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Office of Educator Licensure

Out-of-State Applicants

What Type of License Should I Apply For?

Out-of-state applicants seeking their first license in the State of Massachusetts could qualify for one of three (3) types of Academic PreK-12 educator licenses: Temporary, Provisional, or Initial. To figure out for which type you should apply for, consider the following:

  1. Do you hold a valid comparable license from another state and have you worked under it for three (3) years?

If you answered "yes" to this question, you could qualify for a temporary license. A temporary license is valid for one (1) year of employment. This enables out-of-state applicants to seek and obtain employment in the Commonwealth while they work to take and pass all required MTEL tests.

Please note that passing all required MTEL tests or failed MTEL results will not qualify you for the temporary license.

  1. Do you hold a valid comparable license from another state or have you completed one (1) of the following:
    1. A 'traditional' higher education state/jurisdiction-approved educator preparation program outside of Massachusetts?
    2. A state/jurisdiction approved 'alternative/non-traditional'educator preparation program and possess the equivalent of an initial license from that state/jurisdiction?
    3. An educator preparation program sponsored by a college or university outside of Massachusetts that has been accredited by one of the following: the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you could qualify for an initial license through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. Massachusetts participates with every state and the District of Columbia through the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for almost every license issued by the DESE Office of Educator Licensure. An initial license is valid for five (5) years of employment from the date of issuance in the State of Massachusetts.

Please note that additional requirements may apply to this type of license and could include but may not be limited to:

  • Passing all required MTEL tests
  • Earning the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsements (SEI) – required for the following Academic PreK-12 licenses:
    • Academic Teacher: early childhood and elementary teachers, teachers of students with moderate disabilities, teachers of severe disabilities, and teachers of the following academic subjects: English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, civics and government, economics, history, and geography
    • Academic Administrator - principal/assistant principal, or supervisor/director

Massachusetts does not include the following licenses within the NASDTEC agreement: school psychologist, school nurse, or the speech, language, and hearing disorders teacher specialist.

  1. Have you completed all of the requirements in the previous question (#2) but do not hold the SEI endorsement? You may qualify for a Provisional license. The provisional license is good for five (5) years of employment.

  2. Did you get your Bachelor's and/or Master's degree from a DESE recognized accredited organization? To find out if your College or University is accredited by any of the DESE recognized organizations you can contact your institution directly or conduct a search yourself using the databases of the national accrediting organizations that are recognized by DESE.

How Do I Apply for a Massachusetts License?

The fastest way to apply for a Massachusetts license is through the Educator Licensure And Recruitment (ELAR) system. Additional information, required forms, and access to the ELAR system can be found in the Applying for/Checking the Status of a License section of our website.

Applicants with a Degree(s) Obtained in Another Country

Was your Bachelor's degree obtained in a country other than the United States?

Applicants seeking licensure on the basis of foreign (non-U.S.) coursework and/or diplomas must provide the Office of Educator Licensure with a detailed equivalency report or course-by-course evaluation of any college-level credit completed

Last Updated: March 22, 2023

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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