DESE License Certification
- Advancing or Extending a License
To advance a license from one type to the next type: Provisional to Initial; Initial to Professional; you will need to apply for the new type of license and send in all required documentation verifying that the requirements for the new/advanced license have been met.
To determine the requirements for a particular type of license, please use our Licensure Requirements Tool.
The quickest way to apply for the new/advanced license is through the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system.
- Calendar Years and Years of Employment
A Professional license is valid for five (5) calendar years. Time elapses regardless of employment status under this license.
Calculation of “Years of Employment” (For Temporary, Provisional, and Initial Licenses):
Time elapses only while actually employed by a school or district (that requires a license in the state of MA) and is used to calculate total years of employment with respect to how long a Temporary, Provisional, or Initial license remains valid. For example, if an educator works under an Initial license (in a MA school requiring that license) for one (1) year and is then released or goes on maternity leave, that educator’s license remains valid for an additional four (4) years upon his/her return to teaching.
- Extending an Initial License
The Initial license is valid for five years of employment and may be extended at the discretion of the Commissioner for an additional five years. Educators who have been employed under an Initial license, are in their fifth (5) year of employment, and have not yet satisfied the requirements for advancing to the Professional license; have the option of applying for an Extension of their Initial license. ‘Under a license’ is defined here as meaning; “employment in the role and at the grade of the license from the date it was issued”. **Note: Initial Administrator licenses cannot be extended. Extension of Initial License Guide and Template
- How to Renew a Professional License
The quickest way to renew your Professional license is through the Educator Licensure And Renewal (ELAR) system. After you log into the ELAR system, select the Apply to renew your professional level license link on your Welcome to ELAR home page. Follow all of the prompts, pay the required fees ($100 for primary license, $25 for additional licenses), and your license(s) will be renewed automatically.
Do not send in any of your supporting documentation (verifying the attainment of the required PDPs) unless you are selected for an audit. If selected for an audit, you will be required to submit documentation in support of the license(s) that you renewed.
Please note that the Office of Educator Licensure no longer sends out hard copies of newly approved or renewed licenses.
Professional development activities shall be identified by the educator and supervisor during the development of, and review of, the Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)* in order to better support student achievement. Individual professional development plans must include at least 150 PDPs that break down as follows:
- At least 15 PDPs in content (subject matter knowledge)
- At least 15 PDPs in pedagogy (professional skills and knowledge)
- At least 15 PDPs related to Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) or English as a Second Language (ESL)
- At least 15 PDPs related to training in strategies for effective schooling for students with disabilities and the instruction of students with diverse learning styles
- The remaining required 90 PDPs may be earned through either “elective” activities that address other educational issues and topics that improve student learning, or additional content, and/or pedagogy.
- Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) and its impact on Renewal
What is the SEI endorsement? It is a requirement for all MA elementary, core subject, SPED, and VOC ed teachers prek-12 educators who have, or had, an EL student assigned to their class. The priority is to place EL students with SEI endorsed teachers but that is not always possible. If they are placed with a teacher who is not endorsed, DESE has requested that the teacher get the endorsement within a year.
The ways in which you can obtain the endorsement include:
- Enrolling in a for cost course approved by a DESE vendor
- Completing a MA approved educator prep program which includes an SEI course for everyone
- Take and pass the SEI MTEL (easiest and quickest route if MTEL testing works for you
- Have an ESL/ELL license in MA Approved SEI Course List All Teachers, School Clinical Staff, and Administrators- All Online
It is separate from the Professional licensure renewal requirement of 15 PDPs in SEI/ELL. The SEI endorsement is a specific course only offered by DESE-approved vendors and universities.
All the information on where and how to get the endorsement can be found on the DESE SEI website here. There is a list of providers who offer this specific SEI course and information on how to sign up for the SEI MTEL.