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:
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.
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:
Massachusetts does not include the following licenses within the NASDTEC agreement: school psychologist, school nurse, or the speech, language, and hearing disorders teacher specialist.
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.
Information on how to expedite you or your spouse's licensure application can be found on our How to Become an Educator in Massachusetts webpage.
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: February 18, 2020
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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