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Office of Educator Licensure

Emergency and Emergency License Extensions

Emergency License

The office of Educator Licensure was authorized to re-issue Emergency licenses ("new" Emergency licenses) for up to 180 days from the end of the public health state of emergency which was May 11, 2023. Qualifying applicants were able to apply for their first Emergency license or an additional Emergency license up until November 7th. The Department is not authorized to issue any additional Emergency licenses as of November 8, 2023. Please note this does not impact Emergency Extensions.

In ELAR, 6individuals with an Emergency license can apply for an Emergency Extension (first extension) or an Emergency Extension II (2nd extension). This webpage is designed to provide information about the difference between an old and new Emergency license, obtaining an extension, impact for those with an ESL or special education "old" Emergency license, resources available to those with an Emergency license as well as information about Professional Teacher Status (PTS).

New Emergency License

The "new" Emergency license are licenses issued between May 26, 2022 and November 7, 2023 and are valid for one calendar year from the date of issuance. These Emergency licenses can be extended twice so long as the individual is making progress since obtaining the Emergency license towards obtaining a license.

For clarity on the meaning of "since obtaining the Emergency license", please see the following examples:

  1. Scott obtained an Emergency license on July 25, 2020 in Early Childhood. He passed the Communication & Literacy Skills test on June 30, 2020. Although Scott has passed a test that is required to obtain an Early Childhood license, since the Communication & Literacy Skills test was passed prior to when he obtained the Emergency license, that test will not be accepted as progress towards obtaining an extension.
  2. Jacinda obtained an Emergency license on August 1, 2020 in Chemistry. She passes the Chemistry MTEL test on September 23, 2022. Since Jacinda passed the Chemistry MTEL test after she obtained the Emergency license, that can be counted towards making progress towards an Emergency Extension.

Extending your Emergency License

Review the following information as there are different processes to extend your Emergency License depending on when you received your Emergency license.

Old Emergency Licenses — those originally issued between June of 2020 and December 12, 2021

  • For Licenses —other than Special Education and English as a Second Language, please review the following information:

    • For those that have an "old" Emergency license with an expiration date of June 30, 2023 you will be able to apply for an Emergency Extension to June 30, 2024 and obtain it so long as you have made progress towards obtaining the license.
      • the induction requirement and
      • demonstration of progress towards obtaining a license since issuance date of the Emergency license.
        • Attempted or passed the C&L test
        • Attempted or passed a required content test
        • Enrolling in an approved preparation program
        • Having completed coursework within an approved preparation program

    • For those that obtained an Emergency Extension to June 30, 2024, you will be eligible to apply for an Emergency Extension II to June 30, 2025 and obtain it so long as you have made progress towards obtaining the license since you obtained the Emergency Extension. Progress towards obtaining the license are some of the same things that are required for the Emergency Extension, for example:
      • Attempted or passed the Communication & Literacy Skills test
      • Attempted or passed a required content test
      • Enrolling in an approved preparation program
      • Having completed coursework within an approved preparation program

  • For Special Education and English as a Second Language licenses: Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ASL/TC), Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Oral/Aural), Teacher of the Visually Impaired, and English as a Second Language (ESL)

    • If you received your Emergency license on or prior to December 12, 2021 review the following options:
      • Your license expired automatically on June 30, 2022, unless you applied for and obtained an Emergency Extension through June 30, 2023.
    • If you received one of the above noted Special Education or ESL licenses and obtained an extension on that license through June 30, 2023, and are seeking an additional extension through June 30, 2024, the following requirements apply:
      • submit a paper application and
      • the induction requirement and
      • demonstration of progress towards obtaining a license since issuance date of the Emergency license
        • Attempted or passed the C&L test
        • Attempted or passed a required content test
        • Enrolling in an approved preparation program
        • Having completed coursework within an approved preparation program
    • If you received one of the above noted Special Education or ESL licenses and did not apply for and obtain an Emergency extension valid through June 30, 2023 please review the following guidance on extension requirements to include the necessity to submit a paper application as a part of that extension request.

New Emergency Licenses — those issued between May, 26, 2022 and November 7, 2023

  • This "new" Emergency license will be valid for one calendar year from the date of issuance and can be extended twice so long as the individual is making progress since obtaining the Emergency license, towards obtaining a license. Applicants must submit the below to receive their first Emergency Extension:
  • For those that obtained an Emergency Extension, you will be eligible to apply for an Emergency Extension II and obtain it so long as you have made progress towards obtaining the license since you obtained the Emergency Extension . Progress towards obtaining the license are some of the same things that are required for the Emergency Extension, for example:
    • Attempted or passed the Communication & Literacy Skills test
    • Attempted or passed a required content test
    • Enrolling in an approved preparation program
    • Having completed coursework within an approved preparation program

Licensure Requirements

Online resources such as the DESE Licensure Requirements Tool can help you assess what you need to do to obtain your license. As you move towards advancing your license (see more for license types and requirements at How to Obtain an Academic PreK-12 License), additional information on the DESE website can assist in understanding more about the requirements for licensure.

  • Provisional: Bachelor's Degree, passing of MTEL(s) or Alternative Licensure Assessment(s), and for some licenses a competency review.
  • Initial: Bachelor's Degree, passing of MTEL(s) or Alternative Licensure Assessment(s), the SEI endorsement (for some licenses), and completion of one of the approved routes (preparation program, performance review program, or through out of state reciprocity).

Time spent working under an Emergency license can count towards Professional Teacher Status if you obtain a Provisional or Initial academic license or a Preliminary Vocational license within two years of the date of issuance of the Emergency license in the field and continue to work for the same employer under the newly acquired license.

Education Preparation Programs

DESE supports a variety of tools to locate approved educator preparation programs that will meet your specific needs:

  • List of Approved Educator Preparation Program Providers (EPPP)
  • Find an Educator Preparation Program Provider Near You
  • Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure (PRPIL)
  • EPP/District Partnerships with Dedicated Licensure Supports for Emergency Licensed Educators
    • Bridgewater State University/multiple districts
    • Cambridge College/Malden Public Schools
    • Collaborative for Educational Services/Fitchburg State University/Lowell Public Schools
    • Framingham State University/Framingham Public Schools
    • Merrimack College/multiple districts
    • Mount Holyoke College/Holyoke Public Schools
    • Northeastern University/Boston PS, Worcester PS, Holyoke PS
    • Springfield College/Springfield PS, SEZP
    • Teach for America/multiple districts
    • University of Massachusetts — Boston/JET/Boston PS, Everett PS

MTEL Support

Utilize the following MTEL resources to prepare for the required assessments:

  • Review the Test Objectives: All MTEL Test Objectives are derived from the Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements , which are in turn directly linked to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. You can find test objectives for each MTEL in order to guide you in your preparation.
  • Preparation Courses: Preferred MTEL preparation vendors and information about test prep courses can be found on the Department's website. Courses may be offered virtually or in person.
  • Practice Tests: Most of the MTELs have practice tests available online at the MTEL website. If you select a test, you will find preparation materials available at Practice Tests.
  • Interpret your Score Report: Score reports can provide you with guidance in the specific areas where you need to bolster your content knowledge. You can find information on how to interpret your score report at Score Report Explanation.
  • Alternative Licensure Assessments: In October 2020, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved a pilot of alternative licensure assessments. To access currently approved alternative assessments for the Communication and Literacy Skills and Subject Matter Knowledge MTELs, please see Pilot of Alternative Assessments to the MTEL. (The Department will update this webpage as additional alternatives are approved.)
  • Seek a mentor: Teachers who have passed the test may serve as valuable resources for knowing how to prepare. Seek out an educator who holds the license you are seeking to see if they might offer you guidance on your preparation.
  • Other Available Resources: If you have not already reviewed them, there are other resources, including test information guides and test preparation videos, available on the MTEL website at Test Preparation Materials and Courses List.

Important Notice Regarding Changes to the General Curriculum MTEL

As of August 21, 2023, the new General Curriculum test will consist of two subtests:

  1. General Curriculum: Language Arts (LA) and History/Social Science (HSS) and
  2. General Curriculum: Mathematics (Math), Science, and Technology/Engineering (STE).

Although these new subtests will be in place as of August 21, 2023, a passing score on either of the General Curriculum Multi-Subject subtest or the General Curriculum Mathematics subtest may still be applied toward licensure. Refer to the Impact of the General Curriculum Multi-Subject Subtest and the General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest no Longer Being Offered advisory for additional clarification.

Professional Teacher Status

Time spent working under an emergency license can count towards PTS if the educator obtains a provisional or initial academic license or a preliminary vocational license within two years of the date of issuance of the emergency license in the field and continues to work for the same employer under the newly acquired license.

  • For example, an educator who received an emergency license in the field of middle school math/science on July 1, 2020, has been teaching grade 8 science classes since the start of the 2020-21 school year, receives a provisional or initial license in middle school math/science by June 30, 2022, and continues to teach under that license for the same employer can count the two years taught under the emergency license toward PTS.
  • For example, an educator who received an elementary emergency license on July 1, 2020 and an early childhood emergency license on July 1, 2021 and has been teaching under both licenses receives provisional licenses in both fields on August 1, 2022. This educator would be able to count time spent teaching under the early childhood license (provisional license granted in 13 months - within two years), but not in elementary (provisional license granted in 25 months - after two-year period) toward PTS.

"I graduated from college taking the long road, having come from a background of being financially incapable to attend college after high school. I worked very hard to support myself and take college courses over many years to earn a degree. I feel very proud that I have been able to pass on my first attempt the three MTEL exams I have taken by studying independently. I look forward to being given the opportunity to help nurture this love of independent learning in many students. I never would have tried to obtain this goal without the emergency license as a tool."

— Emergency License Holder

Last Updated: February 15, 2024

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

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