How to Become a Reading Teacher in Massachusetts

Jan 02, 2019

Reading teachers, also referred to as reading specialists, focus on language and the craft of writing from kindergarten all the way through high school. The skills of a reading specialist are essential in any classroom setting, and as such, require careful preparation during the pursuit of a degree.

Requirements for Reading Teachers in Massachusetts

Average Salary for Massachusetts Teachers (2017)* $71,790 (Kindergarten), $76,590 (Elementary), $74,400 (Middle), $76,170 (Secondary)
Required Degree Master's degree
Degree Field Education/English
Testing Requirements MTEL Communication and Literacy Test, MTEL Reading Specialist Test, additional MTEL tests based on grade level

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn Your Undergraduate Degree

As you work your way toward a reading specialist credential, you will go through multiple levels of education in Massachusetts. The first college-level requirement is a bachelor's degree, one that includes a student teaching component to help give you the necessary background in a direct classroom setting. Teachers for kindergarten through sixth grade can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Education for elementary students. This program can include courses such as world literature, introduction to psychology, and critical multicultural education. A Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education gets you ready to teach grades five through eight, and focuses on classes like foundations and principles of education and psychology of learning and assessment. There is also a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education if you wish to teach high school students. Courses with this degree might include special methods for the secondary school, as well as strategies for group management. All education programs must contain a teacher education practicum, allowing you to experience student teaching first-hand.

Step 2: Pass Your First MTEL Exams

Before you can hold credentials as a reading specialist, you will find yourself in a general classroom, and earning your initial license requires a number of other MTEL tests. To begin, the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test is necessary for all educators, regardless of grade level. This two-part exam contains a reading section and a writing section, both containing multiple-choice questions. The writing test also holds open-response and short-answer sentence correction material. Appointments can be made to take both sections together or separately.

MTEL tests also exist for different grade levels; elementary teachers will take the General Curriculum and Foundations of Reading exams, middle school teachers have the Middle School Humanities test, and high school educators will need the English exam. Content among the exams will vary, but the same score of 240 is required to pass all subtests under the MTEL banner.

Step 3: Earn Your Initial License

Once you have completed your bachelor's program, you can apply for your Massachusetts Initial License as a teacher. Though you are able to apply for this license at any time during your studies, the application will not enter the review phase until all educational and testing requirements are met. The fee for the initial license is $100, payable upon submission of the application. The online system can also be used to request a hard copy of your teaching license if it becomes necessary. School districts can also use your profile to validate your licensed status, so be sure to keep all of your personal information up to date.

Step 4: Become a Reading Specialist

After gaining your initial license, you can pursue the further education necessary to gain more credentials as a reading specialist. A Master of Education in Reading and Language contains all the tools you need to become a licensed expert in language and writing. The program contains classes such as theory and research in reading and language, language acquisition, and young adult literature. You will also go through another student teaching session. Upon completing the degree, you are eligible to take the MTEL Reading exam, and once you pass, you can officially call yourself a reading specialist!

Additional Resources for Reading Teachers in Massachusetts

When you're getting ready to take your MTEL exams, have a look at the practice material available in's database. You can review for a number of different tests and find out how much you know in the following guides:

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