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Office of Educator Licensure

Emergency License Validity Extension 2022-2023

The Department is pleased to announce that in response to feedback from districts and due to continued challenges as a result of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus, Commissioner Riley is extending the validity period of some emergency licenses through June 30, 2023 (originally valid until June 30, 2021 and extended last year to June 30, 2022).

As a result of this change, modifications to ELAR (Educator Licensure and Renewal) will be made to reflect the new expiration date and will be reflected on individuals' ELAR accounts.

All emergency licenses will automatically be extended and will be valid until June 30, 2023, except for the following licenses1:

  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities
  • Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities
  • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ASL/TC)
  • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Oral/Aural)
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)

Emergency licenses that have been granted in the above six license areas are valid through June 30, 2022 and are not subject to the automatic one-year extension; however, individuals with an emergency license in these fields will be eligible to apply for a no-cost extension of their emergency license, and an extension to June 30, 2023 will be given to those that demonstrate appropriate subject matter knowledge in the field.

  • ESL Emergency Licenses: an individual with an ESL emergency license that has passed the ESL MTEL exam but has not satisfied the Communication & Literacy MTEL test can obtain an extension.
  • SPED Emergency Licenses: an individual with a SPED emergency license may demonstrate the subject matter knowledge through a competency review.

Individuals may begin applying for the no-cost emergency license extension in these areas in February; extensions will be granted upon completion of the relevant subject matter knowledge requirement(s). The Department will post additional information about the process and requirements in the next week or two.

If an educator with an ESL or special education emergency license is unable to meet the requirements to obtain an emergency license extension, the district can pursue a Hardship Waiver in order to employ that educator in the 2022-23 school year. School districts can begin applying for a Hardship Waiver for 2022-23 through ELAR as early as April 1, 2022. In addition to applying for the waiver, the district must submit evidence of having advertised the position, submit a list of all appropriately licensed candidates that applied for the job, and state the reasons they are not qualified and reasons the candidate is qualified.

In some cases, this could be an additional waiver for an educator, for example, one who was employed under an emergency license this school year and in 2020-21 and was employed under a waiver in the 2019-20 school year. In such cases, in addition to the district submitting documentation regarding their effort to hire a licensed educator, the educator must demonstrate evidence of continuous progress towards licensure.

Professional Teacher Status (PTS). Time spent working under an emergency license can count towards PTS if the educator obtains a provisional or initial academic license or a preliminary vocational license within two years of the date of issuance of the emergency license in the field and continues to work for the same employer under the newly acquired license.

  • For example, an educator who received an emergency license in the field of middle school math/science on July 1, 2020, has been teaching grade 8 science classes since the start of the 2020-21 school year, receives a provisional or initial license in middle school math/science by June 30, 2022, and continues to teach under that license for the same employer can count the two years taught under the emergency license toward PTS.

  • For example, an educator who received an elementary emergency license on July 1, 2020 and an early childhood emergency license on July 1, 2021 and has been teaching under both licenses receives provisional licenses in both fields on August 1, 2022. This educator would be able to count time spent teaching under the early childhood license (provisional license granted in 13 months — within two years), but not in elementary (provisional license granted in 25 months — after two-year period) toward PTS.

Ongoing Support to Emergency Licensed Educators. The Department issued letters to both school principals and emergency licensed teachers employed in 2020-21 with information about licensure, the MTEL, and MTEL alternative assessments, and will conduct a series of webinars in 2022 about routes to long-term licensure for emergency license holders. School districts can also support those employed under an emergency license through induction and mentoring, providing a subject-matter expert/coach to assist an educator to pass the required MTEL content exam, or for licenses that require a competency review, supporting them through Structured Guidance and Supports.

Additional Questions. If you have any additional questions about the extension of emergency licenses, please contact the Licensure Call Center at 781-338-6600. The Call Center is open each business day from 9am–1pm and 2pm–5pm.

1 Because federal law imposes requirements on educators who teach students with disabilities (SWDs) and English Learners (ELs) these licenses are not included in the automatic extension.

  • SWDs — State education agencies are required to ensure that teachers of students with disabilities are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including that those personnel have the content knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities.
  • ELs — States must have procedures in place for ensuring that districts have adequately trained teachers to implement EL programs and state requirements must be sufficiently rigorous to ensure that teachers of EL students have the skills necessary to implement the EL programs.

Last Updated: January 5, 2022

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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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