Initial License (MA)

Language Credentialing

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Published on: 6/10/2019

Initial License (MA)

The Initial License for all applicants who have completed a teacher program.
License Valid for 5 years
Employment: Not Required

The following states may accept this route:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

State Information
State: Massachusetts
Contact Name: Office of Educator Licensure
Contact Phone: 781-338-6600
For more information please visit the state website:

MTEL - Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure For educators prepared outside of the United States, completion of a Panel Review in accordance with Department guidelines is required.

Minimum Academic Background
In most states, teachers must have a minimum academic background for certification.
The following is required for this route:
BA Degree + Completed State Approved Teacher Education Program

Basic Skills
In most states, teachers must verify basic skills in English (Reading and Writing) and Mathematics through coursework, exams, or degree evaluations.
The following is required for this route:
District Administered Exam
Exam(s): Passing the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test (reading and writing subtests) is required for all types of licenses (teacher, specialist teacher, support personnel and administrator).

Teacher Preparation
In most states, teachers are required to complete training in education methods through a teacher program.
The following is required for this route:
State Approved Teacher Education Program
Student Teaching
Required Sheltered English Immerison (SEI) endorsement

Content Language and English Language Proficiency
In most states, teachers are required to submit evidence of content language proficiency and English language proficiency through coursework, exams, or degree evaluations.
The following is required for this route:
Content Language Proficiency:

Exam(s): MTEL subject matter test is required for Chinese (Mandarin), French, Geman, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. Competency Review is required for languages where a subject matter test is not offered by MTEL.

Will NOT Accept Scores from Out of State

SEI (Sheltered English Immersion) requirement can be met through one of the following pathways: Enroll in and successfully complete a for-cost course sponsored by an DESE-approved vendor; or Complete a Massachusetts-approved educator preparation program for the applicable license; or Take and pass the SEI MTEL; or Hold an ESL/ELL license in Massachusetts; or Possess a Bachelor's degree in an DESE-approved major or DESE-approved graduate-level training. If you believe that you may qualify for the Endorsement by virtue of having the appropriate degree or graduate level training, you may submit materials to the Office of Educator Licensure for review. Application for the endorsement should be done via the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system.

Applying to the State
In most states, teachers must apply to the state Individually or through their local School District, or Teacher Program Institution. Requirements for the application are outlined below:

Application Submission: Individual
Online at:
Form at:
Form Mailing Address:
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education The Office of Educator Licensure 75 Pleasant Street Malden, MA 02148

Copy of Academic Transcripts: Required

Copy of International Records: Required
Transcript Evaluation Required

Background Check
Varies by District

Renewal: Renewable
Renewal information found at The Initial License may be extended once in order to fulfill requirements for Professional License. Downloaded form at: Conditions for extension: 1. Have been employed for five years under a valid initial license 2. Official letter by a principal, superintendent, or head administrator validating five years of employment under your Initial license. 3. Submit a letter or form outlining plans to complete the requirements for Professional licensure in the next 5 years.

Notes: Applicant may find the form under "License and Endorsements: Application / How to Apply" First time applicants must pay a $100 fee for the first license area/level applied for. Any additional license areas/levels will cost $25 each. Processing time is approximate. Applicants can call the Licensure Call Center at 781-338-6600 to hear a general progress report of which applicants are currently being reviewed by the Department.
Before being hired by any Massachusetts school system, applicant must undergo a criminal background check. For recent updates to background record check process see:
The Initial License may be extended once in order to fulfill requirements for Professional License.

Old website: Good for checking world language requirements.