Alternative Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

Not everyone takes a regular, straight path to becoming a teacher. Find out how you can use your educational background to gain an alternative certification in Massachusetts to begin your career as a teacher!

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In Massachusetts, there isn't a lot of wiggle room for teachers to take other paths to getting a license. A Provisional License is available to those who don't yet have their educational backgrounds complete, but if you want to make a full-time career out of teaching, you'll eventually need to gain an Initial License.

Requirements for Alternative Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

Average Salary for Teachers in Massachusetts (2017)* $71,790 (Kindergarten), $76,590 (Elementary), $74,400 (Middle), $76,170 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills, MTEL Tests in subject and grade areas

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Alternative Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

There is no getting around the requirement for a bachelor's degree if you're going to become a teacher in Massachusetts, even through alternative channels. Your degree program has to include a teacher education aspect, allowing you to get direct experience with student teaching. A Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with licensure will allow you to teach students in kindergarten through sixth grade, working with a general curriculum and variety of subjects. Classes in this degree program can include child development, early literacy and reading, and principles of teaching and learning. For fifth through eighth grade, you can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education. You could possibly take organization and curriculum of the middle school, special methods for the middle schools, and strategies for group management as part of your studies. Finally, there is the Bachelor of Science in High School Education, aimed at grades nine through twelve. Applied adolescent psychology, reading in the content areas, and psychology of learning and assessment may be part of the curriculum in this degree program. All student-teaching experiences typically come during the final semester.

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Testing Requirements for Alternative Teacher Certification

Getting a different kind of license to teach in Massachusetts still requires the passing of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTLE). The Communication and Literacy Skills test is required for all core academic teachers. Consisting of one reading and one writing subtest, this exam requires a score of 240 on each subtest to pass. The reading section is made up of all multiple-choice questions, and along with this format, the writing section also contains short-answer sentence completion and open-response questions. From here, there are a number of other MTEL tests you might have to take, depending on the grade and subject of your classroom. For example, a high school English teacher would need to pass the MTEL English exam, which comes in multiple-choice format and also has two open-response assignments. The same score of 240 is required for passing.

Alternative Options for Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

Normally, teachers with bachelor's degrees would apply for an Initial License through the commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, the other option is a Provisional License, which can be earned before receiving the Sheltered English Immersion endorsement mandated by the state. All required MTEL tests must be taken and passed, and if no exam is available for your subject area, you will need to complete a Competency Review with the form provided on the education department's website. A Provisional License is valid for one period of five years and cannot be renewed. The fee for the license is $100, and this can be paid through the online portal, where you can also request a hard copy of your license and update your personal information as requested by any hiring school district.

Additional Resources for Alternative Teacher Certification in Massachusetts

As you work your way through your academic career, take advantage of the material available on to review what you have learned. You can use the practice guides in the database to brush up on the following topics:

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