Q: What is an Educator's License, and how do I get one?
An Educator license is a credential issued by the Massachusetts Department of Education. An Educator license is required for teaching and other professional roles in public schools. Licenses are issued for specific roles and levels (e.g., elementary teacher, secondary mathematic teacher, reading specialist); there is no "general teaching license " issued in Massachusetts. Most individuals become licensed to teach in Massachusetts by completing approved programs as undergraduates, post-baccalaureate, or graduate students through four-year colleges or universities; however, there are actually five routes to obtaining An Educator license:
Most individuals seeking licensure through the University of Massachusetts Amherst Educator Licensure Advisory Council (ELAC) approved programs will be enrolled in programs that meet Route One or Two requirements. If you think you may be eligible for licensure under one of the other routes, you should refer to the Massachusetts Department of Education website: www.doe.mass.edu
Q: Are there different levels of Licensure?
Yes. The Massachusetts Department of Education grants licensure at the Preliminary, Initial, and Professional levels. The State also issues a Temporary License.
Preliminary License: An Educator 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 Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. The Preliminary License is valid for five years of employment. During the five years of employment, the candidate must complete an approved program in order to be granted an Initial License.
Initial License: An educator license issued to a person who has completed a bachelor's degree, passed the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, completed a professional preparation program approved by the Commissioner, and met other eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Board of Education. The Initial License is valid for five years of employment and may be renewed at the discretion of the Commissioner for an additional five years.
Professional License: An educator's license issued to a person who has met the requirements for an Initial License, completed a Performance Assessment Program or an approved Master's degree program, and met other requirements established by the Massachusetts Board of Education. The Professional License is valid for five years and renewable for an additional five years.
An educator's license issued to a person who holds a valid license or
certificate of a type comparable to at least an Initial License in Massachusetts
from another state or jurisdiction, and who has been employed under such
license for a minimum of three years but who have not yet satisfied the
testing requirements in Massachusetts. This license is valid for one year
and is nonrenewable.
Q: What are the minimum requirements for licensure?
For a classroom teaching
license, the minimum requirement is a Bachelor's degree in arts or sciences
appropriate to the instructional field or an interdisciplinary major from
an accredited college or university, and passing scores on the appropriate
subtests of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. These requirements
only fulfill the most basic requirements for Preliminary License.
There are other requirements for school guidance counselors, school administrators,
speech therapists, school psychologists, and reading teachers.
Q: Is there a test for licensure?
Yes. Individuals seeking
Licensure in Massachusetts are required to take and pass a two- or three-part
test that includes a test of communication and literacy skills, a subject
matter test and, in some instances, a reading test. More information about
these tests can be obtained in the Educator Licensure Office, School of
Education, Room 130, Furcolo Hall, (413) 545-2701; or at the Massachusetts
Department of Education, (781) 388-3300, x253 or their website.
Q: If I have a Bachelor's degree, can I receive Initial Licensure without seeking a Master's degree?
Yes. The Division
of Continuing Education on the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus,
in cooperation with some programs, offers a route of admission
for those who already have an appropriate bachelor's degree to work toward
licensure without having to earn a Master's degree. These candidates are
post-baccalaureate candidates. For more information, please contact the
Division of Continuing Education at (413) 545-0530, or visit their website.
Q: If I graduate from a Educator Licensure Advisory Council (ELAC) approved program, will I get licensed?
Graduates from an Educator Licensure Advisory Council (ELAC) approved program submit an application
for Massachusetts Licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Education
through the Educator Licensure Office. If you have completed all program
requirements and are recommended by the program director, the Educator Licensure Officer will recommend you for the appropriate license. However,
you must also pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure in order
to obtain licensure from the State.
Q: I'm not from Massachusetts and want to get licensed in my home state. Can I do this if I complete a program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst?
Department of Education has signed the Interstate Certification Compact
(ICC) agreement with 44 states and the District of Columbia. A list of
these states is as follows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado,
Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii,
Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi,
Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North
Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia,
and Wyoming. This means that if you complete a program at the University
of Massachusetts Amherst and then pass whatever test is required in a
state listed above, that state will accept your credentials for the appropriate
certificate. In addition, other states will recognize graduates of our
NCATE-approved institution. Reciprocity will usually be only for the initial
level of certification in each state. Other states may review your records
on a course-by-course basis once you apply. See the Links
to Department of Education Websites for more details.
Q: To be licensed as a reading specialist, do I need a classroom teaching certificate?
The Commonwealth of
Massachusetts requires a classroom license and at least one year of experience
at that level for Reading Licensure. However, please note that the Reading
Licensure Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst requires
a classroom license and a minimum of three years teaching experience before
admission to the program. For more information about reading specialist licensure, contact Professor Jerri Willett.
Q: To be licensed as a school guidance counselor, do I need a classroom teaching license?
You do not need to
hold a regular teaching license in order to hold a school counselor license.
You do, however, need to fulfill the requirements for school counseling.
For more information about the school guidance counselor program, contact
Professor John C. Carey at
Q: To be licensed as a school administrator, do I need a classroom teaching license?
school administrator licensure have two options. Under Option I, they
are required to hold a Professional license in another educational role
and completion of three years teaching/supervisory experience in the role
which they hold a license. Alternatively, under Option II, the candidate
must have three years of employment in an executive management/leadership
role in a non-educational setting. For more information about school administration
Matthew Militello at (413) 545-1188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Who is the best person to answer my questions about licensure?
If you know the subject and/or grade level you want to teach, you should contact the individual program. See the directory for representative contact information. If you have general questions, contact the University Licensure Officer, in Room 130, Furcolo Hall (School of Education) at (413) 545-2701.
Q: Where can I find additional information on licensure in Massachusetts?
Please click here for more information.