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Office of Educator Licensure

Autism Endorsement for Educator Licensure

In July 2014 the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law Chapter 226 of the Acts of 2014, An Act Relative to Assisting Individuals with Autism and Other Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities. The law directed the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish a teacher endorsement in autism in order to meet the unique and complex educational needs of students on the Autism Spectrum. On September 22, 2015 the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education promulgated regulations establishing the Autism Endorsement. On June 27, 2017, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to expand the group of educators who may qualify for this endorsement to include educators who hold a teacher license and at least three credits related to special education.

Who may get the Autism Endorsement?

  • Educators who hold a teacher license and at least three credits related to special education; or
  • Possession of a license* as a Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities, Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities, Teacher of the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, or Teacher of the Visually Impaired.

*Educators with comparable licenses may satisfy this option. For example, licenses such as Children with Severe Special Needs, Intensive Special Needs, Teacher of Special School and Classes and Special Needs.

Do I need this endorsement to be legally employed?

The autism endorsement (like all endorsements but for Sheltered English Immersion) is a voluntary endorsement indicating that the educator has acquired specialized knowledge and skill in this area; however, school officials may require the endorsement or other qualifications for educators, in addition to basic licensure.

What are the paths to obtaining the Autism Endorsement?

  1. Complete a DESE approved course of study
    • You can locate course providers through the following directions once you are on the "Find a Preparation Program" page. First, for Select Field, choose Endorsements and then for the next Select Field, choose Autism. For Select Level, choose level depends on prereq license. For Select Program, choose Endorsement, then click on Search. The "Find a Preparation Program" page can be found at Ed Prep Programs page.
  2. Pass a DESE approved assessment
  3. For out-of-state applicants: through reciprocity (completion of an out-of-state approved program or through the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement)
  4. "Grandfather clause" — for candidates who have applied for the endorsement and completed all requirements by 12/31/2016.

Is there a required field based component?

All educators except those that qualify for reciprocity or those who gain the credential via the Grandfather clause must complete one of the two field based experience options.

  1. Complete a 150 hour field based experience of which at least 75 hours must be in an inclusive school setting.
  2. For teachers with an appropriate prerequisite license and at least one year of teaching experience with students with autism; completion of a 75 hour field based experience, of which at least 50 must be in an inclusive school based setting.

To see specific requirement sets, please use the Licensure Requirements Tool

Do I have to renew this endorsement?

This endorsement is subject to renewal with 30 PDP's in the content area and a valid prerequisite license

How much does it cost to apply for the Autism Endorsement?

There is a $25.00 application fee for this endorsement, even if it is your first/only license/endorsement application.

Please note: The quickest and easiest way to apply for a Massachusetts license and/or endorsement is via our Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) portal.

First-time users of the ELAR portal will need to create a profile prior to submitting an electronic application via ELAR.

Last Updated: October 19, 2020

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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