The Massachusetts Teaching and Certification Resource
Becoming a certified teacher in Massachusetts is a fairly straightforward process, depending on education and experience. Like all states, Massachusetts requires that all educators acquire a teacher certification from the state before they can teacher in the K-12 public school system. The Massachusetts teacher certification process is overseen by the Office of Educator Licensure within the Massachusetts Department of Education and is outlined in detail below.
How to Become a Teacher in Massachusetts
There are several different paths that lead to Massachusetts teacher certification. The traditional path for becoming a teacher requires the completion of a Massachusetts educator certification program at a state-approved institute of higher learning whereas the alternative path requires a bachelor’s degree, a passing score on the Massachusetts Test(s) for Educator Licensure (MTEL) and a willingness to complete the requirements for an initial teaching license while teaching full-time.
As far as teacher reciprocity, Massachusetts participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement which allows teachers who are certified to teach in other states the opportunity to receive a Massachusetts teacher licensing as well. Teachers with an out-of-state certification may be eligible for a Temporary license, which is valid for one year. For further details, it’s best to contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE).
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Massachusetts
Perhaps the most important step to becoming a Massachusetts teacher is completing a Massachusetts teachers certification program at an accredited school. When issuing certifications, the Mass DOE will look for the corresponding regional accreditation to confirm that the school is accredited by its regional accreditation agency.
There are six regional accrediting agencies in the US. They are overseen by the Department of Education and work on a regional scale. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) accredits Massachusetts schools. Anyone looking for teaching preparation programs should confirm that the school is in good standing with the NEASC. Without this accreditation, the state of Massachusetts will not grant teacher certification. Additionally, all online teaching certification programs should also be accredited. If the school is headquartered in another state (for example, University of Arizona), the school should be accredited by the corresponding accreditation agency.
Additionally, most states look for an accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. This is a relatively new organization that is the result a merger between two highly regarded accreditation organizations, the NCATE and TEAC. A CAEP accreditation may not be required by states (yet), but it is considered to be a symbol of highly rigorous standards in terms of curriculum, process and organization.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Massachusetts.
- I want to be a teacher in Massachusetts, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Massachusetts’ Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Massachusetts Teacher Education Requirements
Massachusetts requires that successful teaching candidates who are pursuing a traditional, initial teaching certificate complete an educator preparation program which results in a minimum of a bachelor’s degree at an approved post-secondary institute. In order for beginning teachers to progress from an initial license to a professional license, a teacher induction program must also be completed successfully. This program is designed to allow new teachers to benefit from the experience and knowledge of seasoned and successful educators who act as mentors and support teams during the first year of the individual’s teaching career. Upon the culmination of the teacher induction program, the individual may apply for a professional license. Once an educator receives a professional license, they must continue attending workshops and taking courses to earn the professional development points (PDPs) necessary for their certificate to be renewed.
The Occupation Supply & Demand System projects an annual average of 850 new job opportunities for elementary school teachers, an annual average of 520 new job opportunities for middle school teachers, and an annual average of 680 new job opportunities for secondary school teachers in Massachusetts through 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 66,540 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state (2013). Massachusetts elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $68,360, while middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $67,950 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $69,340 (BLS 2013). Visit the The Massachusetts Teacher Association for updates on the education job market and news regarding education in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Teacher Testing Requirements
The state of Massachusetts requires that anyone pursuing a teaching certification in Massachusetts take and pass the appropriate Massachusetts Test(s) for Educator Licensure (MTEL). Although the exact examinations required for individual candidates will vary depending on the grade level and subject area they plan to teach, generally speaking, prospective teachers will need to pass the Communication and Literacy Skills Test as well as a Subject test designed to assess the candidate’s expertise in their specific content area.
Additional Massachusetts Teacher Certification Requirements
All Massachusetts educators employed in public and private schools are required to undergo state and national background checks and a fingerprinting process. This process may be done by soliciting a fingerprinting card from the ESE and having official fingerprinting done at any local law enforcement office.
Massachusetts Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once applicants have completed all the requirements towards Massachusetts teacher certification, all pertinent information should be sent in to the Department. Applicants can send in their applications either online or through the mail. The Massachusetts Certification Office receives a lot of applications in June, July and August, so it’s advisable to send in all information three to four months in advance of your estimated date of employment.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
- Verification of completion of a Massachusetts teacher certification orogram
- Passing score on the Educator Proficiency Assessments
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee
- Submission of completed application for certification
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Office of Educator Licensure
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148
Visit the Massachusetts Department of Education for further details on the process of teaching certification in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Elementary School Teachers||26,570||$65,850|
|Middle School Teachers||16,340||$65,160|
|Secondary School Teachers||22,510||$66,550|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Massachusetts
Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Massachusetts?
Answer: To be a substitute teacher in Massachusetts, you need to apply to individual districts. Some districts require that you have a teaching license through the state, but you must at least have a high school diploma. You also need to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check.
Teaching and Education Programs
1. Massachusetts State Department of Education: http://www.doe.mass.edu
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000
Page edited by Charles Sipe.