Between 2012 and 2016, Massachusetts core academic teachers assigned to a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) cohort should have earned the SEI Teacher Endorsement within the time designated; otherwise, their core academic license or licenses became restricted. A restricted status prevents an applicant from advancing, extending, or renewing their core academic licenses. Obtaining the SEI Teacher Endorsement lifts the restricted status.
Between March 7, 2009 and June 30, 2012, individuals may have earned a license (Elementary, Moderate Disabilities, Severe Disabilities, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, Visually Impaired) through a score somewhere from 227-239 on the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test. Such a score is a conditional passing score. All candidates issued a license through a conditional passing score must earn a score of 240 or above on the Mathematics portion of the General Curriculum test or a passing score on any of the following mathematics MTEL (Mathematics, Mathematics (Middle School), or Mathematics (Elementary) in order to be eligible to advance, extend, or renew their license.
A conditional passing score test result appears in yellow in ELAR.
Each license issued has a specific period of validity. 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.
To advance a license from one type to the next type: Provisional to Initial; Initial to Professional; you will need to apply for the new type of license and send in all required documentation verifying that the requirements for the new/advanced license have been met.
To determine the requirements for a particular type of license, please use our Licensure Requirements Tool.
The quickest way to apply for the new/advanced license is through the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system.
A Professional license is valid for five (5) calendar years. Time elapses regardless of employment status under this license.
Time elapses only while actually employed by a school or district (that requires a license in the state of MA) and is used to calculate total years of employment with respect to how long a Temporary, Provisional, or Initial license remains valid. For example, if an educator works under an Initial license (in a MA school requiring that license) for one (1) year and is then released or goes on maternity leave, that educator’s license remains valid for an additional four (4) years upon his/her return to teaching.
(Note: Initial Administrator licenses cannot be extended)
The Initial license is valid for five years of employment and may be extended at the discretion of the Commissioner for an additional five years. Educators who have been employed under an Initial license, are in their fifth (5) year of employment, and have not yet satisfied the requirements for advancing to the Professional license; have the option of applying for an Extension of their Initial license. 'Under a license' is defined here as meaning; "employment in the role and at the grade of the license from the date it was issued".
The quickest way to apply for an Initial Extension license is through the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system; complete the application and make payment. Submitting a hard copy of the application is an option, but takes significantly more time to process.
Please refer to the Extension of Initial License Guide and Template for a form that may be used to verify that you plan to meet requirements for the Professional license.
Extension of Initial License Guide and Template
Professional licenses are valid for five (5) calendar years and must be renewed in order to remain active. Professional licenses that are either one (1) year from expiring or currently on inactive status can be renewed only if the required number of Professional Development Points (PDPs) has been earned.
Regardless of when an educator is expected to renew their professional license, if employed the educator must obtain final approval of their individual professional development plan by their supervisor; the educator must have a minimum of 10 PDPs in a topic area in order to use the PDPs towards license renewal. Each additional license that an educator renews requires 30 PDPs in the content area of each license to be renewed.
The quickest way to renew your Professional license is through the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system. After you log into the ELAR system, select the Apply to renew your professional level license link on your Welcome to ELAR home page. Follow all of the prompts, pay the required fees ($100 for primary license, $25 for additional licenses), and your license(s) will be renewed automatically.
Do not send in any of your supporting documentation (verifying the attainment of the required PDPs) unless you are selected for an audit. If selected for an audit, you will be required to submit documentation in support of the license(s) that you renewed.
Please note that the Office of Educator Licensure no longer sends out hard copies of newly approved or renewed licenses.
Professional development activities shall be identified by the educator and supervisor during the development of, and review of, the Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)* in order to better support student achievement. Individual professional development plans must include at least 150 PDPs that break down as follows:
Information on SEI/ESL and Special Education course offerings can be found at: New DESE Resource: Free Online Courses on Inclusive Practice and Guidebook for Inclusive Practice
*As indicated in 603 CMR 44.04(1)(c), the same plan can be utilized to satisfy license renewal and educator evaluation.
Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) and its impact on Renewal:
The SEI Endorsement requirement is at the center of the Department's RETELL initiative to transform the teaching and learning of ELLs across the Commonwealth.
Renewal of License Application
Professional License Renewal Audit Packet Checklist
Professional License Renewal: Audit FAQs
License Renewal Activity Log Primary Area Form B-1
License Renewal Activity Log Additional Area Form B-2
License Renewal Regulations
Educators looking for current Department PD offerings should consult the DESE-sponsored offerings page.
Educators are required to earn 150 professional development points (PDPs) in order to be recertified in their primary area of licensure, and 30 PDPs for each additional license. Generally, 1 clock hour of professional development activity is equal to 1 PDP, although Advanced Academic Studies and some Department professional development can award 1.5 PDPs for each hour of activity. Please consult the professional development Frequently Asked Questions if you have additional questions.
Additional professional development guidelines and tools:
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Professional Development website
Guidelines for Reviewing, Approving, and Endorsing Individual PD PlansInformation for supervisors who must review and approve educators' IPDPs and endorse recertification applications.
Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)A sample format for the plan that individual educators are required to develop and maintain with review and approval of a supervisor.
Last Updated: January 27, 2022
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.