PreK-2 special education licenses, a Provisional School Nurse license and new pathway to add ESL and special education licenses were approved by BESE at the June Meeting.

The big-ticket changes included the PreK-2 special education licenses, the Provisional School Nurse license and an option for licensed teachers to add moderate disabilities, severe disabilities or English as a second language licenses at the Provisional stage.

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education had voted to send a small set of licensure regulation amendments out to public comment at the April 2023 meeting. The original language of the proposed changes and the memo shared with BESE covered the rational behind these amendments.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education reviewed the comments submitted (including comments submitted by the Massachusetts Teachers Association) and made a few changes to the proposed amendments, as outlined in this memo. The final regulations were approved by BESE without any further changes.

When are the new licenses available for educators?

DESE will be rolling out update to the ELAR online application system through July to reflect these changes. Educators interested in obtaining a new license may upload relevant documents in ELAR prior to the applications going live.
Once applications open for the new licenses or new pathways, educators may apply in ELAR for the license and submit any payment. License applications generally take two weeks for a review. If the applicant is missing any requirements, they can be submitted after the application is filed and/or reviewed by DESE.

Will teachers be able to move an additional Provisional license to Initial or Professional?

Teachers who already hold an Initial or Professional license in another field may advance these licenses to Initial/Professional after completing a 150-hour internship under DESE guidelines.

How long is a Provisional license valid?

Any Provisional academic educator license is valid for five years of employment in the role of the license. The “years of employment” are only used if the educator is working in the role that requires the license. Teachers who hold multiple Provisional licenses in different fields or grade levels are limited to a total five years of employment under any combination of Provisional licenses.

What were the February 2023 Licensure Changes?

A round of changes was approved by BESE in February 2023. The approved changes apply to all new license applications going forward. Educators who hold “old” licenses issued prior to this date may continue to be employed under the existing license and advance/renew the license.

The February 2023 regulations created an elementary level Digital Literacy/Computer Science license, established a Military Spouse license, renamed some existing licenses and created a Provisional license to allow employment for School Principals who have not yet passed the assessment.

See our post here for more details.

Licensure Requirements Basics

The general requirements for each license type (or stage) for Academic Teacher licenses issued under 603 CMR 7.00 including a passing score on the Communications and Literacy MTEL, the content area MTEL or applicable competency review and a bachelor’s degree. You can use the DESE License Requirements tool to drill down on the specific requirements for each type/stage, field and grade level.

The Policy Minute is also home to the MTA educator licensure resources at

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