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How to Become a Biology Teacher in Massachusetts

If you're interested in becoming a certified biology teacher in the state of Massachusetts, read about the educational requirements, MTEL testing process, and Initial License. These pieces of knowledge should help you prepare for future steps.

The state of Massachusetts endorses biology teachers to instruct grades 5-8 or 8-12. Teachers will need to choose whether to pursue middle school certification or secondary certification prior to starting the certification process.

Massachusetts Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Massachusetts (2016)* $74,400 (Middle School), $76,170 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's
Degree Field Biology/Science Education
Testing Requirements 2 MTEL Exams: Communication and Literacy Skills, Biology

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree

Students looking to become biology teachers in the state of Massachusetts will need to graduate from an approved, accredited teacher preparation program with a degree in biology education. Some schools will offer a more general science education major with the option to specialize in biology. Ultimately, students should be sure the program they choose prepares them for future biology testing. Each program will be different, but all will place an emphasis on educational principles. Some classes students will likely take include:

  • Education & Society
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Child/Adolescent Development

Students will participate in a teaching internship prior to graduation in order to get some experience working directly with the age group they hope to teach. Students should also be sure to complete the Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) requirement during their program, or the state may require additional testing otherwise.

Step 2: Take All Required MTEL Exams

The state of Massachusetts requires all future teachers to take the appropriate tests in the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) series. All teachers need to take the Communication and Literacy Skills MTEL exam, which is made up of two subtests: reading (42 multiple-choice questions) and writing (35 multiple-choice questions, 7 short answers, and 2 open-response questions). This exam takes 4 hours and requires at least 240 on each subtest. The test costs $112.

Future biology teachers will also take the Biology MTEL, which is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 open-response assignments. The test is $139 and taken over 4 hours. Test-takers need to score at least a 240 on this test.

Step 3: Complete the Application Steps Necessary for Certification

Teachers are ready to apply for their Massachusetts teaching license, called the Initial License, when all educational requirements and MTEL testing are complete. Teachers will use the Educator Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) tool on the Massachusetts Department of Education website to submit all necessary materials, including transcripts, test scores, and proof of completion of the SEI requirement. The Initial License is valid in the state of Massachusetts for five years, after which teachers can renew the license or apply for their Professional License.

Study Resources for Future Massachusetts Teachers

Ready to start studying for the MTEL exams? Take a look at the following study guides and practice the types of questions you'll encounter on test day.


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