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Office of Educator Licensure

General Licensure Components & Requirements

Identify the educator license(s) for which you want to apply.

All Massachusetts educator licenses can be broken down into four components: category, field, grade level, and type. See the table below for example licenses:

Examples of Academic Licenses
Example # Category Field Grade Type
1 Academic: Teacher Biology 8-12 Provisional
2 Academic: Administrator Principal/Assistant Principal PreK-8 Initial
3 Academic: Specialist Teacher Reading All Levels Professional
4 Academic: Professional Support Personnel School Nurse All Levels Temporary


  • Category: One of three educator license groupings – Academic PreK-12 (applies to Teacher, Specialist Teacher, Professional Support Personnel, or Administrator), Adult Basic Education, or Vocational Technical Education.

  • Field: The license discipline or subject matter knowledge area within a category. For example, in the category Academic PreK-12 Teacher, possible fields include: biology, elementary, moderate disabilities, dance, etc. In the category Academic PreK-12 Professional Support Personnel, possible fields include: school guidance counselor, school nurse, etc.

  • Grade Level: The particular grade or range of grades for which a license is valid for employment. There are several possible grade level combinations, including, but not limited to: all, preK-8, and 8-12.

  • Type: There are four (4) kinds of Massachusetts educator license: Provisional , Temporary (for out-of-state applicants only), Initial, and Professional. Each type is valid for a specific period of time and requires either advancement (Temporary, Provisional, Initial) or renewal (Professional only) by the end of its allotted time period.

Identify the requirements of the educator license(s) for which you want to apply.

The type of license for which you should apply depends upon your educational background, experience, license(s) already held, whether you have taken and passed all required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), whether you have completed any required performance assessments (ex. PAL), and whether you hold the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsements (SEI) (if applicable).

Our Licensure Requirements Tool can help you identify the licensure requirements for a specific type of license.

Please note: When trying to determine which set of requirements apply to you keep these general rules in mind: If this is your first time applying for a particular license type (i.e., Provisional, Initial, Professional, and Temporary) or license category (i.e., teacher, specialist teacher, administrator, professional support personnel) you will most likely fall under a general requirements path.

Typically, if you are adding an additional license, you will look for the path indicating that you are an educator adding an additional license in a new field (e.g., English, mathematics, history) and/or grade level and choosing the path with the most current year.

If you are coming from another state and are applying for an Initial license, you would generally look for the path for educators qualifying for reciprocity.

Last Updated: September 30, 2018

Link to ELAR

Contact Us

Office of Educator Licensure
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
Fax: 781-338-3391

Licensure Call Center: 781-338-6600
Hours: Monday–Friday 9am–1pm & 2pm–5pm.

Walk-in Welcome Center Service Counter
Hours: Monday–Friday
8:45am – 4:45pm
Located on the 1st floor

Please be sure to bring a form of photo identification that includes your name (cannot be a photo copy) with you when visiting ESE.

Contact Us

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

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


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.