Massachusetts Teaching Certification


Massachusetts Ed. Statistics

Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary*$82,450
Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary*$81,070
Avg. Admin. Salary*$107,410
Teacher Retention (?)95%
Vacation Wks/Yr15

Learn how to become a teacher in Massachusetts (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:

Getting Involved…

Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country’s overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how Massachusetts measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).

Step 1
Learn About Your Governor’s Track Record

Learn about your Governor’s views and voting record with regard to education. (see Massachusetts Governor’s website).

Step 2
Give Your Knowledge Power By Voting

Hold your public servants accountable. It is our duty as residents of Alabama.

Help Make Education A Priority

Initial Massachusetts Teaching Certification

Governor Deval Patrick has made a new state budget proposal that would see funding for public education in Massachusetts increase by $145 million in 2013. A proposal of $4.1 billion for Chapter 70 K-12 education aid was also included to ensure that all school districts in the state are funded at current foundation levels, which means their funding would be guaranteed to be equal to or greater than the funding they received last year. New teachers, as well as those aspiring to become teachers in Massachusetts, are heartened by the news that the state plans to spend record amounts of money to support public education in the coming year. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in Massachusetts.

Education Requirements

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (781-338-3000) requires that applicants for teaching licensure posses a bachelor’s degree at minimum earned through a state-approved educator preparation program. These programs are offered at the bachelor’s and post-bachelor’s levels.

What if you completed your educator preparation in another state? If that state is a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Contract, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education will accept your college credits towards Massachusetts educator licensure. If the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education accredits your program, Massachusetts will also accept your credits.

If your teacher preparation program was completed in another country, you must have a course-by-course credit evaluation conducted by one of the foreign credential evaluation agencies listed here.

Licensure Options
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education offers different types of educator licenses based upon your qualifications. They include:

  • Preliminary License: This type of license is issued to applicants who have not yet completed an educator preparation program. It requires that you hold a bachelor’s degree and receive passing scores on the applicable Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) (see below). This type of license is valid for five years.
  • Temporary License: Offered to licensed teachers from other states with at least three years of experience, this type of license is valid for one year.
  • Initial License: This type of license is typically issued to those who have a bachelor’s degree, have graduated from an approved educator preparation program, and who have passed the MTEL. It is valid for five years.
  • Professional License: Once you have your Initial License, you must work under it for three years, complete a Teacher Induction Program, and complete the educational requirements under one of the options listed here to earn your Professional License. It is valid for five years.

To determine the requirements for a particular license, click here.


The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education uses the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) to assess educator performance.

Basic skills testing:
Based upon your college’s requirements and/or your grades, you may be asked to take the MTEL Communications and Literacy Skills Test, which tests reading and writing.

Content area assessment testing:
You must pass the subject level MTEL test(s) corresponding to the area in which you wish to become licensed to teach. Possible subject areas and grade levels include:

  • Early Childhood (Grades PK-2)
  • Elementary (Grades 1-6)
  • Middle School: Humanities (English/History) (Grades 5-8)
  • Middle School: Mathematics/Science (Grades 5-8)
  • Biology (Grades 5-8 or 8-12)
  • Business (Grades 5-12)
  • Chemistry (Grades 5-8 or 8-12)
  • Dance (All Grades)
  • Earth Science (Grades 5-8 or 8-12)
  • English (Grades 5-8 or 8-12)
  • English as a Second Language (Grades PK-6 or 5-12)
  • Foreign Languages (Grades PK-6 or 5-12):
    • Chinese (Mandarin)
    • French
    • German
    • Italian
    • Portuguese
    • Russian
    • Spanish
  • General Science (Grades 1-6 or 5-8)
  • Health/Family and Consumer Sciences (All Grades)
  • History (Grades 1-6, 5-8, or 8-12)
  • Instructional Technology (All Grades)
  • Latin & Classical Humanities (Grades 5-12)
  • Mathematics (Grades 1-6, 5-8, or 8-12)
  • Music – Vocational/Instrumental/General (All Grades)
  • Physical Education (Grades PK-8 or 5-12)
  • Physics (Grades 5-8 or 8-12)
  • Political Science/Political Philosophy (Grades 5-8 or 8-12)
  • Speech (All Grades)
  • Technology/Engineering (All Grades)
  • Theater (All Grades)
  • Visual Art (Grades PK-8 or 5-12)
  • Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities (Grades PK-8 or 5-12)
  • Teacher of Students with Severe Disabilities (All Grades)
  • Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (All Grades)
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired (All Grades)
  • Academically Advanced (Grades PK-8)
  • Reading (All Grades)
  • Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders (All Grades)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education provides this list of schools in the state that offer MTEL test preparation courses.

Experience Requirements

Under the rules of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, as a licensure applicant, you are expected to have completed a student teaching internship experience of at least 150 to 300 hours in the subject area/grade level in which you wish to become licensed. (The length of your internship is based upon your chosen subject/grade level. Individual licensure requirements for internship length may be found here in 7.04 (4)).

This experience must take place in the classroom, under the guidance and mentorship of the classroom teacher of record. You will participate in a variety of activities while serving your student teaching internship, including developing and implementing lesson plans, leading the class, and assisting the teacher of record in his or her daily duties. At the end of your internship, your performance will be assessed (using these Preservice Performance Assessment (PPA) guidelines) by an official from your educator preparation program and/or your classroom teacher/mentor.

Document and Application Requirements

When you have fulfilled all of the state’s requirements for educator licensure (i.e., completed your educator preparation program, including the student teaching experience; earned at least a bachelor’s degree, and passed the MTEL exams that apply to your situation), you are ready to apply for teacher licensure in Massachusetts. This may be done online through the ESE Security Portal or you may mail a hard copy application.

You will be asked to submit official college transcripts along with your application for licensure. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education should already have your MTEL score reports. Make sure to enclose the $100 application fee made payable (via check, money order, or credit card) to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If your license requires employment verification letters, attach them or send them separately. Print your social security number, MEPID, or educator license number on the face of every document you submit to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Educator Licensure, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148.

Criminal History Background Check

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education is certified by the Criminal History Systems Board to access any current or pending criminal data on applicants for teacher licensure. On your licensure application, you will be asked to affirm that you have no criminal history background. If you do, the Department is authorized to investigate. Before being hired by any Massachusetts school system, you must undergo a criminal background check. Information on this process will be provided to you upon your application for a teaching position with a Massachusetts school district.

Contact Information

If you need information on educator preparation programs in Massachusetts, visit the Educator Preparation Programs Directory to contact them directly.

For more information on educator licensure in Massachusetts, contact the Office of Educator Licensure at their website, or by calling 781-338-6600.

*2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data – Conditions in your area may vary.

**Teacher Retention Sources – U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”),
and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.

State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.