Massachusetts: Teacher Credentialing in Massachusetts

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For those who wish to become a teacher in Massachusetts, it is important to keep in mind that the state does have specific mandates in place. The state does follow the laws and guidance outlined by the No Child Left Behind Act, which includes ensuring that teachers maintain the highest level of performance. In order for you to obtain a teacher certification in the state of Massachusetts, you must first obtain the necessary education and teacher preparation. From here, you will need to sit for the state required testing. Once you have your teacher's certification, you can legally be employed in public or private schools as a teacher throughout the state.

Alternative Certification

Below you will find the requirements to becoming a teacher out of school. However, if you currently have a bachelor's degree from a state accredited college or university, even if it is not in the field of education, you may be able to obtain certification through the state's alternative certification program. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will determine if your qualifications meet the state's requirements. If so, obtaining additional education may not be necessary.

Education Requirements

For most people who wish to become a teacher in Massachusetts, the first step is obtaining their education through an approved bachelor's degree program. This bachelor's degree must be obtained through an accredited college or university (accreditation comes from the state of Massachusetts). The state does not have specific qualifications for undergraduate credit hours of study, but it does require that students meet the obligations of the bachelor in education degree program.

Teacher Preparation

The next step in the process is for the teacher to enroll in a teacher preparation course through an accredited teacher education program. This program teaches the student how to be a teacher within a teaching environment. Initially, the instruction includes creating foundation knowledge and skill base. The student learns how to create and implement curricula requirements through lesson plan creation. From there, the student is then able to implement their plans in the classroom.

Students will be required to student teach for approximately one quarter or one semester. During this time, the student teacher will observe a certified teacher and then will teach the class themselves. This program keeps a certified teacher in the classroom with the student at all times.

Teacher Testing

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires that all students who meet the above requirements sit for a basic skills test to ensure that they have the necessary skills to teach within the classroom setting. This test is the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure General Curriculum Test. In addition, most teachers will need to sit for a subject area competence test called the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Test.

Once you have completed and successfully passed all of these requirements, the student is then able to apply for a formal teacher's certificate through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. A formal drug screening and background check are also required.

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