Teaching Requirements

  • Teaching Requirements

    Follow these steps for a Career in BPS

    There are legal requirements to becoming a teacher in BPS. We hope the resources below help you navigate them.


    If you want to teach in the Boston Public Schools, you must have the following:

    • A bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university
      For candidates who have an international degree, the BPS works with the Center for Educational Documentation (CED), which provides interpretation and assessment services for international degree holders. The CED can be contacted at 617.338.7171.
    • Current authorization to work in the United States 
      Candidates must have such authorization by their first day of employment.
    • Massachusetts Teaching License

    Massachusetts Teaching License 

    To teach in the Boston Public Schools, you must hold an active and valid Massachusetts teaching license. Choose from one of the scenarios below for further instructions:

    You have a Massachusetts Teaching License

    This license must:
    • be in the appropriate subject area and grade level for your teaching assignment.
    • not have expired by September of the current year
    Please note:
    • Any Temporary licenses are valid only for one year and are non-renewable.
    • Preliminary and Initial licenses are valid for five years of employment. 
    • Professional licenses are valid for five consecutive years. 
    • If your license has expired, see the section "To Apply for a MA Educator License" below.

    You have a License from Another State

    You must still obtain an appropriate license in Massachusetts.
    If you completed a formal training program to earn your out-of-state credential, and then taught for at least three years under that credential, you may be eligible for the Massachusetts Temporary license, as long as you have not failed any MTELs.
    Please see the section "To Apply for a Massachusetts Educator License" below to obtain a Temporary License
    You do not have a Massachusetts Teaching License

    You must obtain this license before September of the current year in order to be hired. Please see the section "To Apply for a Massachusetts Educator License" below.

    To Apply for a Massachusetts Educator License

    Please apply for a license before asking the DESE for requirements.
    • Use the ELAR User Guide for step-by-step instructions
    • Log in to ELAR to apply for the appropriate license
    • Find out about the specific requirements for particular licenses. Candidates who have questions about licensure should contact the MDOE directly at 781.338.6600, Mondays-Fridays, 9AM to 4:45PM. 

    FAQs About Licensure

    1. Must I have a Massachusetts teacher license to be hired as a teacher?
    Yes, first priority is given to teachers who hold a Massachusetts license in the appropriate subject area and grade level. Schools may, however, recommend for hire a recent college graduate or a strong candidate who will be completing Massachusetts licensure requirements by the following September.

    If your lack of a license is a matter of paperwork backed up at the Massachusetts Department of Education (MADOE), the hiring principal/headmaster will alert the Office of Human Resources, who can submit a request for MADOE to expedite your licensure evaluation. The Office of Human Resources or MA DESE will contact you if any additional information is needed.

    Unlicensed individuals should consider applying for positions as substitute teachers or paraprofessionals. BPS offers a number of licensure supports to help promising substitutes and paraprofessionalss earn teacher licensure and advance into teaching positions.
    comply are established and fixed

    2. What must I do to earn a new teacher license in Massachusetts?

    Upon applying for your license, the requirements with which you are expected to comply are established and fixed. Therefore, apply now at www.doe.mass.edu/licensure to guarantee that your current preparations will result in a license. Then:
    • Your application will be evaluated by DESE
    • DESE will send you a letter giving you specific instructions on what your options are and what you need to submit when you are finished meeting the requirements.
    • DESE will leave that application open until you qualify for the license; you will not need to reapply and you will not need to pay another application fee.
    This ensures that your current efforts will be recognized, so that if the licensure requirements change, you are more protected from the change.

    3. If I took Praxis, or another licensure exam in another state, will that count or must I still take the MTEL?
    MTEL is the only licensing exam accepted by the DESE for educator licensure. Therefore, Praxis and other state exams are not counted towards meeting Massachusetts licensure requirements.

    4. How do I know which MTEL exams I need to take?
    The best way is by applying for the license you intend to pursue, and the DESE will send you a letter identifying which tests you need. If you do not want to wait for the letter, general information on requirements is found at www.doe.mass.edu/licensurehelp.

    * Boston Public Schools offers the Boston Teacher Residency (BTR) program as an alternative certification route to Initial licensure.