Becoming an Elementary School Teacher in Massachusetts

Jan 02, 2019

Anyone with an interest in teaching elementary-aged students in Massachusetts can read about testing requirements, education prerequisites, and the certification process.

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Elementary educators in Massachusetts instruct students in grades 1-6. Educators are responsible for teaching many subjects, including math, literacy skills, and social science. Here, we'll explore the steps to licensure as well as examine the required tests.

Massachusetts Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Elementary Teachers in Massachusetts (2016)* $76,590 (Elementary)
$69,470 (Special Education - /Kindergarten/Elementary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Elementary Education
Testing Requirements 3 MTELs: General Curriculum, Foundations of Reading (or Reading Specialist), Communication and Literacy

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree

All future elementary educators in the state of Massachusetts must graduate from an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. Students will need to pursue a degree in elementary education, and there are multiple programs available in the state. All programs will vary slightly, but most will include classes like:

  • Education and Society
  • Teaching Math and Science
  • Children's Literature
  • Developmental Psychology

Students must complete a program with a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) component. If the program of study does not offer an SEI endorsement, students will need to take additional Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). Additionally, students will complete teaching internships prior to graduation in order to gain experience in the classroom with elementary-aged students.

Step 2: Take All Required Tests

Every teacher in the state of Massachusetts must complete the Communication and Literacy Skills MTEL. This exam is made up of two separate subtests (reading and writing) that can be taken together or separately. The reading subtest is made up of 42 multiple-choice questions, while the writing subtest is made up of 35 multiple-choice questions, 7 short-answer sentence corrections, and 2 open-response questions. Together, the subtests take 4 hours and cost $112. A score of 240 is required for each subtest.

Elementary educators are also required to take the Foundations of Reading exam. This test is $139 and 4 hours long. Test-takers will answer 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 open-response questions, scoring at least a 240 on the test. Additionally, the General Curriculum test is required for elementary educators. This test is made up of a math subtest (45 multiple-choice questions and 1 open-response question) and a multi-subject subtest (55 multiple-choice questions and 1 open-response question). The test costs $139 and requires a 240 on each subtest. Potential teachers must also fulfill a math competency requirement, which can be done by getting a passing score on the math General Curriculum subtest as well as by passing a math-specific subject matter test.

Step 3: Complete the Certification Application

Finally, teachers are ready to begin the online application process for the Initial Certificate. This process can be completed through the Educator Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) system, which will require transcripts, test scores, and the SEI requirement. When all of these materials have been gathered and submitted, teachers will receive their Initial Certificate and print it themselves. These certificates can be renewed after five years, unless teachers choose to pursue another license type.

Study Resources for Future Massachusetts Teachers

Ready to start studying now? There are lots of online resources available for future elementary school teachers. Look into the study guides below for practice.

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