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Becoming a Special Education Teacher in Massachusetts

Now that you have made the decision to become a special education teacher in Massachusetts, you can look forward to a rewarding career. Find out what you need to study, which exams you'll have to take, and how to get your license in Massachusetts!

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Educators who wish to work with exceptional students will undergo the same licensing process as other teachers in Massachusetts. Bachelor's degrees in special education are divided among age groups, and once you determine your preferred class age, you can determine where you want to apply!

Massachusetts Special Education Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Special Education Teachers in Massachusetts (2017)* $69,470 (Kindergarten and Elementary), $67,810 (Middle), $70,080 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Special Education with Moderate Disabilities
Testing Requirements MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills, MTEL Subject tests

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Massachusetts

Teachers working with special needs students must have a bachelor's degree to obtain employment within the commonwealth of Massachusetts. A Bachelor of Science in Education for the special education of students with moderate disabilities is available in two areas. Both come with a direct path to licensure. For the PreK-8 concentration, future teachers can expect classes such as special education curriculum, behavior support for students with emotional/behavioral disorders, and developmental disabilities and self-determination. For the concentration in grades 5-12, classes can be taken in learning disabilities and instructional strategies, career education and transition for students with disabilities, and adolescent development. Both of these programs will include a student-teaching practicum, allowing future special education teachers to get hands-on experience in a classroom.

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Testing Requirements for Special Education Teachers in Massachusetts

The commonwealth uses the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) to examine the competency of teachers. For those who choose special education as their subject area, several tests must be passed before a license can be issued. First, the Communication and Literacy Skills exam is required of all teachers in Massachusetts. Comprised of two subtests - one in reading, one in writing - this exam contains a variety of questions in multiple-choice, short-answer sentence completion, and open-response formats. This exam can be broken into two appointments, or taken in one sitting. If a teacher is working toward a license for students in PreK-8, the General Curriculum and Foundations of Reading tests are required. Teachers for exceptional students with a license for grades 5-12 will also take Foundations of Reading, but they might be able to substitute a subject test in the 5-8 or 8-12 grade levels. All MTEL tests require a passing score of at least 240.

Massachusetts Special Education Teacher License Requirements

Special educators who seek a license for PreK-8 and 5-12 students can seek the same Initial License that traditional teachers would apply for during their first tenure as an educator. The Initial License is valid for five years, and can be renewed one time for an additional five-year period. This license requires the completion of the bachelor's degree, an SEI endorsement (included in all teacher education programs in Massachusetts), and the completion of the student-teaching practicum. Educators are free to apply for the license before their MTELs are completed, but licenses will not be issued until all necessary documentation is received. The license fee is $100, payable through the state department of education's online system.

Additional Resources for Special Education Teachers in Massachusetts

Study.com has an entire database full of practice guides available to those who are in the process of reviewing for their MTEL exams. Check out some of the study material available below:

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