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Becoming a Teacher in Massachusetts

Jan 02, 2019

Look into the requirements necessary for teacher certification in the state of Massachusetts. Discover which tests are required, which degree to pursue, and how to complete the online application process.

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The state of Massachusetts is currently experiencing a teacher shortage in several subjects, including mathematics and foreign languages. The state certifies teachers in pre-K-12 education, ensuring that every future teacher can find a subject and age group suited to his or her interests.

Massachusetts Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Massachusetts (2016)*
(except special education, career, technical)
$37,510 (Preschool)
$71,790 (Kindergarten)
$76,590 (Elementary)
$74,400 (Middle)
$76,170 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Education
Testing Requirements MTELs: Communication and Literacy and any applicable subject tests

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree

The state of Massachusetts requires all future teachers to pursue a degree in the education field most applicable to the age group and subject the teacher hopes to instruct. This could mean early childhood education, elementary education, or secondary education. Regardless of age and subject preference, all teachers will need to graduate from an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. Each program will vary, but all will include core classes designed to prepare students to enter their own classrooms. Such classes include:

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Education & Society
  • Teaching in an Inclusive Classroom
  • Classroom Management and Teaching Strategies

All students will also participate in some form of Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) education. This could take the form of classes during the preparation program, a separate preparation program, or even additional testing. Student teaching is also required for all future teachers.

Step 2: Take All Required Tests

Massachusetts educators are expected to complete all required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) exams prior to applying for certification. All teachers will take the Communication and Literacy Skills exam, which is made up to two separate subtests, each requiring a minimum score of 240. The reading portion is 100 multiple-choice questions, and the writing subtest is 35 multiple-choice questions, 7 short-answer sentence corrections, and 2 open-response questions. The exam is $112 and will be taken over the course of 4 hours.

Depending on the age group and subject area teachers wish to instruct, other MTELs will be required. These tests could range from the Foundations of Reading exam to specific math or science subject exams. It is important to check the updated MTEL website in order to guarantee that all testing requirements are met prior to applying for certification.

Step 3: Complete the Certification Application

When teachers have graduated and completed all testing, they are ready to begin the online application process. All teachers will login to the Educator Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) system and upload transcripts, test scores, and proof of the SEI endorsement. The process is streamlined and certificates will be provided online for teachers to print at their leisure. The Initial Certificate is valid for 5 years and available for renewal, though teachers will also have the option to pursue a different certificate.

Study Resources for Future Massachusetts Teachers

It is never too early to start studying for MTEL exams. Take a look at the study guides below and complete practice questions to prepare now.

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