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MA DESE Licensure Information

Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Licensure Information

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is responsible for licensing all professional educators in accordance with MGL c.71, sec.38G. No person shall be eligible for employment as a teacher, guidance counselor, director, school psychologist, school adjustment counselor, school social worker, school nurse, library media specialist, school business administrator, principal, supervisor, director, assistant superintendent of school, and superintendent of schools by a school district unless he has been granted by the commissioner a provisional, or standard certificate with respect to the type of position for which he seeks employment; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to prevent a school committee from prescribing additional qualifications; and provided further, that a superintendent may upon request be exempt by the commissioner for any one school year from the requirement in this section to employ certified personnel when compliance therewith would in the opinion of the commissioner constitute a great hardship in securing teachers for that school district.

You can apply for your license and maintain 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.  It is your responsibility as a professional educator to maintain your license.

There are four types of educator licenses:

Westport Community Schools can apply for a waiver if an applicant does not hold one of the above licenses. The district must certify they could not find an appropriately licensed teacher. A waiver is good for one school year, and the district can only apply for a second year waiver after they have determined they could not find an appropriately licensed teacher. The waiver candidate must demonstrate to the DESE continuous progress to be considered for a second year waiver. It is important to note that a waiver does not constitute as a license and will not count towards Professional Teaching Status. 

To determine all requirements for any teaching license, visit the DESE Licensure Help Online.

For all license level changes (from preliminary to initial and/or initial to professional) or for those seeking an administrator license an employment verification form must be completed. The DESE has strongly recommended using the forms below.