Working under an Emergency license? Wondering if your time counts towards PTS? Yes. And yes, you can apply to extend the license for the 2023-24 school year.

Emergency licenses are currently available for all subjects and categories of Academic educators licenses. Academic educator licenses include all Teacher, Specialist Teacher, Professional Support Personnel and Academic Administrator licenses that are issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) under 603 CMR 7.00.

There are two different Emergency licenses:
“New” Emergency licenses that were issued between May 26, 2022 and November 7, 2023 are valid for one calendar year and may be extended up to two times. The requirements for a “New” Emergency license are in the License Requirements Tool for each field and grade level. No Emergency licenses will be issued after November 7, 2023.

“Old” Emergency Licenses that were issued between June 2020 and December 12, 2021 can be extended through June 30, 2024. “Old” Emergency licenses are no longer issued but can be Extended via ELAR.

If you have other questions and answers we can add to this list, let us know in the comments! Take a look at all our educator licensure resources at for updated documents and resources.

Top Questions for Emergency Academic Licenses

Does employment under an Emergency license count towards Professional Teacher Status (PTS)?

Yes! The Emergency license is valid for employment in the role of the license. Employment under the Emergency license in the appropriate role can count towards the three complete years towards PTS.

Can I still apply for an Emergency license?

Yes. You have until November 7, 2023 to apply for a first Emergency license as an academic teacher, specialist teacher, professional support personnel or administrator Emergency license.
Existing Emergency licenses will be eligible for extension one calendar year from the date of issue.

My Emergency license is expiring. What can I do?

You can apply to extend your Emergency license through ELAR. First, determine if you have an “Old” or a “New” Emergency license based on the date your Emergency license was first issued.

“New” Emergency licenses that were issued between May 26, 2022 and November 7, 2023 are valid for one calendar year and may be extended up to two times. The requirements for an Extension of a “New” Emergency license are in the License Requirements Tool for each field and grade level. Applications for extension of a “New” Emergency license can be submitted via ELAR.

“Old” Emergency Licenses that were issued before December 12, 2021 can be extended through June 30, 2024. A first-time extension can be submitted via ELAR. BUT if you are applying for a second Extension of an OLD Emergency license, you will need to submit a PAPER application to your ELAR account. The requirements and forms are available here.

Are ESL and special education Emergency license requirements different?

Teachers can apply for a FIRST Emergency license as an English as a second language (ESL) teacher, teacher of students with moderate disabilities, teacher of students with severe disabilities or other special education teacher licenses via ELAR. A bachelor’s degree is required for the first license to be issued.

To EXTEND an Emergency ESL or special education license, the candidate will need to submit additional requirements to ELAR via the online application or the paper application. This applies to both “old” and “new” Emergency licenses in ESL and special education. The Emergency Extension Requirements identifies the specific requirements for each license.

How do I document “Coverage Of” for special education licenses?

There is no content-area MTEL for certain licenses including the special education licenses. Candidates may demonstrate content area knowledge by through submitting evidence via a “Competency Review.”

The most recent version of the Competency Review Guide is available here. An updated version is expected to be available by July 2023. The updated version will have templates and list approved assessments that can be applied towards the Teacher of Moderate Disabilities and Library “coverage of” requirements.

The new options are expected to include:
Option I: Completion of a Massachusetts approved program for the license
Option II: Completion of all coursework (except practicum) within a Massachusetts approved program for license field
Option III: Completion of an educator preparation program outside of Massachusetts accepted by the Commissioner in the same field
Option IV: Possession of a license from another state for a field that is comparable to field of the Massachusetts license sought and comparable to at least an Massachusetts Initial license
Option V: Completion of the Structured Guidance & Supports (SG&S) path
Option VI: Department Approved Assessments
Option VIII: Seminar or workshop (with 10 hours per “coverage of” area accepted)
Option IX: School-based mentored employment/peer coaching

Do I need the SEI Endorsement?

It depends!
For employment – the SEI Endorsement is required for a core academic teacher of English learners within one year of the date of assignment. This applies for ANY license type (including waivers!).

For licensure – The SEI Endorsement is required for Initial licensure as a core academic teacher and for all administrator Initial license. The SEI Endorsement is NOT required to apply to extend an Emergency license.

Educators can qualify for the SEI Endorsement by completing an SEI Endorsement course, a passing score on the SEI MTEL, holding an ESL license or other coursework/credential that is accepted by DESE.

How do I find the requirements to apply for an academic educator license?

Start with the License Requirements Tool to see the general requirements for each license type.

You can also create your account in ELAR and apply for the license. As you submit your documents, you will get a letter indicating which, if any items, are missing from your account.

Provisional or Initial Academic Teacher License – What is my next step?

It depends!

The Initial license type will have the same requirements as the Provisional license type PLUS the Initial license type requires completion of an “approved educator preparation program.” Core academic teacher licenses will also require the SEI Endorsement.

Educators can start with applying for a Provisional license and work for up to five years under the Provisional license while completing or submitting the application requirements for the Initial license.

Always check the License Requirements Tool for the specific requirements for the license field and level.

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