Educator licensure is essential for employment in all PreK-12 public schools and requested by most private schools. However, licensure is not automatically awarded upon completion of a preparation program. Teacher candidates seeking licenses for grades PreK-12 must apply for licensure that is issued by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Candidates seeking employment for infant/toddler, preschool lead teacher and director credentials apply on their own for a certificate at the Early Education and Care (EEC) website eec.state.ma.us/tq.
Wheelock offers extensive preparation for students taking the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTELs), passage of which are required to obtain an Initial License to teach in Massachusetts public schools in grades PreK-12th grade. Visit our MTEL web pages for information about MTELs, upcoming test prep sessions, and which tests are required for your specialty.
QUICK LINKS (Click to go directly to these teacher licensure topics.)
Applying for PreK-12th Grade Licensure
Applying for Initial Reading (All Levels) License
Applying for Initial English as a Second Language (ESL) License
Applying for Licensure Outside of Massachusetts
Nationally Accredited and Recognized
SEI Endorsement Course (Leads to the Massachusetts Sheltered English Language Endorsement for licensed teachers)
Undergraduate students apply for licensure 2-3 weeks before graduation. See application steps.
Graduate students apply for licensure as they complete their program requirements, (i.e. courses, practica and MTELs) 2-3 weeks before graduation if they are completing a degree program. See more information.
- Visit the Massachusetts Department of Education (DOE) website at mass.gov/ese/licensure.
- On the right, click on ELAR (Educator Licensure and Renewal) and create a profile. Within a few days you will be assigned a MEPID#.
- Log in with your MEPID# and verify that your information is accurate. The email address that you entered will be used by the DOE to communicate directly with you.
- Before you apply for the license, there are several items of information you must have:
- Licensure field (e.g., ECH, ELM, MOD, RDG)
- Grade level (e.g., PreK-2 or 1-6)
- Stage: initial for all who have completed a state-approved program and are seeking a first license.
- With this information in hand, click Apply for a new license, apply for an Endorsement, or advance to the next level license. Under this link you will:
- Apply for licensure, and
- Apply for a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) endorsement
Candidates who are eligible for an initial license must qualify for an SEI endorsement as well. There is no charge to apply for the SEI endorsement. Without this step, DESE will not process your initial license application. See details about qualifying for the SEI endorsement.
6. Complete the Wheelock Authorization Form (pdf) to authorize Wheelock College to forward your transcript and supporting documents to DESE. These materials must be sent directly from Wheelock College and not the applicant.
The full application process can take up to 8 weeks following program completion and graduation.
If you completed your baccalaureate at an institution other than Wheelock College, provide the following to Wheelock Registrar's office:
- Official undergraduate transcript from the institution
- Completed Wheelock authorization form
This transcript is evidence that the applicant holds a baccalaureate degree, which is a requirement for state licensure. This will be included in the endorsement package, which is prepared and delivered by Wheelock College to DESE.
If you completed your baccalaureate at Wheelock College, Wheelock will provide a full transcript to DESE at no charge to the applicant.
- Before applying, take and pass the Reading Specialist and Literacy and Communications MTELs. You must also hold a Massachusetts initial or professional teaching license in an appropriate subject area, e.g., PreK-2, 1-6, TSMD PreK-8. All courses for the Teaching of Reading master's must be completed.
- You must also have met the requirements for a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) endorsement (see details below).
- Complete the Wheelock Authorization Form (pdf) authorizing Wheelock to submit your transcript and supporting documents to DESE. These documents must be sent directly from Wheelock and not the applicant.
- Submit a letter from your principal on school letterhead indicating that you have taught for at least one year under your current initial license or professional license. Please scan this letter and email to: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com with the subject title reading specialist endorsement materials.
- If you are earning your first Massachusetts teacher's license through your Wheelock program, you automatically meet the requirements for the SEI endorsement by taking and passing MLE 301 and MLE 302/303 (undergraduates) or MLE 501 and MLE 502/503 (graduate students). Learn more about Wheelock's SEI courses.
- Students who already hold an initial or professional Massachusetts teacher's license may qualify for the SEI endorsement by completing a state-approved professional development (RETELL) course in their school district or by either passing the ESL or SEI MTEL.
- Before applying, take and pass the ESL and Literacy and Communications MTELs. You must also hold a Massachusetts initial or professional teaching license in an appropriate subject area, e.g., PreK-2, 1-6, TSMD PreK-8.
- Log in with your MEPID# and verify that your information is accurate.
- Click on Apply for new license and select ESL and the appropriate grade level.
- You must upload proof of completion of a 150-hour ESL practicum or practicum equivalent to your ELAR profile. The ESL practicum offered through Wheelock is MLP 610. These pieces of proof include your Wheelock transcript indicating you have taken and passed MLP 610, plus the signed Preservice Performance Assessment form (PPA) from MLP 610.
- If you are documenting your completion of a 150-hour ESL practicum equivalent through a principal or ESL director's letter, please share a draft letter with Dr. Lowry Hemphill at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific guidance.
Contact the Department of Education in that state and obtain information regarding their application process and specific exam requirements for licensure. Reciprocity is the recognition of licensure among the states that are part of the Interstate Certification Compact. Massachusetts is a compact state, but reciprocity does not mean that licensure in other states is automatic. Candidates must apply for licensure in each state and fulfill that state's licensure requirements.
Wheelock College is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The Wheelock College programs leading to DESE early childhood, elementary, moderate disabilities and reading licensure are reviewed and nationally recognized. Include this information in your resume for job applications. Learn more on the Wheelock Accreditation Information web page.