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Licensure and Testing Guide

This guide was developed to answer your questions about the requirements for becoming a licensed teacher in Massachusetts.

What is required to teach in a Massachusetts public school?

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires that teachers employed in public (and many private) school settings have an Initial License in the subject area and level they are teaching.

What are the levels of Massachusetts teacher licensure and what are the requirements to achieve each level?

There are three levels of licensure for Massachusetts teachers.

Preliminary License: issued to an individual who has:

  • Completed a bachelor's degree
  • Passed the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) in specific subject areas
  • Has met other eligibility requirements as determined by DESE
This license is valid for five years, however few school districts will offer a permanent teaching position to an individual who holds only a Preliminary license.


Initial License: issued to an individual who has:

  • Completed a bachelor's degree
  • Passed MTEL tests in specific required subject areas
  • Completed a state-approved educator preparation program
  • Has met other eligibility requirements as determined by DESE

    This license is valid for five years.


Professional License:
issued to an individual who has met the requirements for an Initial License in that field and has met additional eligibility requirements as determined by the DESE.

This license is valid for five years and is renewable for additional five year terms. (This license is typically applied for after three years of employment as a teacher with an Initial license.)

Are Curry's Master of Education programs state-approved?

Yes, Curry College offers three State-approved Initial Licensure programs within its Master of Education program.

  • Teacher: Elementary Education, Grades 1-6
  • Teacher: Moderate Disabilities, PreK-8
  • Reading Specialist*: All Levels (K-12)

*Note: Students seeking a Reading Specialist license must have an active Massachusetts Initial license and have been a teacher of record (meaning that you have taught in Massachusetts under that license) for at least one year. Students must submit verification of teaching employment upon admission into the Reading Specialist Program.

What is the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL)?

The MTEL are the tests that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requires teacher candidates to pass to obtain a teaching license. The MTEL program includes computer-based tests of communication and literacy skills, as well as tests of subject matter knowledge. These tests consist of multiple-choice items and open-response items that typically require responses in essay or problem-solving form. (www.mtel.nesinc.com)

Curry College's M.Ed. licensure program requires students to pass required MTEL examinations specific to their chosen program concentration.

Individuals seeking an Initial License in Elementary Education are required to pass the following MTEL tests:

  • Communication & Literacy Test
  • Foundations of Reading Test
  • General Curriculum Test* (Both Multi-Subject and Mathematics Portions)

Individuals seeking an Initial License as a teacher of Moderate Disabilities are required to pass the following MTEL tests:

  • Communication and Literacy Test
  • Foundations of Reading Test
  • General Curriculum Test* (Both Multi-Subject and Mathematics Portions)
Individuals seeking an Initial License as a Reading Specialist are required to pass the following MTEL tests:

  • Communication & Literacy Test
  • Reading Specialist Test
Please note: this information is subject to change



When should I take the MTEL Tests?

Tests are offered frequently at Pearson testing centers across Massachusetts. Register for tests early in your application process as seat availability is limited.

  • Communications and Literacy Skills Test (CLST) - The Communications and Literacy Skills test is a two-part test covering basic reading and writing skills. The test does not include material that is specifically related to teaching, but measures general reading and writing skills. Students must pass this test before enrolling in Curry's Master's program. The two parts of this test may be taken together, in one four-hour block, or may be divided into two separate testing blocks.

  • Foundations of Reading Test (FOR) - The Foundations of Reading computer-based test addresses the components of reading and methodologies for teaching reading. Most students will not have the knowledge required to pass this test until they have completed reading courses, therefore it is recommended that students wait to take this test until after they have taken MED 6040 - Literacy and Language Arts and a Reading Preparation Workshop. Students must pass this exam before entering the Practicum portion of the M.Ed. program. Curry College offers a review workshop each semester which is open to the general public.

  • General Curriculum Tests (GC)
    Mathematics Subtest
    The General Curriculum Mathematics subtest is a computer-based test that addresses the fundamentals of mathematics and mathematics instruction in the areas of Numbers & Operations, Functions and Algebra, Geometry & Measurement and Statistics and Probability and integration of knowledge and understanding. Students must take this test and submit your test results to be admitted into the M.Ed. program. A passing score is not required for admission, however your initial score is used for advising purposes. A passing score is required prior to entering the Practicum portion of the M.Ed. Program. Curry College offers review workshops at various times during the year; these workshops are open to the general public.

    Multi-Subject Subtest
    The General Curriculum test addresses subject matter and general knowledge outlined in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and Common Core at the elementary and middle school levels. This includes language arts, math, social studies, science, health and other various topics. A passing score is required prior to entering the Practicum portion of the M.Ed. program.



    How do I register for an MTEL test?

    MTEL tests are administered several times during the year at various Pearson testing locations throughout Massachusetts. Students can view seat availability and register on-line for the MTEL at www.mtel.nesinc.com. To take an MTEL exam, you must establish an MTEL account on the website. Payment is due at the time of registration and may be made using a credit card. Deadlines for test dates vary. Register early as seat availibility is limited and to also avoid late charges and penalties.

    Does Curry offer preparation and support for the MTEL examinations?

    Curry's Master of Education program offers a preparation workshop for the Foundations of Reading test and the General Curriculum Mathematics subtest. These workshops are offered at various times during the year. 

    Students seeking preparation and support for MTEL tests including the Communication and Literac Test (CLST), Foundations of Reading Test (FOR), and General Curriculum Tests (GC) should consult the DESE website at www.doe.mass.edu or the MTEL website at www.mtel.nesinc.com for practice tests and listings of other support services offered.

    What is an ELAR Account?

    Individuals seeking a Massachusetts teacher license are required to set up an Educator Licensure and Recruitment (ELAR) account through the DESE website. This free account will assist you in updating and maintaining pertinent information required for licensure and enables the DESE to communicate with you online. The account also maintains results for all tests that you have completed and information on licenses that you hold or have applied for. Set up your ELAR account through the DESE website.

    Once I have completed a licensure program at Curry College, how do I obtain my Initial Teaching License?

    Upon completion of all degree requirements, Curry College will endorse students for licensure to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Upon completing the final MED semester's coursework, students must request that an offical transcript from the Registrar's Office be sent to the Curry College Licensure Officer.  After review and acceptance of a candidate's endorsement by Curry College, transcript, and application, the DESE will send the teaching license to the student via US mail.

    Who can I contact with other questions about licensure?

    Licensure requirements can be complicated. Links to State resources are provided below. At Curry, Michelle LeBlanc or Donald Gratz (contact information listed below) are very knowledgeable about licensure procedures and are eager to assist you.

    Curry College Resources:

    Michelle A. LeBlanc, M.Ed.
    M.Ed. Licensure Officer
    617-333-2196
    mleblanc0104@curry.edu

    Donald B. Gratz, Ph.D
    Director, Graduate Programs in Education
    Chairperson, Education Department
    617-333-2130
    dbgratz0703@curry.edu

    John Bresnahan
    Director of Graduate Enrollment
    Office of Graduate Studies
    617-333-2243
    jbresnah0104@curry.edu

    State Resources:

    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
    75 Pleasant St.
    Malden, MA. 02148
    www.doe.mass.edu

    MA DESE Licensure Help Call Center
    Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm
    781-338-6600

    MA DESE Licensure Help website
    www.doe.mass.edu/licensurehelp

    Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure
    www.doe.mass.edu/mtel

    ELAR Account
    https://www4.doemass.org/elar/userregistration/RegistrationPageControl.ser

    MTEL Program and Registration (Including Practice Tests, Score Report Explanations, Test Objectives)
    www.mtel.nesinc.com

 
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"The first time I called Curry I spoke with an enrollment representative and she answered all of my questions. Looking into a master's program can be overwhelming but she truly simplified things."

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"The fact that Curry has smaller classes and that the student population in the program tends to be older were the selling points for me."

 
 
 

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