Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
The Department has moved to 135 Santilli Highway in Everett. The Department's office and Licensure Welcome Center are open. The new location has free parking and is a short walk from the Wellington station on the MBTA's Orange Line.

Office of Educator Licensure

Reconsideration of Graduate Level Credit: 12 Credit Option

Teachers have multiple pathways to advance an Initial license to a Professional license, however, the path known as "the 12-credit option" is most widely used. Through this pathway, teachers with a master's degree can advance to the Professional license by gaining three years of experience under the Initial license, completion of induction and mentoring, and earning at least 12 graduate credits of coursework in the content of the license or in content-based pedagogy of the license.

Although 12 graduate credits has been the threshold that the Office of Educator Licensure (OEL) is looking for over a decade, the regulation, 603 CMR 7.04(2)(c)4.c., indicates that 12 credits of graduate level courses is required. Over the past several years OEL has seen an increase of graduate level courses in which teachers have not been awarded graduate credits by a college or university rendering the course as unacceptable towards advancing to a Professional license. After a thorough review, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has reconsidered its interpretation of the regulation and is changing policy permitting teachers who strengthen subject matter knowledge through coursework for which graduate level credit is awarded to count towards earning their Professional license.

To be applied toward this option, coursework for which graduate level credit or graduate credit is awarded must:

  1. appear on an official transcript from a college/university transcript that is an accredited institution;
  2. was not awarded undergraduate credit;
  3. included only the subject matter knowledge or a combination of pedagogy and only the subject matter knowledge of the license being advanced to Professional.

This new policy is effective immediately and the Licensure Office is in process of sending a broad communication in ELAR to those that have a pending application on file for their first Professional teaching license. Through that correspondence, teachers will be notified how they can be reevaluated and have a graduate level course(s) reconsidered for the Professional license.

Last Updated: September 30, 2020

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.