Becoming a History Teacher in Massachusetts

Jan 02, 2019

Massachusetts is a national leader in education, and teachers are key to helping students succeed. As a result, the state has strict expectations for those looking to teach, regardless of the subject. Individuals passionate about teaching history can explore the steps needed to become a licensed teacher in the subject.

Salaries and Educational Requirements for History Teachers in Massachusetts

Average Salary for History Teachers in Massachusetts (2016)* $74,470 (Elementary School); $71,870 (Middle School); $74,040 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Degree Field Education, History
Testing Requirements Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure - History; Communication and Literacy Skills; Sheltered English Immersion (conditional)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete the Education Requirements

In Massachusetts, a bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program are required to become a licensed history teacher. There are several accredited, approved teacher preparation programs for future history teachers to choose from, regardless of the preferred age group.

No matter what grade a teacher aims to teach, the curriculum will likely include educational psychology, child development, and an introduction to school curriculum. All students should develop a sense of what age group they would prefer to teach so that later corresponding tests can be completed; this should be done during the mandatory internship component of the teacher prep program. Also, try to find a program that includes the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement (SEI), otherwise extra testing will be required later.

Step 2: Complete All Required Testing

A prospective history teacher must complete the required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, or MTELs. Students hoping to have a history specialty will have to take a subject test in addition to the general MTEL required for all K-12 applicants. All prospective history teachers must take the History MTEL, which is 4 hours and 15 minutes long. The passing score for this test is 240 and consists of 100 multiple choice questions and 2 free response questions. This test costs $139 and will be completed on a computer.

All teachers, regardless of grade or subject preference, are required to take the Communication and Literacy Skills MTEL. This exam consists of a reading subtest and a writing subtest Each of these subtests require 240 as a passing score and is completed on the computer within a 4 hour and 15-minute timeframe. The reading subtest contains 42 multiple-choice questions and costs $76. The writing subtest has 35 multiple-choice questions, 7 grammar-focused short answer questions and 2 essay-based questions; it costs $85. Students can choose to take the exams together and pay the full price of $112, or they can take them separately.

If a student's teacher preparation program did not cover Sheltered English Immersion (SEI), that student will most likely need to take the SEI MTEL to complete the requirement prior to applying for licensure. This test runs $166 at 4 hours and 15 minutes long. During this computer-based exam, test takers are expected to complete 60 multiple-choice questions, and an open response question that has 5 tasks assigned to it.

Step 3: Get Licensed to Teach

To be considered for licensure, students first need to create a profile through the Educator Licensure and Renewal tool on the Massachusetts Department of Education website. From there, prospective teachers will be required to submit transcripts, proof of degree conferral, teacher preparation program verification, MTEL exam scores, and an application fee of $100. When every step is complete, and the application is approved, students will be awarded an Initial License, which is valid for five years. After that license expires, teachers can extend it one time for another five years or go for a Professional License. The Professional License is ideal for those who have taught for at least three years and is renewable every five years until the teacher retires.

Licensure Resources for Future History Teachers

Since the state of Massachusetts has high expectations for aspiring teachers, having access to study materials is essential. Check out the links below for guides related to all the tests a future history teacher needs to get licensed.

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