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Massachusetts Teacher Certification

This page is sponsored by Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in Massachusetts.


To become a certified teacher in Massachusetts, you will need to fulfill all prerequisite coursework, teacher preparation, and testing requirements.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating the site with new information on a regular basis. To stay up-to-date with the latest in teacher certification, please complete the form in the right sidebar.

Certification Requirements

Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. CertificationMap.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015

The Massachusetts Educator Licensure and Recruitment Department offers two types of licensure for those seeking their initial teaching licensure. A Preliminary License or Initial License is offered, depending on candidates’ background and experience.


Requirements Validity Type of License
Bachelor’s Degree or higher
Passing MTEL score(s)
Additional coursework taken towards licensure
Valid for 5 years of employment
Offered to those who have not completed an Approved Educator Preparation Program
Preliminary License
Bachelor’s Degree or higher
Passing MTEL score(s)
Completion of an Educator Preparation Program
Valid for 5 years of employment, & may be extended for an additional 5 years Initial License


Visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for additional

Massachusetts Teacher Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Massachusettes, however, does not have general mandatory undergraduate credit hour requirements. Prerequisite coursework varies, depending on different state-approved teacher preparation programs.

Massachusetts Teacher Preparation

Teacher preparation includes the completion of an accredited teacher education program.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Information about alternative certification in Massachusetts is coming soon!

Massachusetts currently endorses four types of teacher preparation programs: programs run by colleges and universities, alternative/practice-based programs, the Massachusetts Initiative for New Teachers (MINT), and the Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure.

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers exclusive to the State of Massachusetts, visit our Massachusetts Teacher Scholarships page.

Massachusetts Required Tests

In order to become a certified teacher in the state of Massachusetts, candidates must complete and pass a Basic Skills Assessment and Content Area Assessment(s) through the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). Teaching candidates are required to successfully complete the MTEL Communication & Literacy test as well as the subject matter knowledge test(s) required for the desired area of certification. Visit MTEL for a list of required tests.

Massachusetts Certification Reciprocity

Massachusetts will accept some teaching credentials from all but the following states: Alaska, Iowa, and Minnesota. Contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

Massachusetts Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: Massachusetts provides differential pay support for teachers teaching in high needs schools and teachers teaching in shortage subject areas
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: Massachusetts has strong induction policies in place
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $62,570
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $62,850
  • Teacher Salary vs. State Average Salary: The average teacher in Massachusetts makes 116% of the salary of the average worker in Massachusetts
  • Average Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teach in Boston

The city of Boston, Massachusetts operates under its own school district of Boston Public Schools (BPS). Boston Public Schools accept the same teaching credentials as the state of Massachusetts, but provide teaching candidates with additional job opportunities.

Substitute Teachers

In order to become a substitute teacher within the Boston Public School system, applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

  1. Hold a valid teaching license issued by the Massachusetts ESE (or another state).
  2. Have a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an accredited institution. Those currently pursuing their undergraduate degree in education may also apply, contingent on superintendent referral.
  3. Have two years of K-12 classroom, substitute or practicum teaching experience.

Applicants who are accepted and do not hold an initial teaching license must take and pass the Boston Substitute Teacher Training Program. After training, candidates may apply for substitute teaching positions through the BPS Career Center.

Apply for Jobs in the Boston Public School System

BPS Career Center

The BPS Career Center is an online portal designed to allow teaching applicants to upload their personal and professional information, search for job vacancies and apply online.

Applying for Certification

Background Check

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education does not require background checks and/or fingerprint clearance for educator licensure. However, individual hiring schools may require candidates to complete and pass a background clearance on both a state and federal level.

Massachusetts Teaching Jobs

The Massachusetts DESE offers a variety of employment resources for those searching for job opportunities within the field of education.

Massachusetts Educators Career Center

My Career Center allows teaching candidates to upload their personal and professional information, update teaching credentials, and search for job opportunities within the state of Massachusetts.

State Opportunities: Massachusetts Human Resources Division

The Massachusetts Human Resources Division is an online portal that allows applicants to search for job vacancies throughout the state’s governmental agencies. After clicking “Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education” and/or “Dept. of Early Education and Care,” applicants are able to search for teaching vacancies within the departments and apply online.

Student Internship Opportunities: Massachusetts DESE Internship Program

Massachusetts offers unpaid internship opportunities for eligible students within a variety of education fields in the following programs:

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Student Assessment
  • Special Education Planning and Policy
  • Planning, Research and Program Evaluation

Applicants may apply online or send resumes and letters of intent to HRINT@doe.mass.edu, or to:

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Human Resources Department

75 Pleasant Street

Malden, MA 021148

Massachusetts Substitute Teacher Requirements

Please click here to learn more about how to become a substitute teacher in Massachusetts.

Contact Information

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Office of Educator Licensure

75 Pleasant Street

Malden, MA 02148

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