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Office of Educator Licensure

License Types and Validity

The Type of license that an educator applies for is going to be dependent on a variety of factors, such as the applicant's education, training, experience, and licensure priorities. A complete overview of available license types in each license category can be found in pages 5–8 of the Licensure 101: How to Obtain a Massachusetts Educator License . General requirements for each license type are noted below.

Types of Licenses Include:

Temporary: An option for educators who are licensed in another state and have three years of experience working in the role of that license in that state.

Provisional: General Requirements — A Provisional License is appropriate for individuals who:

  • Have a Bachelor's degree
  • Passed all required MTEL tests
  • Some licenses may have additional requirements, such as relevant subject matter knowledge — Competency Review.
  • Tip: The Provisional license could be an option for someone seeking a core academic teacher license that completed a prep program but does not hold the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement (SEI).
  • Please note not all Academic PreK-12 licenses can be obtained at the Provisional level

Initial: General Requirements. An Initial License is appropriate for individuals who:

  • Have a Bachelor's degree
  • Have passed all required MTEL tests
  • Hold the SEI endorsement (core academic teacher, principal/assistant principal, or supervisor/director only)
  • Have completed one of the following:
    • An approved educator preparation program in Massachusetts
    • Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure (PRPIL)
    • For out-of-state applicants:
      • Hold a valid/comparable license from another state, or
      • Have completed an approved alternative educator preparation program and hold a valid comparable license, or
      • Have completed an educator preparation program comparable to the license sought, sponsored by a college or university outside of MA that has been approved/accredited by the state, CAOP, TEAC or NCATE.

Professional: General Requirements. A Professional License is appropriate for individuals who:

  • Possess a MA Initial license in the same field as the Professional license sought
  • Have been employed under the Initial License for at least three (3) years and have completed an induction and mentoring program and
    Completion of one of the following:
    • An approved licensure program for the Professional license sought as set forth in the Guidelines for Program Approval.
    • A program leading to eligibility for master teacher status, such as those sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and others accepted by the Commissioner.
    • For those who have completed any master's or higher degree or other advanced graduate program in an accredited college or university, at least 12 credits of graduate level courses each of which includes subject matter knowledge or pedagogy based on the subject matter knowledge of the Professional license sought; these may include credits earned prior to application for the license.
  • Additional requirement for the teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing license (American Sign Language/Total Communication): Passing score on a test of sign language proficiency approved by the Department.

Military Spouse License: An educator license issued to a Military Spouse who has a bachelor's degree, holds a valid educator license from another state, and has not satisfied the testing requirements for a Massachusetts educator license. The Military Spouse License is valid for three years of employment.

  • Bachelor's Degree, and
  • Valid educator License from another state that is comparable to the license sought
  • Is the spouse of an active military service member who is stationed in the Commonwealth or residing in the Commonwealth and stationed in a border state

Specific Licensure Requirements for each license category, type, and grade level can be found in the Licensure Requirements Tool.

License Validity by Type:

  • Temporary license — valid for one year of employment (cannot be extended; must advance to Provisional or Initial)
  • Provisional — valid for five years of employment (cannot be extended, must advance to initial). 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.
  • Initial — valid for five years of employment (may be extended once, must be advanced to Professional)
  • Professional — valid for five calendar years (renewable every five years thereafter)

Educators are expected to take note of the amount of time for which each license is valid and work toward advancement of each license to its next stage, i.e., from Provisional to Initial or from Initial to Professional. Licenses at the Professional stage must be renewed every five years or else they become inactive/invalid.

Calculating Years of Employment

Information on calculating years of employment and advancing or renewing a license can be found at Advancing or Extending a License webpage.

Last Updated: July 25, 2023

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

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


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