubmit first-year waiver documentation for additional year waivers?
A: No. If a district is applying for additional year waivers, they must repost the position for the new school year and provide all necessary information based off the new posting.
Last Updated: November 10, 2020
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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TTY: (800) 439-2370
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