Teacher Licensure in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has several levels of teacher licensure. Framingham State University's PBTL Program prepares students for the Initial License with its coursework, field-based experiences, and supervised practicum. The Initial License has a life of five (5) years of teaching. The professional license may be earned by adding an appropriate master’s program.

The requirements mandated by Massachusetts are a major effort to strengthen the preparation of teachers and administrators in the schools. Framingham State University has responded by adjusting the requirements in its programs. It will continue to do so, as it simultaneously seeks to protect the interests of its students while remaining in compliance with state regulations. All information in this bulletin is accurate as of press time and is subject to any further change in state laws and regulations.

Further information about the PBTL Program may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions.


Secondary Education Academic Subject Licenses

For those preparing to teach biology, chemistry, earth & space science, English, History, mathematics, Spanish, or Visual Art, applications are considered on an individual basis in accordance with the subject matter knowledge specified in Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Regulations and the program requirements of Framingham State University. Each department affiliated with a secondary education program determines the subject matter requirements needed for recommendation to the state for licensure.

Early Childhood Education (Grades Pre-K-2) or Elementary Education (Grades 1-6)

The focus of the PBTL program at the early childhood or elementary level is on teaching methods. However, adequate preparation in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics is necessary to establish the groundwork for success in the classroom. Candidates lacking sufficient preparation in any area will be asked to make up deficiencies.


Studies in Education

All students in the PBTL program must take coursework in teaching methods, development and learning, and foundational studies dealing with the nature of schooling in our society. The precise courses differ according to the licensure sought, but all PBTL program include the following three core courses:

Enrollment in EDIL 900 Field Study I in Education and Seminar requires that students have (a) already completed or be currently enrolled in EDIL 910 Education Foundations or EDIL 920 learning and Human Development; and (b) submitted an application to the PBTL program.

NOTE: All students, with the exception of those pursuing licensure in Foreign Language, must also complete a “Sheltered English Immersion” course. This requirement can be completed by enrolling in the following FSU course:


In-School Experience

There are presently three or four in-school or “field” experiences, depending on the license sought. Only students matriculated in the PBTL program may enroll in Field Study II and III, and student teaching practicum. The first field experience focuses principally on observation. The second, and in the case of elementary and early childhood programs the third as well, are part of teaching methods courses and involve taking on some real teaching responsibility. (These first experiences are designated Field Study I, II, and III.) The fourth experience (the third for subjects other than elementary and early childhood) is the student teaching practicum. It requires a semester’s full-time commitment. PBTL students preparing for an Initial License may apply to use a semester of employment by a cooperating school district either as a teacher of record or as an aide in the field and at the level of the license sought. Students must be so employed at the time of application and have completed all other program and college requirements. The University’s Education Department will review applications on a case by case basis.

For more information, refer to the course descriptions for:


Application Process

Applications are accepted year round and students may begin a program any semester. Prospective students apply for the Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure Program through the Office of Graduate Studies. Application requires a fee of $50.00, transcripts of college work from all previous colleges, and two letters or recommendation. Documentation of any work experience in public schools, including dates, should be submitted at this time. For an application to the PBTL program, please call Graduate Admissions at 508-626- 4528 or apply online at www.framingham.edu.  

Prospective applicants who wish to have an advising session prior to applying can schedule an appointment with an advisor on Monday evenings between the hours of 4:30pm and 7:30pm; on campus or over the phone. You can schedule an appointment online or by calling (508) 626-4755.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the PBTL Program requires a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university. A minimum undergraduate overall grade point average of 2.80 is required. PBTL candidates with deficiencies in the liberal arts or sciences will be required to take appropriate courses in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics before admittance to more advanced studies in the PBTL education sequence involving teaching method and practice.

The Education Department maintains a student’s licensure folder for any PBTL applicant who began the licensure sequence as an undergraduate at FSU. This folder contains evaluations on education classroom performance and professional attributes appropriate for teachers as well as academic achievement. Therefore, the existing licensure folder for a PBTL applicant will be reviewed, in conjunction with the PBTL program application, by the appropriate admissions committee for the license sought. Where any questions arise, the appropriate admissions committee reserves the right to discuss the contents of the student’s licensure file with the PBTL applicant.

Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure

The Commonwealth presently administers MTEL examinations several times a year. The deadline to register for the exams take place approximately six (6) weeks before the examination is given. For further information and to register, visit www.mtel.nesinc.com.


Foundations of Reading Test

Although a passing score on the Foundations of Reading Test is not a requirement to apply for the PBTL Program, it is a requirement for student teaching practicum and the Initial License in early childhood and elementary education.


Subject Matter Knowledge (SMK) Test

Although a passing score on the Subject Matter Knowledge Test is not a requirement to apply for the PBTL Program, it is a requirement for student teaching practicum and the Initial License in that subject matter.


Massachusetts Test for Education Licensure (MTEL) Preparation Workshops

Framingham State University conducts MTEL Preparation Workshops for the Communication and Literacy Skills Test and Foundations of Reading Test. Please contact Continuing Education at 508-626-4603 for further information, or visit www.framingham.edu.

Additional Program Information

PBTL students often live complicated lives. If you must stay out for a semester, notify the Coordinator of Field Placements as early as possible if you have applied for a school placement, and notify the hosting public school if you have been placed. Notify also the PBTL program. To return after a semester away you must send a letter requesting reinstatement to the PBTL program. The request should be received at least one month prior to the appropriate course registration period.  Students who stop taking classes for even one semester will be governed by the regulations and requirements in effect at the time of their return. If you return after an extended time away, a more extensive review may be necessary.

The University reserves the right to require repetition of requirements after five years.

Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.8 in all education courses and a minimum GPA of 2.8 in all courses taken at Framingham State University in order to enroll in Field Study II, III, and student teaching. A PBTL student who receives a grade below B- is subject to review by the Professional Standards Committee.

Teaching is important and sensitive work involving extensive interaction with children and/or adolescents and their parents, with colleagues, and with supervisors. The University and its faculty are deeply committed to insuring the quality of PBTL graduates. In accordance with the requirements for approval and accreditation established by the Commonwealth, the Framingham State University Professional Standards Committee applies specific criteria for the retention of candidates in teacher preparation to determine whether they possess academic competencies and personal characteristics appropriate to the requirements of teaching. The Professional Standards Committee uses objective and subjective criteria for permitting students to progress through the teacher education programs.


Completion of this State recognized Post Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure program is noted on each academic record. When students apply to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education an official transcript of the academic record must be submitted.

All Field Study I placements require a complete PBTL application submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions prior to the start of the semester of placement. All field experience placements in public schools require also an application for that field experience and are made only by the FSU Coordinator of Field Placements, not by students.

Participation in Field Study I requires completion or enrollment in either PBTL 992 or PBTL 910. With more than 350 Framingham State University students visiting public schools each semester, university-school relations require sensitive and time-consuming arrangements.

Application forms for public school field placement for Field Study I, Field Study II, Field Study III, and the Student Teaching Practicum are available through the University’s Education Department (Dwight Hall 302) or online at this link.

Applications must be submitted in person to the Education Department’s Field Placement office by October 1 for spring semester and February 15 for fall semester placements.

Field Study I may be waived with 36+ hours of classroom experience in non-charter public schools through substitute teaching, service as an aide, or volunteering, over the course of eight or more weeks. The classroom must be similar in level and concentration for the license you are seeking. For specifics see the FSU Education Department Field Placement Handbook: Policies and Guidelines. Documentation of the experience should be provided by the school to the PBTL Program Coordinator at the Office of Graduate Studies, Dwight Hall, Room 204. No other field experiences may be waived.

No class on campus accompanies Field Study I but registration is required so that student records will reflect the completed experience. There is no tuition for Field Study I. There is a fee at registration. Students must also register for the associated courses that are required in conjunction with Field Study II and III, based on their areas of concentration. The field experiences in Field Study II and III serve as a laboratory for the development of teaching skills. These field studies may not be waived.

Q    Suppose I wish to earn a license in a specific subject and I don’t have Framingham State University's required preparation in that subject?
    The appropriate academic departments will make an assessment of your academic record when it is submitted according to established procedures. The Office of Graduate Studies will inform you of any courses needed to fill in gaps in preparation.  (It is simply not possible to do a quick review of your record in order to give you a quick answer.  Academic transcripts are too varied in character and the importance of accuracy too great to permit anything less than careful evaluation).
Q     Suppose my undergraduate major was not in one of the liberal arts or sciences?  What should I do?
    If you want a license in a specific subject, the appropriate academic department will review your record and let you know what courses you need.  If elementary or early childhood licensure is your aim, you will need to make sure that you have adequate preparation in the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and mathematics for success in the classroom and for passing the subject portion of the MTEL.  Consult with an advisor in the Center for Academic Support and Advising (CASA) at 508-626-4540.
    May I substitute prior experience or coursework for any of the elements of this program?
    Prior school experience will be evaluated by the Education Department to determine if a waiver of Field Study I is justified. Prior courses in education foundations, developmental psychology, and academic subjects will similarly be examined.  Courses involving Field Study II, Curriculum, or student teaching are not waivable.
Q     Can I be a full-time student?
A     For the most part, except for the Student Teaching Practicum, students attend this program on a part-time basis.  However, students taking academic subject courses may enroll full-time during the day, depending on course schedules.
Q     Suppose my working hours conflict with the program?
A     All in-school placements have to take place during the day. And, because of the need to hold classes at times convenient for most students, other classes may also be held during the day.  Your program will take careful planning also because not every course is offered every semester.  Inquire if you have specific concerns about conflicts with your work schedule.
Q     What’s the job market like?
A     In some subjects teaching positions go unfilled.  In others the competition is keener, especially during a period of economic downturn. Generally speaking, the picture is promising for Massachusetts teachers. A large number of teachers are reaching retirement age and a reviving economy should stimulate hiring.

Q   When is the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) administered and do you have workshops to help students prepare?
  The Commonwealth presently administers MTEL examinations several times a year. For further information and the most recent registration bulletin, please click here.

Q     Are there advisors to help answer the questions I have?
A     Yes.  For further information, consult with one of our admission advisors, by phone or zoom. Schedule your appointment here.

Contact the Coordinator

Kelly Matthews

Kelly Matthews, Ph.D.

Liberal Studies Advisor and Coordinator and Associate Professor, English Department