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Office of Educator Licensure

Applying for/Obtaining a License

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions related to applying for/obtaining a license. Additional information, including how to apply for a license, can be found on our Applying for/Checking the Status of a License page.

What is the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system?
ELAR (Educator Licensure And Renewal) is our online licensure system that allows current and prospective Massachusetts educators to electronically complete most licensure-related inquiries and transactions. Through ELAR, applicants can apply for or advance a license, renew a professional-level license, check the status of a license or application, make a payment, upload and view a description of documents in their files, request a hard-copy license, update their personal profiles, view correspondence from the Office of Educator Licensure, and even print an unofficial copy of their license.

How do I know if I have an ELAR user name and password?
If you created your own ELAR profile, a user name was assigned and you were asked to create a password at that time. If you submitted a paper application or if you already held a Massachusetts Educator License before the implementation of ELAR in May 2002, the Department assigned you a user name and temporary password at that time.

I started my online application, but I did not submit the payment. Can I go back into my ELAR profile to make a payment?
Yes. You may access your ELAR account to submit a payment online. On the ELAR 'Welcome page,' select the option to "Check license status and history, make a payment." From there, select "View payment history", and follow prompts to make a payment with a MasterCard or Visa.

What are the costs associated with applying for more than one license field or grade level license?
The first license application fee is $100.00 USD. Additional license applications are $25.00 USD each.

How can I find out the status of my licensure application?
You can check the status of your licensure application automatically by accessing your profile via ELAR, our online licensure system. You may also speak directly with a licensure specialist via our Licensure Call Center (Monday–Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. (with extended Wednesday evening hours until 7 p.m. through June 2015) at 781-338-6600 or visit our Licensure Welcome Center on the third floor of the DESE Administrative Building, located at 135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149 from 8:45 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. on weekdays (no appointments necessary).

Can I make changes to my application after it has been submitted?
If your application has not yet been evaluated by one of our licensure specialists, you may submit a written request to change an application. Please include your signature, the date, and social security number, MEPID number, or educator license number on your request, along with the specific request (Example: "Please change from 'X' field, grade level, or type to 'Y' field, grade level, type"). Once you have been evaluated, the field and grade level cannot be changed on an application. However, applicants may request in writing to change their 'type' of license (Temporary, Preliminary, Initial, or Professional) after an evaluation has taken place. Please note that the field, grade level, and type of license cannot be changed once a license is issued.

What do I do if my application is in an 'Idle' status?
In order to streamline our application review processes, our office moves all applications with a 'Pending' status that have not been reviewed within the past two years to an 'Idle' status on a rolling calendar basis. However, if an applicant chooses to stop an application from moving into the 'Idle' status, that application can remain in 'Pending' status. An application in 'Idle' status can be easily transitioned to a new status (Ready for Review, Pending, or Not ready, as appropriate). The transition from 'Idle' does not require an additional payment and can be performed by submitting the 'Application Status Change Request - Remove Idle Status' form.

Do I have to take the MTEL before I apply for a license?
No, you may apply for a license at any time. However, your application will not be evaluated until it is 'Ready for Review.' Generally, there are three components required for an application to reach 'Ready for Review' status: 1. Possession of an academic license or a passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills MTEL, 2. Official college transcript, 3. Payment via the ELAR system or via hard-copy form with an enclosed certified check, money order, or completed credit card form.

I was recently issued an educator license. Will I receive a hard-copy of my license in the mail?
ESE discontinued issuing hard-copy licenses in April 2011. Our online Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system serves as the official record of educator licensure and licensure can be verified by the following:

  • Educator's can verify the status of their license by selecting the Check license status and history, make a payment link, on their ELAR Home page.
  • Educators may print unofficial copies of their license. Select the Check license status and history, make a payment link, on their ELAR Home page. Scroll to the bottom of the Inquiry - Activity Summary page. Click on View/Print button.
  • Educators may request hard-copies of their license(s) by selecting the Request a Duplicate License option ($25.00) on their ELAR Home page or by submitting a hard-copy request form, found in our Forms & Resources section.
  • Districts may verify the license status of an educator by using their Administrative functions in ELAR.
  • Districts can utilize the Licensure Status Drop Box through the DESE Security Portal.

How do I select a requirement path when applying online?
If this is your first time applying for a particular license type (i.e., Preliminary, Initial, Professional, 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.

Please note that some path options might be different for certain licenses. If you do not select the correct path when completing your online application, the Office of Educator Licensure will select the correct path for you when your application is reviewed. Should you need additional assistance, please contact the Licensure Call Center via 781-338-6600.

Last Updated: September 30, 2018

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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