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How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in Massachusetts

Read about Initial Licensure in Massachusetts and find out how to become certified. Get details on educational requirements, MTEL testing, and the certification process.

Massachusetts has been nationally recognized for its public schools and celebrates its education system yearly through the Leading the Nation campaign. The state certifies kindergarten teachers and offers Initial Licenses to teachers that have met all requirements.

Massachusetts Teacher Salary Information and Requirements

Average Salary for Kindergarten Teachers in Massachusetts (2016)* $71,790 (Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Early Childhood Education
Testing Requirements 3 MTELs: Early Childhood, Foundations of Reading, Communication and Literacy

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Graduate with a Bachelor's Degree

Kindergarten teachers in Massachusetts are required to complete an approved, accredited teacher preparation program and graduate with a degree in Early Childhood Education. There are multiple programs in the state that will prepare students, and while all programs will be slightly different, most will require classes like:

  • Understanding Diversity and Disability
  • Teaching Mathematics
  • Education & Society
  • Program Development for Infants/Toddlers

The program a student enrolls in should have a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) component, as this will later be a requirement for certification. If the program happens not to have an SEI component, students will have to take additional testing. Students will also complete student teaching during their final year at their university.

Step 2: Pass All Required Tests

When all education requirements are complete, teachers will be ready to take all required testing. Massachusetts mandates that all teachers score at least a 240 on the Communication and Literacy Skills Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL), which is made up of a reading subtest (42 multiple-choice questions) and a writing subtest (35 multiple-choice questions, 7 short-answers, and 2 open-response assignments). The test takes 4 hours and costs $112.

Future kindergarten teachers will also take the Early Childhood Education exam, which is made up of 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 open-response questions. The test is 4 hours and 15 minutes long, costs $139, and requires a score of at least 240. Finally, teachers will take the Foundations of Reading exam, which is also 100 multiple-choice questions and 2 open-response questions. The test is $139, requires a 240, and is 4 hours and 15 minutes long.

Step 3: Complete the Certification Application

After MTEL testing is finished, teachers can apply for their Initial Certificate. Teachers will apply online through the Department of Education, and the Education Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) system will guide applicants through each step. Teachers will need to provide proof of education, testing, and the SEI endorsement. The Initial License is valid for 5 years and can be extended for another 5 years if the teacher chooses not to pursue the Professional License.

Study Resources for Future Massachusetts Teachers

Do you want to get started studying for the MTELs? Check out the resources below for study guides and practice questions so you can be ready for your certification.


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