Most Recently Amended by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education: June 27, 2023
(1) Previous Employment. Previous employment in any role covered by the licenses issued under 603 CMR 7.00 does not exempt a candidate from the provisions of 603 CMR 7.00, except for school librarians, teachers of young children with disabilities, school business administrators and school nurses as specified in 603 CMR 7.15 (9).
(2) Additional Licenses. Licensed educators may earn additional licenses as follows:
(c) New Field and Level. Teachers holding an Initial or Professional license in one field may earn a license of the same type in a new field and a new grade level by meeting the requirements set forth in 603 CMR 7.15 (2) (a) and (b) 1.
(d) New Provisional license in Special Education. Teachers holding an Initial or Professional license in any field and who have at least two years of experience modifying curriculum for students with disabilities, may obtain a provisional license in teacher of students with moderate disabilities and teacher of students with severe disabilities as follows:
(e) New Provisional licenses in English as a Second Language. Teachers holding an Initial or Professional license in any field who have at least two years of experience in second language acquisition and sheltering content for English learners may earn a provisional license in English as a Second Language by achieving a passing score on the English as a Second Language test.
(3) Additional Licenses for Administrators. Licensed administrators may earn additional administrator licenses by passing the Communication and Literacy Skills test and meeting other requirements as follows:
(4) Prerequisite Licenses. The requirement that an applicant for licensure hold a Massachusetts educator license may be waived for an applicant who has earned an equivalent license based on the same level of preparation in another state or jurisdiction.
(5) Extension of an Initial License.
(a) An educator may request to extend an Initial license one time for an additional five years of employment. The decision of the Commissioner shall be final.
(6) Commissioner's Determination. The Commissioner, for good cause, may determine which specific requirements for licensure set forth in 603 CMR 7.04, 7.05, 7.06, 7.07, 7.09, 7.11, and 7.15(2) and (3) shall apply and/or be modified for applicants who have submitted evidence that they have either substantially met the requirements for licensure prior to a change in the regulations or that they would have met the requirements but were unable to do so because of extreme hardship. No modification of the requirements will be granted without satisfactory evidence that the applicant has made a good faith effort to complete the requirements for licensure. The Commissioner, at his discretion, may impose reasonable conditions upon any modification granted. The decision of the Commissioner shall be final.
(7) Reconsideration. An applicant for licensure may request that the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education reconsider the Department's decision not to issue a license. The applicant shall submit a written request for reconsideration to the Commissioner within 30 days of the date that the applicant received notice that his or her application for license has been denied. The decision of the Commissioner shall be final.
(8) License Actions.
(c) Surrender. A license holder may surrender a license by submitting documentation to the Commissioner in an approved manner. If a license holder surrenders a license after the Department has found probable cause to impose a sanction, the surrender will be treated as a revocation unless the Commissioner determines another disposition is warranted.
(e) Notice of License Action. The Department sends notice of educator license sanctions to appropriate entities including, but not limited to, superintendents of Massachusetts schools, heads of charter and virtual schools, and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification.
(g) Administrators' Obligation to Report and Produce Documents. Any administrator who has dismissed, declined to renew the employment of, or obtained the resignation of any educator for any of the reasons cited in 603 CMR 7.15 (8) (a) shall report in writing such resignation or dismissal and the reason therefore to the Commissioner within 30 days. This obligation to report also applies when an administrator acquires relevant information after an educator's dismissal, resignation, or non-renewal. Upon request, administrators shall provide the Department with all relevant information and documents requested in connection with an investigation. Failure to make the required reports or to provide requested information or documents shall be grounds on which the Commissioner may impose discipline on the administrator's license.
(h) License Holder's or Applicant's Obligation to Report. Any license holder or applicant for a license who has been convicted of a crime in a court of law shall notify the Commissioner of such conviction in writing within ten days of the conviction. The term "convicted of a crime" shall include any guilty verdict, admission to or finding of sufficient facts, and any plea of guilty or nolo contendere, whether or not a sentence has been imposed. Any license holder or applicant for a license who is the subject of an enforcement action by the Massachusetts Ethics Commission shall notify the Commissioner of such action in writing within ten days of such action. Any license holder or applicant for a license who has surrendered an educator license or any other license or certificate to practice any profession or who has had any license or certificate revoked, suspended, or limited in any jurisdiction or by any agency shall notify the Commissioner of such action in writing within ten days of such action. Failure to do so shall be grounds on which the Commissioner may revoke the holder's license or deny an application for licensure.
(i) Records. Nothing herein shall be construed to require the Department to disclose, under the Massachusetts public records law M.G.L. c. 66, § 10 and M.G.L. c. 4, § 7 clause Twenty-sixth, any information, documents, or evidence sought by or provided to the Commissioner pursuant to his responsibilities under 603 CMR 7.15 (8) until final disposition of the matter. Any personnel information provided by an administrator pursuant to 603 CMR 7.15(8)(g) shall be considered personnel information within the meaning of M.G.L. c. 4, § 7 clause Twenty-sixth(c).
(j) License Denial. The Commissioner may deny an applicant's application for a license for the reasons set forth above and for reasons enumerated in 603 CMR 7.00. If the Commissioner denies an application for a license, an applicant may request reconsideration by the Commissioner under 603 CMR 7.15 (7) in the manner determined by the Commissioner.
(9) General Provisions for Employment.
(a) Legal Employment. To be eligible for employment by a school district in any position covered by a license issued under 603 CMR 7.00, a person must have been granted a license by the Commissioner that is appropriate for the role. A person holding a license may be employed for a maximum of 20% of his or her time in a role or at a level for which he or she does not hold a license. In addition, as a result of the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, during the 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 school years, a person holding a license may be employed for a maximum of 50% of his or her time in a role or at a level for which the individual does not hold a license, except in a role requiring any of the following licenses: Teacher of Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Severe Disabilities, Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ASL/TC), Teacher of Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Oral/Aural), Teacher of Visually Impaired, Teacher of Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders, school nurse, or English as a Second Language. Assignment outside the educator's license up to 50% of the time during the 2020-2021, 2021- 2022, and 2022-2023 school years shall not prevent the 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 school years from being counted as service toward Professional Teacher Status.
(d) District Requirements. Nothing in 603 CMR 7.00 shall be construed to prevent a school district from prescribing additional qualifications beyond those established in 603 CMR 7.00.
(e) Provisional Licenses. Persons holding Provisional licenses are permitted to seek employment in teaching positions requiring licensure in school districts that have an approved program of preparation for the Initial license.
(10) Exemptions. The following are exempted from the provisions of G. L. c. 71, § 38G or M. G. L. c. 71A, § 6, which require the possession of an educator license:
(a) All those exempted by statute or regulation, including but not limited to temporary substitute teachers and exchange teachers;
(b) Any person legally employed as an intern;
(c) Any trade and vocational instructor, supervisor, school counselor or director, or administrator (except school business administrators employed on or after September 1, 1980) in vocational programs approved by the Commissioner under the provisions of M. G. L. c. 74;
(d) Any trade and vocational school business administrator employed prior to September 1, 1980, as the chief fiscal officer of a school committee responsible for vocational programs.
(e) Any school nurse employed by a school district on or before June 18, 1993.
(f) Any school librarian employed by a school district prior to May 2, 1960.
(g) Any teacher employed by a school district to teach young children with disabilities prior to May 11, 1978.
(11) Role. The role covered by each license is defined by the title and requirements of the license. Superintendents and principals intending to employ an educator in a role not obviously defined by an existing license must determine the most appropriate license set forth in 603 CMR 7.00 or 603 CMR 4.00 by comparing the actual duties and responsibilities of that role with the license requirements.
(12) Public Record. Each school district shall maintain as a public record, in a central location or in each school, a list of all staff members whose employment is governed by 603 CMR 7.00, indicating the role in which each is employed and the credential that authorizes such employment.
(13) Hardship Waivers and Critical Shortage.
(a) The Commissioner may exempt a district for any one school year from the requirement to employ licensed or certified personnel in accordance with M. G. L. c. 71 § 38G. The Commissioner may deem a district to have a great hardship in securing licensed or certified personnel for the purposes of M. G. L. c. 71 § 38G upon request of a superintendent and demonstration to the Commissioner that the district has made a good-faith effort to hire licensed or certified personnel, and has been unable to find a licensed or certified candidate who is qualified for the position. Persons employed under waivers must demonstrate that they meet minimum requirements as established by the Department and are making continuous progress toward meeting the requirements for licensure or certification in the field in which they are employed. During the time that a waiver is in effect, service of an employee of a school district to whom the waiver applies shall not be counted as service in acquiring professional teacher status or other rights under M. G. L. c. 71, § 41.
(b) The Commissioner may deem a district to have a critical shortage of licensed or certified teachers for the purposes of M. G. L. c. 32 § 91 (e) upon request of a superintendent and demonstration that the district has made a good-faith effort to hire personnel who have not retired under M.G.L. c. 32 and has been unable to find them. A district deemed to have a critical shortage of licensed or certified teachers for the purposes of M. G. L. c. 32 § 91 (e) may employ retired teachers subject to all laws, rules, and regulations governing the employment of teachers. The period of a determination of a critical shortage of licensed or certified teachers shall not exceed one year, but a district may seek to invoke this provision in consecutive years upon a new demonstration of a good-faith effort to hire personnel who have not retired. The Commissioner shall notify the Teachers' Retirement Board of each determination of a critical shortage made for the purposes of M. G. L. c. 32 § 91 (e).
(c) In each instance when, after a good-faith effort, a district is unable to hire a licensed or certified teacher who has not retired under M. G. L. c. 32, the superintendent of the district has discretion to choose whether to seek a waiver, pursuant to 603 CMR 7.14 (13) (a) or to seek a determination of a critical shortage, pursuant to 603 CMR 7.14 (13) (b).
(d) The Commissioner may issue a waiver to a school district, including a charter school and an educational collaborative, from the educator qualification requirements in 603 CMR 7.15(9)(c)1.a, upon request of the superintendent or charter school leader and demonstration that the district, charter school or educational collaborative has made a good faith effort to hire personnel with the Bilingual Education Endorsement, and has been unable to find a candidate with the Bilingual Education Endorsement who is qualified for the position. Provided that the submission requirements in 603 CMR 14.04(4) shall continue to apply to any district or charter school that intends to offer a new Sheltered English Immersion or alternative English learner education program and that applies for a waiver under this subsection. Starting July 1, 2019, persons employed under a waiver must demonstrate that they meet the requirement in 603 CMR 7.14(3)(a)1 and any other requirements established by the Department. The waiver shall be valid for a period of one school year, and may be renewed at the Commissioner's discretion.
(a) Between March 7, 2009 and June 30, 2012, candidates for the following provisional or initial licenses who earn a scaled score of at least 227–239 on the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test: Elementary, Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and Teacher of the Visually Impaired, will be deemed to have passed the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test. All candidates who are licensed under this provision must earn a scaled score of 240 or above on the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test in order to be eligible for the next stage of licensure or to extend their initial license.
(b) Individuals who apply and complete all requirements for licensure as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities prior to August 31, 2012, may qualify for an initial or provisional license by meeting the requirements under 603 CMR 7.06 (25) in effect prior to July 1, 2011.
(c) Individuals who apply and complete all requirements for licensure as a Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities prior to August 31, 2012, may qualify for an initial or provisional license by meeting the requirements under 603 CMR 7.06 (26) in effect prior to July 1, 2011.
(d) Individuals who apply and complete all requirements for Administrator licensure as set forth in 603 CMR 7.09 by December 31, 2013, may qualify for a license by meeting requirements under 603 CMR 7.09 and 7.10 in effect prior to January 1, 2012.
(e) Individuals who apply and complete all requirements for Initial licensure prior to July 1, 2014, may qualify for that license by meeting the requirements under 603 CMR 7.00 in effect prior to August 1, 2012.
(f) Individuals who apply and complete all requirements for Teacher licensure prior to July 1, 2016, may qualify for a license by meeting the requirements under 603 CMR 7.08 in effect prior to February 1, 2014.
(g) Starting on July 1, 2019, individuals who hold more than one provisional license will have no more than five total years of prospective employment under the provisional licenses.
(h) Individuals who apply and complete all requirements to licensure prior to July 1, 2019, may qualify for that license by meeting the requirements under 603 CMR 7.00 in effect prior to June 27, 2017.
(i) Individuals who apply no later than March 17, 2023 and complete all licensure requirements no later than March 17, 2025, may qualify for that license by meeting the requirements under 603 CMR 7.00 that were in effect on February 1, 2023.
M.G.L. c. 69, § 1B; c. 69, §§ 1J and 1K, as amended by St. 2010; c. 12, § 3; c. 71, § 38G, as amended by St. 2022, c. 154, § 10; c. 71, 38G ½; c. 71A, § 10; c. 76, § 19.
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Last Updated: July 17, 2023
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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