Teaching is a wonderful and exciting profession. How
can you become a professional teacher and a licensed teacher in the Commonwealth
Becoming a Professional Teacher:
Entry into the teaching profession is regulated by law that outlines the
requirements and conditions for licensure. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
the Law stipulates a three stage process of teacher licensure.
Preliminary licensure requires a bachelor’s degree
with a major in the arts or sciences, or an inter-disciplinary major appropriate
to an instructional field and the successful completion of the MTEL
(Massachusetts Tests for Educational Licensure). This level of licensure does
not require professional preparation in teacher education. Preliminary
licenses are valid for five years.
Initial Licensure requires completion of professional
preparation at either the undergraduate or graduate level in teacher education
and student teaching and the successful completion of the MTEL.
Professional Licensure requires possession of the
Initial license, three years of service at the level/content of the initial
license and other options that might include an earned Master's degree plus
graduate level coursework in the content area.
One of the key features of the Education Reform Law is the premium placed on the
professionalism of teaching through a more intensive and qualitative teacher
preparation. This requires a sound preparation in a body of knowledge in the
disciplines as part of the requirements for licensure at all levels: Early
childhood, Elementary, Middle School and Secondary School. An appreciably high
level of subject matter knowledge in the instructional field constitutes a
critical competency requirement for licensure.
In addition, the regulations stipulate certain basic
competencies expected of licensed teachers called the Common Teaching
Competencies. These constitute the basis for teaching licensure in the state and
collectively they govern the development of teacher licensure programs. These
common competencies cover the areas of 1) subject matter knowledge, 2)
communication, 3) instructional practice, 4) evaluation, 5) problem solving, 6)
equity, and 7) professionalism.
Why Worcester State University:
Worcester State University enjoys a remarkable history of teacher preparation.
Its first president, H. Harlow Russell, pioneered the practice of placing
prospective teachers in an actual classroom. This practice is now universal and
referred to as "student teaching." Prior to this point prospective teachers
worked in laboratory schools on the college campus. Russell worked closely with
G. Stanley Hall, psychologist and president of Clark University, in developing
the field of child psychology. Russell put Hall’s theoretical work into practice
at Worcester Normal School, the precursor of Worcester State University, and one
of the earliest such schools in the country.
Since it's founding in 1874, Worcester State
University has prepared generations of skilled teachers, principals, and
superintendents in the latest ideas and effective means of educating children
and adolescents. This tradition of innovation and concern for students continues
today. Teacher certification programs at Worcester State University are anchored
in a model that permits the juxtaposition of sound subject matter knowledge with
appropriate pedagogical skills.
Questions and Answers About
Q. I want to teach. I graduated
with a B.A. in Psychology. How do I go about changing careers?
A. You need to decide what age child you wish to
teach. If you want to teach young children, either Early Childhood (pre-K -
grades 2) or Elementary (1-6 grades) aged children, you would need to contact
the Undergraduate Admissions Department (508 929-8113) and ask about
post-baccalaureate certification programs. If you wish to teach children in
grades 5 - 8 (middle school) or 8 - 12 (secondary school), you would need to
contact the Graduate Admissions Office (508 929-8787). Worcester State
University has teacher licensure programs in Reading, Moderate Special Needs,
Educational Leadership, School Psychology and Middle or Secondary School
Education adminstered through Graduate and Continuing Education.
Q. What is an "approved" program?
A. Approved programs are degrees and licensure
programs at Worcester State University that the Massachusetts Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education has reviewed and approved.
Q. I have an Initial license in both Elementary
Education and Special Education. I want to earn my Master’s Degree in Elementary
Education. How can I keep both of my certificates? Do I need two Master’s
A. According to regulation, "A person holding an
Initial license for teaching in two or more fields, at the same level, who
qualifies for a Professional license in one of those fields, may qualify for a
Professional license in another field by completing the MTEL subject Test in
Q. I have an Initial license in Social Studies at the
Middle School level (grades 5-8) and the Secondary School (grades 8-12). If I
get my Master’s degree in Middle School Education, what will I have to do to
keep my Secondary Education Social Studies license?
A. According to regulation, "A person holding an
Initial license at two different levels in the same field who completes the
requirements for a Professional license on either level will need to meet the
requirements for professional licensure at both levels ."
To learn more about teacher licensure, please call
the WSU Education Department at (508) 929-8663 or visit the
MA DESE Website.