DESE Licensure

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is responsible for licensing all professional educators including teachers, psychologists, counselors, nurses, speech language pathologists and many other professional positions in the Marblehead Public Schools.

    You can apply for your license through your ELAR account at DESE. It is very important for you to be familiar with your ELAR account which houses your demographic data, schools attended, license information and status, as well as other important documents that have been scanned into your file such as correspondence from DESE, MTEL test scores and other important documents. At the bottom of your profile, you will find all of this information.

    Whether you are applying for a new license or renewing an existing license, it may take many months for DESE to process your request. Please plan accordingly.

    Your license allows you to teach in Massachusetts, and every public school system is required by law to employ only teachers with an appropriate, valid license. Please be sure your license is always up to date and in good standing. The Superintendents will assist you at any time you need help in understanding the process or to help navigate the DESE.

    License Types

    Your license is one of four types:

    (1) Temporary

    You are a licensed teacher from another state and have taught under that license for at least three years. This license is good for one year and is not renewable. You must take the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) which consists of the Communication and Literacy and subject matter tests.

    (2) Preliminary

    You have not completed a teacher training program at the undergraduate or graduate level, but passed the MTEL tests. This license is good for five years, and is not renewable. Within the five years, you must complete a teacher preparation program. Some licenses require a competency review such as special education, school guidance counselor, school psychologist and other specialist licenses.

    (3) Initial

    You have completed teacher preparation program at the undergraduate or graduate level. This license is good for five years, and can be extended for an additional five years. In order to move to the professional license, you must teach under that license for at least three years, complete a mentor/induction program, 50 hours of mentoring beyond the mentor/induction program, and a Master's degree containing 12 credits in your license content area. Educators who hold an initial license will notice an asterisk under the expiration column. The asterisk indicates your license is valid for five years of employment. The clock begins when you start working under your license. If you do not teach immediately, or take a leave from your position, you will have five full years to work under that license.

    (4) Professional

    This is the level of licensure that all educators aspire to and are required to reach. The professional license is good for five years. Every five years, you must renew your license and certify that you have completed 150 PDP's, 80% of which must be in your content/content pedagogy. If you stop teaching and do not renew your professional license, the status will shift to inactive after five years. You may teach under an inactive license for two years, at which time you must complete the 150 PDP requirements.

    Every educator at the professional stage is required to maintain and Individual Professional Development Plan outlining your professional goals and how they connect to the school and district goals. The Plan allows you to record and track your PDP's.

    Professional Teacher Status (PTS) in Massachusetts is part of the Education Reform Act of 1993. Individual public school districts have authority to award PTS and not the DESE. Under the law, "teachers who serve for three consecutive school years shall be considered a teacher, and shall be entitle to professional teacher status."

    It is important to note that in order to work towards PTS, teachers must hold a license at the temporary, preliminary, initial or professional level. Teachers who start at any time during the school year other than the first day of school cannot consider that year towards PTS. It is important to note the law requires three, full consecutive years in the district in order to earn PTS.