Educator Licensing Process

Educators, including teachers, support personnel, and administrators are required to hold a license issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in order to be eligible to teach in Massachusetts public schools. Every educator license can be broken down by category, field, grade level, and type, such as "elementary school teacher", "high school math teacher", or "all-grades reading specialist". Getting licensed in Massachusetts requires that you complete an approved licensure program (as an undergraduate, a post-baccalaureate, or a graduate student) and any appropriate licensure tests. The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) are designed to help ensure that Massachusetts educators can communicate adequately with students, parents/guardians, and other educators and that individuals are knowledgeable in the subject matter of the license(s) sought.  All educators seeking an Initial license in MA are required to take and pass the Communications and Literacy Skill MTEL test. Most licenses require educators to also take and pass additional subject matter knowledge tests.

Preparation of licensed educators at UMass Amherst is a campus wide effort coordinated through the College of Education's Educator Preparation Office.  Subject matter knowledge is central to all our significant array of professional preparation programs. Faculty from across the University contribute directly to the knowledge base for our candidates. We offer:

  • Outstanding preparation in general studies and subject matter specialty areas offered by departments throughout the University campus.
  • Professional preparation courses in the College of Education by outstanding teacher educators and researchers.
  • Field experiences and practicums in a diverse range of schools and appropriate agencies.
  • Close, thoughtful supervision by teacher educators.
  • Excellent advisors who assist in planning your program.

This page summarizes the steps and requirements we will help you complete over the course of your program. 


Key steps toward receiving an educator's license

As you work toward your educator license (which includes teaching, administrative, counseling, and school psychology licenses), you will complete a series of Licensure Forms (L-Forms)*. The L forms listed on this page will document your process through the various stages and are submitted to the College of Education's Educator Preparation Office as we help you prepare to apply for your educator license in Massachusetts.. Completing and submitting all forms in a timely fashion as you progress through the program will help make your process more efficient, especially when we are preparing transcripts and support for your licensure application. 

Please note that the following are licensure requirements only. Candidates may have additional degree requirements that are not listed below. Please check with your program coordinator or advisor for information about additional requirements and to help you track your progress. 

* Note that some licensing programs use a subset of these forms, your program coordinator will confirm which forms you will need to submit. 

Welcome to Licensure - Getting Oriented

Once you are admitted to a licensure program, you will meet with your advisor or program coordinator to map out your program of study. In your first semester you will be invited to a Licensure Orientation by the Educator Licensure Officer. This meeting provides you with important information to set up the various administrative systems within the university and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).  This sets the foundation for your final licensure endorsement by UMass, once you have completed the entire program.  Your initial license will be approved and issued by the DESE.

In your first semester you will go through an orientation process to give you the accounts and information you need for the program.

  • Tk20 account and L1 form (Program Admission and Enrollment Form).

The TK20 system is used for completing forms, submitting MTEL scores, and (in most programs) collecting materials for your portfolio. Once admitted to the licensure program, the licensure candidates purchase a TK20 account (except Speech Language Pathology licensure program candidates) and complete the L1 form within the Tk20 system. 

  • Licensure Orientation Session

At this session you will learn about details about the licensure process and begin your application for a license by creating an account on ELAR (the Massachusetts Department of Education system for license applications and renewals), apply for the license, and pay applicable fees as regulated by the state.

  • Official Undergraduate Transcript (Grad students only)

The licensure candidates should request an official undergraduate transcript to be sent to the Educator Preparation office if they did not attend UMASS Amherst as an undergraduate.

Remember to submit a copy of your MTEL scores. The Educator Preparation Office must have a copy of your individual MTEL score report on file for licensure purposes. (Note: the testing company sends scores to the college, but in a form that is not able to be used for individual files or licensure applications.)

Pre-practicum - preparing to be in a school

All licensure programs require some pre-practicum experience in schools to observe and prepare you for your practicum. The timing and number of pre-practicums will depend on your specific program. For each in-school pre-practicum experience, you will fill out a L2-PPC form.

  • L2-PPC form (Pre-Practicum Placement Contract Form)

The licensure candidates should complete a Pre-Practicum Placement Contract Form (L2-PPC) prior to starting the pre-practicum


Practicum/Internship - working in a school

During your practicum/internship, you will work in a school under the supervision of an experienced professional. You will fill out the placement contract (L2) form before you enter the practicum and an assessment form (L3) as you complete the practicum.

  • MTEL score report

All candidates for educator licensure in Massachusetts must pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). In general, licensure candidates at UMASS Amherst are expected to pass the MTEL before they start the full practicum and upload their score report to their TK20 account.

  • L2 form (Practicum Placement Contact Form)

The licensure candidates should complete a Practicum Placement Contact Form (L2) prior to starting the practicum. Depending on the licensure program, some programs require more than one L2 form.

  • L3 form (Candidate Assessment form or Professional Support Personnel Practicum/Practicum Equivalent form)

Licensure candidates should complete a Candidate Assessment form (L3) at the end of practicum. 


Completion of Licensure Program

At the end of your program you will confirm that you have completed all requirements and complete the license application that you started in your first semester orientation.

  • (Teacher candidates only) Complete your portfolio in TK20

  • L4 form (Licensure Program Completion Form) 

Your program coordinator will complete your Licensure Program Completion Form (L4) when you have successfully finished the coursework, practicum, and degree requirements.


As needed

The following forms are in DocuSign PowerForm format. They can be completed and signed virtually through DocuSign. We recommend that you confirm that your forms have been received by the Educator Preparation Office by emailing

MTEL Deferral Form:

The program coordinators should complete this form in order to request that a candidate defer their MTEL test to a later stage in their program. It is important to note the UMass endorses candidates that complete our programs, and the DESE will only issue a license once all requirements are met which INCLUDE the successful completion of all MTEL tests.

Please note instructions below:

This form is to be started by the Teacher Candidate. Before starting to fill out the form, The Teacher Candidate must discuss the purpose of the form with their Program Coordinator and understand the successful completion of MTEL is still required to get licensed. The candidate will be prompted to enter their name and email, as well as the program coordinator’s name and email. Once the candidate completes their portion of the form, it will be automatically forwarded to the program coordinator. Once the program coordinator completes their portion of the form, the completed form will be forwarded to the Educator Preparation Office.

Course Waiver/Substitution Form

If the advisor has approved a transfer course(s) or the candidate has deviated from the program or study, a course waiver/substitution form should be filled out.

This form is to be started by the Program Coordinator. You will be prompted to enter your name and email, as well as the candidate's name and email. Once you complete your portion of the form, it will be automatically forwarded to the candidate. Once they complete their portion of the form, the completed form will be forwarded to the Educator Preparation Office.

Supervising Practitioner Waiver form

Program Coordinators should complete a Supervising Practitioner Waiver form in order to document a waiver for supervising practitioner’s licensure and/or appropriate experience.