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Office of Educator Licensure

Seeking Employment in MA — Licensure Requirements

Can an educator with a Massachusetts Elementary 1–6 license teach less than two or more subject areas?

The policy as of November 13, 2006, which clarifies the types of teaching assignments that are appropriate for teachers holding an Elementary 1–6 or K–6 Teacher license, is as follows: As the requirements for proficiency in subject matter have become more rigorous, we need to reiterate and clarify when the generalist Elementary 1–6/K–6 Teacher license is appropriate for a classroom assignment and when it is not. Teachers possessing only an Elementary 1–6/K–6 Teacher license:

  • may teach or team teach two or more subject areas;
  • may not have a teaching assignment that covers a single subject area where there is a more appropriate license.

The policy is consistent with the fundamental requirement that teachers must possess the license that affords the best fit with their teaching assignment. The Department has offered Elementary level subject matter licenses in general science, history and mathematics since October 2003. These are the appropriate licenses for assignments that cover one of these subject areas. Superintendents and principals intending to employ an educator in a role not obviously defined by an existing license must determine the most appropriate license by comparing the actual duties and responsibilities of that role with the license requirements.

I have an academic educator license from another state. Can I use that license to work in a Massachusetts public school?

No, you may not use a license from another state to work in a Massachusetts public school. For information on obtaining a Massachusetts license, including for those who completed educator preparation programs outside of Massachusetts, please visit the Out of State Applicants section of this website.

Am I required by state law to be licensed to work as a temporary substitute teacher in Massachusetts?

According to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval 603 CMR 7.00, Section 7.14 (10), temporary substitute teachers are exempted from the provisions of G. L. c. 71, § 38G or M. G. L. c. 71A, § 6, which require the possession of an educator license. However, a school/school district may prescribe additional qualifications as a condition of employment. For more information, please visit Section 7.14 of the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval.

How do I know if my Preliminary or Initial license is still valid for employment?

Both Preliminary and Initial licenses are valid for five years of employment in a Massachusetts school that requires licensure by law. Your license will no longer be valid for employment once you have been employed full-time for five years in the role (field and grade level) of the license, in a Massachusetts school that requires licensure by law. If you stop working within a Massachusetts school that requires that an educator hold the appropriate license for the role that they are employed in, the clock "stops ticking".

Am I eligible for employment under an Inactive or Invalid license?

An educator who is currently employed in the role of their Professional license and allows this license to go Inactive is no longer eligible for legal employment, unless the school district superintendent requests and is issued a waiver. In addition, a Massachusetts public school district may newly employ an educator under an Inactive license as long as the educator renews that license within 2 years from the date of hire. If an educator's license is Invalid, an educator is not eligible for legal employment unless the school district requests and is issued a waiver or unless that educator renews the license.

Last Updated: March 29, 2022

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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