How to become a teacher in Massachusetts: Five things to know.
The Massachusetts Educator Licensure regulations and requirements are never quite the same year to year. That’s why I consider that it is very important, as a prospective teacher, stay current on the requirements to become a teacher in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MA DESE) is the commonwealth’s authority that oversees the licensing of educators. DESE has a website that is informative and user friendly to help demystify the licensure process. The Amazing Educators website provides forms, tools, and guides that will help you navigate the licensure process.
Understanding the various paths to the Initial License, the license that qualifies you as a teacher who has met ALL appropriate licensure requirements, is quite interesting in the sense that it takes into account the various ways one approaches the licensure process. Whether you are new to teaching or a teacher from another state it guides you through the different approaches gaining the Initial License and becoming a qualified licensed teacher.
I am not going to attempt to define all the licensure areas and their unique requirements. However, I have identified 5 key teacher licensure requirements that all prospective teachers should know and that cut across all licensure requirements. Please note: your choice of a teacher license will determine the appropriate licensure requirements for that licensure area.
Here are my 5 Things to Know:
The Bachelor’s Degree - Everyone seeking license is required to have a bachelor’s degree. The type of bachelor’s degree is determined by the license sought.
The Communication and Literacy (C&L) MTEL. Everyone must achieve a passing score on this Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL).
Subject Matter MTEL - Everyone must achieve a passing score on the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) for the specific teacher license, .e.g. Early Childhood, Elementary, History, Biology, etc.
An Approved Program. A program that prepares educators and is approved by the MA Commissioner to prepare individuals for educator licensure. An approved program is required for the Initial license. Preparation programs include higher education institutions and Alternative/Practice-based Licensure Programs.
There are 4 types of Licenses.
Provisional A license issued to a person who holds a bachelor's degree and has passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and met other eligibility requirements established by the DESE Board. A person with this license is seeking the requirements for the Initial license following the requirements as set forth Initial An educator license issued to a person who has completed a bachelor's degree, passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, completed an educator preparation program approved by the Commissioner, and met other eligibility requirements established by DESE Board. Professional An educator's license issued to a person who has met the requirements for an Initial license in that field and met requirements established by the DESE Board. This is a practicing teacher. Temporary An educator license issued to a person who holds a bachelor’s degree and valid license or certificate from another state or jurisdiction, and who has been employed under such license for a minimum of three years and has met the requirements set forth. A person with this license is seeking the Initial License following the requirement as set forth.
As mentioned above, this list was developed to inspire you to seek more information about how to become a teacher in Massachusetts. A good place to further your search is on the DESE Amazing Educator website: http://www.doe.mass.edu/amazingeducators/
Thank you for reading!
Angie Irving Program Coordinator, Journey into Education and Teaching