A teacher shortage occurs when there are not enough teachers in key subject areas, which has been partly caused by years of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession, a growing student population and fewer people entering teacher preparation programs, according to the Learning Policy Institute.
The following is a list of teacher shortage areas in Massachusetts for the 2016-17 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. (see page 75).
English Language Arts/Reading
Modern Foreign Languages (Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin and/or Classical Humanities, Portuguese, Spanish)
Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, General Science, Physics)
Visually Impaired Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Massachusetts
Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/1/2016
To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Massachusetts, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:
Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
Step Four: Submit a Massachusetts teaching credential application.
Continue below for more information.
Earn Your Massachusetts Teaching Credential
To earn your Massachusetts teaching credential you will have to complete required the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. Massachusetts issues an Initial license for new teachers (valid for five years and renewable once), and a Professional license (renewable every five years), issued after at least three years of teaching under an Initial License and completion of a teacher induction program.
Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program to receive certification. Massachusetts does not list specific course or credit hour requirements; however some subject fields may have such requirements. Also, every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for more information.
Teacher certification programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the desired content area. Visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education for a list of accredited teacher preparation programs.
Beginning October 18, 2016, all candidates registering to take the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) will be required to enter a MEPID (Massachusetts Education Personnel ID) number in order to register for a test. Before registering for the MTEL, you must know your MEPID number.
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The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Massachusetts
Aspiring teachers in Massachusetts can apply for a Preliminary license, which is valid for five years during which time an approved teacher preparation program can be completed. For more information on licensure and non-traditional certification routes visit the state’s Executive Office of Education page.
It is no longer enough to only have years of experience teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, teachers are almost solely evaluated by their success in the classroom. A master’s degree in the field of education will give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor.
After a master’s program, you may be able to achieve better results in the classroom and have more job security and higher pay. In Boston Public Schools, holding a master’s degree can result in a salary bump of more than $3,000 for new teachers, and more than $5,000 for those with many years of experience compared to educators who don’t have an advanced degree, according to a Boston Public Schools 2015 salary schedule.
Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in Massachusetts, visit the Teach.com reciprocity page. Or, for more specific questions about your situation contact the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.
In Massachusetts, teachers earned an average of $73,129 in 2012-13, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Massachusetts is one of the highest paying states to teach in, and additionally offers increased pay for teachers willing to work in high-needs schools or in shortage subjects. Teacher salary is determined by the school district. For the most recent data on average salaries in each district, visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education’s Teacher Salaries Report page or learn more about teacher salariesat Teach.com.
Massachusetts public school teachers are eligible to receive full retirement benefits from the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System at age 55 with at least 10 years of teaching service, or at any age with a minimum of 20 years of teaching service. Benefits are calculated using age at the time of retirement, years of service, and the average of a teacher’s highest three consecutive years’ salaries. For more information, visit the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System.
Professional Development for Teachers in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education established a system of Professional Development Points (PDP’s) for teacher license renewal. PDP’s are earned through the completion school or district-run professional development activities. The Department publishes detailed guidelines and resources for PDP’s.