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Office of Educator Licensure

Emergency License Validity Extension for ESL & Special Education Licenses

As announced on January 5, 2022, the Department is allowing the extension of the emergency license to June 30, 2023. Most licenses have already been extended and the new date was reflected in ELAR on January 13th. Because federal law imposes requirements on educators who teach students with disabilities (SWDs) and English Learners (ELs), special education and ESL licenses were not included in the automatic extension.

Process to Get an Emergency Extension

Individuals with a 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 or English as a Second Language (ESL) will be able to apply for an Emergency Extension in ELAR. There will be no fee associated with applying for the extension nor will there be a deadline to apply for the extension. Modifications to ELAR should be available to accept applications for the extension in February.

Following applying for the emergency license extension, individuals will be able to upload supporting documents to help them obtain the extension (see below for specific requirements associated with each field). If the requirements have been met, the extension will be granted; if there are requirements that remain to be satisfied, the Licensure Office will send correspondence via ELAR detailing what requirements are outstanding and how they can be satisfied and documented.

Regardless of whether an individual is awarded an extension for these six fields, the current emergency license will expire on June 30, 2022. If an extension is awarded, ELAR will reflect the date the extension was issued and the new expiration date of June 30, 2023. In addition to there not being a deadline to apply for an extension, there is no deadline to qualify for the extension, so long as it is prior to June 30, 2023.


Please see the attached document for specific emergency license extension requirements.

How to Satisfy a Competency Review

A Competency Review is the process for determining whether the subject matter knowledge requirements for a license have been met in a field for which there is no subject matter knowledge test and elsewhere as required in the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval 603 CMR 7.00, using Department guidelines.

Competencies, also known as the "coverage of" requirements can be satisfied through the completion of a professional learning experience(s) that provided at least 10 hours of instruction specific to and completely covering a subject matter knowledge requirement. Competencies can be satisfied through completion of any one or combination of the following options: coursework, seminars, workshops, mentored employment, peer coaching, or Department approved assessments.

To better understand the competency review process and utilize templates to help satisfy competencies, please refer to the Competency Review Guide .

Educators that are currently employed in the role of one of the five special education licenses may want to satisfy the competency review through Structured Guidance and Supports (SGS). SG&S is a performance-based assessment process for teacher licensure candidates. The SG&S process and assessment takes place over a 150-hour field experience for the license sought and must be completed in accordance with Department Guidelines ; however, it can be done on-the- job with the support of your district and an appropriate mentor.

Hardship Waivers

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.

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.

Last Updated: January 14, 2022

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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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