Become a Teacher in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $76,590
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $76,170
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics External link  report

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. 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: 08/10/2018This page is sponsored by our partner 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 these requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Massachusetts teaching credential application.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating with new information on a regular basis.


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Step One: Massachusetts Prerequisite Coursework

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

The Massachusetts Office of Educator Licensure offers two types of licensure for those seeking their initial teaching licensure. A Preliminary License or Initial License is offered depending on a candidate’s background and experience.

Massachusetts Prerequisite Coursework
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

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Master’s Requirements

Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring or working teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.

The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.

Learn more about getting your MAT online with our partner USC Rossier School of Education.

Step Two: Massachusetts Teacher Preparation

Teacher preparation includes the completion of an accredited teacher education program. To learn more visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s Educator Preparation page or go to the department’s Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure for more information.

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.

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. For more information go to the Executive Office of Education’s Educator’s Licensure page.

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Step Three: 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 assessments 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.

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Step Four: Massachusetts Application Requirements

Background Check

Massachusetts law requires background checks and/or fingerprint clearance for educator licensure. For more information, visit the Executive Office of Education’s Background Checks law page.

Massachusetts Teaching Jobs

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

Teach in Boston

Boston Public Schools is the state’s largest school district with more than 54,000 students. 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.

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 internship opportunities for eligible students interested in maximizing their learning experiences. For more information, go to MDESE’s Internship Opportunities page.

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Massachusetts Certification Reciprocity

Massachusetts participates in interstate reciprocity with every state and the District of Columbia. For more information contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

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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 which include professional development, continuing education and mentoring programs
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $76,590
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $76,170
  • Average Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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