Answers to your questions about educator licensure, including types of licenses, adding and renewing licenses.
What is the difference between Preliminary, Initial, and Professional licenses, and which license should I apply for?
Please see How to Become and Remain a Licensed Educator for information, or check the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) explanation of the types of licenses. Licensure programs at Lesley lead to the Initial license (preferred by school districts for beginning teachers) or Professional license for experienced teachers. Candidates can apply on their own for the Preliminary License, which is an optional license. Lesley does not endorse for Preliminary Licenses. Requirements for all levels and field of license are found at the ESE Licensure Requirements Tool.
What is the first step to apply for my Initial or Professional license license?
At the beginning of your program, you should set up an Educator Licensure and Renewal account (ELAR), through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. When you are nearing program completion, you can then apply for and pay for the license through your ELAR account (among other things you will be able to use your account for). Please review the "How to Apply for a License" webpage for complete details.
What state tests are required for licensure in Massachusetts?
The Communication and Literacy Skills
test is needed for all types of license (teachers, specialist teachers,
support personnel and administrators). In addition, a Subject Matter test
is required for all teaching and specialist teaching subject areas. All
candidates for licenses in Early Childhood, Elementary Education and
Moderate Special Needs programs must also pass the Foundations of
Reading test. Questions regarding the MTEL test can be found on the MTEL FAQ page of our website or our MTEL Student Guide.
How will the state know that I have been endorsed by Lesley for the license?
Lesley will send ESE a state-required endorsed transcript certifying that you have completed an approved program and the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement. Educator licensure language is placed on your Lesley University transcript and becomes part of your official transcript. You must request the endorsed transcript from Lesley upon your program completion. Below is a sample of the endorsement language, modified for each student according to state, license, program and required state licensure language.
Certification(s): CompletedMAT1EP002B Teacher, Elementary EducationThis student has completed a State approved and NASDTEC recognized program for licensure in Elementary Education (1-6) and is recommended for licensure in this field.Date of Recommendation: 05/12Certification Officer: ______________________
When should I apply for an endorsed transcript?
How long does it take for my endorsed transcript to be sent to the Department and for me to get my license?
The endorsed transcript is usually
processed within 7 to 10 business days after receiving your request. A
confirmation email is sent to you by ESE when Lesley submits the
electronic endorsement through ELAR. The amount of time it takes for ESE
to approve the license varies according to the date your application is
received, the volume of applications being processed at the time, and
the completeness and accuracy of your application.
Endorsed Transcript Request
Do I send my undergraduate transcripts to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or does Lesley University?
Graduate students are responsible for submitting an official undergraduate transcript(s) showing degree conferral to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. It can be sent to ESE at 75 Pleasant St, Malden, MA 02148 or it can be scanned an uploaded through ELAR. If you completed your undergraduate program in another country, you must have an evaluation of the transcript done by a nationally recognized agency and sent to the Department. If you have already applied for and received a preliminary license, then the Department already has a copy of your undergraduate transcript.
I have taught three years in a private school. Does this count on my license? Can I use the experience for moving an Initial to Professional?
You don't have to count the three years on the license clock. You still have 5 years on your license to teach in a public school. However, if you prefer, you may count those years in private school experience if you prefer to use them towards your Professional license.
If I teach three years and then take two years off is my license expired?
No, your license is valid for a total of 5 teaching (on the clock) years. In this case, you will have two years left on your license.
My Initial license is going to expire and I have not earned the Professional license yet. What can I do?
To apply for an extension of your Initial license, you will need to apply for your Initial license again. The quickest way to apply for the Initial license is through the Educator Licensure and Renewal (ELAR) system. When you apply for the Initial license in the ELAR system, the system will tell you that you already hold the Initial license and ask if you wish to apply for an extension; select, yes, complete the application and make payment. Please refer to the Extension of Initial License Guide and Template [pdf] for a checklist, which also includes a form that may be used to verify that you plan to meet requirements for the Professional license.
After I have taught three years and completed the Reading Specialist Initial approved licensure program at Lesley University, can I use course credits to upgrade my Initial to Professional status?
You can use 12 content course credits from Lesley's Reading Specialist (All levels) Initial license program to advance the following Initial licenses to Professional license: Early Childhood, Elementary Education, Moderate Disabilities, Severe Disabilities, English, and Middle School Humanities.
I received my elementary teaching certificate in 1985 and then worked in corporate settings. What would I need to do to go back to teaching?
You will need to reactivate your license according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Recertification Guidelines and the Guideline Addendum. The License Renewal (recertification) webpage also contains relevant information. Overall, you will need to earn an appropriate (specified) number of Professional Development Points (PDPs) through coursework and other professional development activities described in the Recertification Guidelines. NOTE: one three-credit graduate course will earn 67.5 PDPs. Check course availability through LOIS.
I have a Master's in Elementary Education and would like to add a license in Moderate Disabilities or Reading Specialist. Do I need to complete an additional Master's degree?
No, Lesley offers variable credit Licensure-Only programs in Moderate Disabilities and Reading Specialist. Keep in mind that coursework from either of those programs can be used to advance the Elementary Education and Early Childhood Initial licenses to Professional.
I already have an Initial Elementary license. What do I need to do to add, for example, an Initial Early Childhood license?
Go to Licensure Requirements Tool, fill in the drop-down menus, hit "next," and look for the most recent entry. It is sometimes necessary to scroll down the whole screen in order to locate the most current and appropriate entry for your situation. To add the Early Childhood license to an existing Initial Elementary license you are adding a license in a new field and new grade level. You will see on the page: "2005: Educators in Massachusetts earning an additional license in a new field at a new level." Underneath is the following:
You can click on each requirement to get more details and information.
How can I become certified in another state?
Although the Lesley Certification Office has attempted to ensure that the information contained on the website is accurate and complete at the time of posting, the contents are subject to change at any time.
Certification/Educator Licensure Office
MA Tests for Educator Licensure (MTELs)
Initial MA License
Professional MA License
Regulations Outside MA
News and Updates
Endorsed Transcript Request PreK-12 Graduate Education Programs
Graduate School of Education
Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Frequently Asked Questions
Student Guide [pdf]
Lesley MTEL Test Policy
888.LESLEY.U / 617.349.8300
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Sharyn S. BoornazianCertification Officer617.349.8496
Rita SugarmanAssociate Certification Officer617.349.8427
Nerecesa PiresAssociate Certification Officer617.349.8312
Mailing address: 29 Everett St, Cambridge, MA 02138-2790