Become Licensed to Teach in Massachusetts Public Schools

Students who want to teach in Massachusetts public schools should be aware of the process to become licensed to teach in Massachusetts.

Education Licensure in Massachusetts is offered on five levels:*

  • Early Childhood (Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 2)
  • Elementary Education (Grade 1 through Grade 6)
  • Middle School (Grade 5 through Grade 8)
  • High School (Grade 8 through Grade 12)
  • Special Education (Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 8 or Grade 5 through Grade 12)

* There are a few teaching areas (Art, Drama, Music, Special Education of students with severe disabilities, plus others) that do not follow these levels and may be researched at the Department of Education website, or with the 4Cs Transfer Advisor.

The requirements to be accepted into a licensing program at a bachelor's institution are:

  • Entry into Education programs at the bachelor's level requires students have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.75 (At their discretion, individual institutions may require a higher grade point average). If the student’s GPA is below 2.75, they may be admitted to the liberal arts and sciences major (see requirements to obtain initial licensure below) to begin coursework and to raise their GPA.
  • All students are required to pass the Communication and Literacy Skills Test (CLST), one of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). The CLST is usually taken before admission to an education program at the bachelor’s institution. Students should plan to take this test sometime after the completion of English Composition II, and before entering the bachelor's institution, but it may also be taken earlier. The CLST may be taken after entering the bachelor’s institution but students must receive a passing score before acceptance into to an education program.
  • Some bachelor's institutions may require students pass all the required MTEL tests before acceptance into an Education program.

The requirements to obtain initial licensure to teach are:

  • Students planning to teach Early Childhood, Elementary Education, or Special Education are required to double major in early childhood education, elementary education or special education and a liberal arts and science major while in attendance at the bachelor's institution. The choices for the liberal arts and science major depend on the bachelor’s institution students attend.
  • Students planning to teach middle school or high school are required to major in their content area and minor in middle or high school education while in attendance at the bachelor’s institution.
  • All students are required to pass an (MTEL) Academic subject matter test.
    • Early Childhood Education – Early Childhood*
    • Elementary Education – General Curriculum – multi-subject and math subtests*
    • Middle and High School – Subject content MTEL
    • Special Education (Moderate disabilities) – Subject content MTEL or the General Curriculum*

*Students seeking licensure in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Special Education (Moderate Disabilities) must also pass the Foundations of Reading MTEL.

Teaching Licensure is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Requirements for licensure are subject to change. Students should check the Department of Education website, or call 781.338.6600, for the most current information.

Note: Information about MTEL can be found at the Department of Education website, or by going directly to

For More Information


Advising & Counseling Services
Location Grossman Commons, 2nd floor, C-203
Hours Monday–Friday: 8:30am–4:30pm
Wednesday: 8:30am–7:00pm
Phone 508.375.4318