Learn more about the process for becoming certified to teach in the Massachusetts region.
Becoming Certified to Teach
Through our partnerships with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and Boston University, Teach For America Massachusetts is proud to have supported nearly 1,000 educators over the past 10 years in gaining the credentials they need to pursue a lifetime of leadership in education.
Massachusetts corps members receive a five-year non-renewable Provisional license prior to their first day of teaching. In order to qualify for the Provisional license, all corps members are required to:
- Hold a bachelor’s degree
- Pass the Communication and Literacy Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) prior to their first day of teaching
- Pass a subject test MTEL prior to their first day of teaching—the subject test is determined by your content placement and our School & Community Partnerships Team will provide guidance for which test to register for and take
- Pass the Foundations of Reading MTEL if teaching Elementary or Special Education
- Earn their Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) Endorsement through coursework during our summer institute prior to teaching
- Pay a $100 fee to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for the first license application ($25 fee for subsequent license applications, Provisional or Initial)
Then, over their two years in the corps, all corps members will participate in the Teach For America Massachusetts alternative certification program to complete licensure coursework at a discounted cost through our university partner, Boston University, and earn their Initial license. The Initial license is valid for five years (renewable once), and is required to ultimately attain a Professional license.
For more information on Massachusetts Teacher Licensure, visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Office of Educator Licensure.
Up-front certification costs will total about $880. This includes initial testing and licensure fees. Our Initial licensure program costs vary, and range on average from $6,000 - $11,000, mainly comprising of Boston University coursework tuition.
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award.
Covering initial costs can be difficult, so Teach For America offers need-based funding packages of no-interest loans and grants to enable corps members in all financial situations to join the corps.
Transferring Your License
If you've already obtained a teaching license through a college/university or other licensure program, you’ll need the following in order to be eligible for a license transfer application:
- Teaching license in good-standing
- 3+ years of verified, full-time teaching experience
Master's Degree Option
Teach For America Massachusetts partners with Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education & Human Development to provide corps members and alumni the opportunity to obtain a master of education (EdM) in curriculum and teaching on reduced tuition. The master’s degree is open to both current corps members and alumni, and allows students to craft a course of study that aligns with their educational interests.
The program is a total of 36 credits of coursework and takes corps members a total of two years to complete.
Teach For America Training
We are excited to offer a thoughtful, practical series of trainings and experiences over the two-year corps experience that will give you the skills and perspective you need to lead a career of impact in education. Key components of our two-year teacher preparation program include:
Ongoing Coaching and Support
Our team of professional teacher coaches, called Managers of Teacher Leadership Development (MTLDs), will regularly observe you, provide feedback, and help you tackle challenges and celebrate victories. Your MTLD will be your guide and coach each year and support you in becoming the best teacher you can for your students.
Boston University Coursework
The Wheelock College of Education & Human Development offers a range of courses taught by leading experts in pedagogy and child development. Most corps members opt into our master’s program as well.
TFA Professional Development Sessions
Led by our regional team of coaches and instructional leaders, you’ll engage in a range of learning experiences that will both challenge and support you to become the best educator possible for your students.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Boston University (BU) is our sole state-approved partner for licensure in Massachusetts, and we require all our corps members to enroll at BU for their Initial Licensure. While we realize there are other universities that may offer licensure coursework, we do not endorse them as a part of our corps program, and no other program can be considered valid as a part of our state-approved Initial Licensure program.
Yes, you have to complete licensure coursework through Boston University, attend regional professional development conferences throughout the year, and participate in the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP) during your second year.
From MA DESE Office of Educator Licensure: “English Language Learners (ELLs) are an important focus of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (ESE) Proficiency Gap Task Force. Closing the proficiency gap depends on teachers having the skills and knowledge necessary to instruct ELLs. Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) is an approach to teaching academic content in English to ELLs. Generally, but not always, ELLs are in the same classrooms as native English-speaking students. To better serve these students, all core academic teachers and those administrators who supervise and evaluate core academic teachers are required to obtain an SEI teacher or SEI administrator endorsement.”
All Teach For America-Massachusetts corps members must become SEI Endorsed prior to their first day of teaching.