• Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)


    Governor Baker has issued an executive order extending licenses for certain licensed professionals, including licensed educators. The order states that a license that is “in good standing” as of March 18, 2020, and that has expired or will expire during the state of emergency, is now extended and will remain valid until 90 days after the end of the state of emergency. The Department expects to issue guidance to implement the terms of the order.

    Impact of COVID-19 on Licensure Office Operations

    As we all navigate through these unprecedented times, please know that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Office of Educator Licensure (OEL) are working hard to maintain operations while adhering to current public safety directives. Thanks to the efforts of our IT Team, as of March 22nd our Licensure Call Center is able to function remotely. Four full time Licensure Representatives are able to assist you each business day from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Please note that typically when the call volume increased, non-Call Center staff would log in to reduce the queue and assist callers, unfortunately, that is no longer possible with our remote access and as a result, callers may experience longer wait times than normal.

    Additional remote access to ELAR was resolved and as of March 22nd, OEL staff are able to view documents uploaded to ELAR from home meaning that reviews of applications will be occurring on a regular basis. As of today, just over 1,100 applications were awaiting a review and we expect those to be reviewed in the next several business days. School districts are able to request an expedite of an application so please contact your Principal or Central Office if an expedite of your application is needed, reviews of such applications typically occur within 24-48 hours.

    We recognize that some aspects of our operations need to performed in person, such as processing incoming and outgoing mail, scanning documents, etc. Please note that almost all licensure related documents and transactions can be accomplished online in ELAR, any functions that are required to be performed physically at the Department will be delayed.

    If you have questions related to educator licensure in Massachusetts you may wish to visit the Office of Educator Licensure’s YouTube channel where you can view the Massachusetts Educator Licensure Series (MELS), a sequence of informational videos for current and aspiring educators. MELS consists of videos that provide an overview of pathways to academic teacher, vocational teacher, and academic school administrator licensure in the Commonwealth. Whether you are a career changer, prepared as an educator inside or outside of Massachusetts, or an experienced teacher or school administrator in the Commonwealth, there is a MELS video tailored to your needs.

    Office of Educator Licensure

    MTEL Testing Centers closings due to COVID-19
    As COVID-19 continues to spread globally, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) first priority is the health and safety for all test taking candidates. Starting Tuesday, March 17, Pearson Education, Inc is suspending test delivery at all U.S.- and Canada-based Pearson VUE-owned test centers for 30 days until April 16. As a result, most test appointments in this timeframe have been cancelled.

    Please see the MTEL website for more information specific to MTEL candidates.

    We understand the implications associated with not being able to take the MTEL. The DESE is reviewing the impact on candidates and will release more information as soon as possible.


    Updated 4/2/2020

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