- MTEL Information
- Practicum Placement Process
- Practicum Information
- Applying for Your Teaching or Counseling License
- Things to Remember After you Complete Your Initial Licensure Program
Who do I contact if I have questions about my licensure program or my major?
Many of your questions can be answered by your advisor. See the contact list located at the beginning of the Educator Preparation Handbook for a list of program directors and department chairs. When in doubt contact the Office of Educator Preparation and Licensure (413-748-3155).
How do I know what my major is?
Undergraduate students: In many cases your major is different from your licensure program or you will have two majors. For example, students preparing to be physical education teachers major in Movement and Sport Studies (MOST), student preparing to be health teachers major in Health Studies (HLTH), students seeking elementary licensure major in Education and one of the following, American Studies (AMST), Mathematics and Computer Technology (MACT), or English (ENGL), and students preparing for secondary level teaching major in Education and their content area, Biology, English, History, Mathematics or Art.
Graduate students: Your major is designated at the time of admission and often includes a concentration. For example, students in the elementary licensure program have EDUCATIONAL STUDIES as their major with an elementary concentration and students in the school guidance counseling program are completing a PSYCHOLOGY major with a school guidance counseling concentration. For more information speak with your advisor, refer to the college catalog, or contact the Educator Preparation Office.
Can I have a minor?
Undergraduate students only: For teacher candidates who complete two majors (e.g., elementary, secondary) there are very few if any elective credits available in your program, therefore, it is usually not possible to complete a minor unless you take courses beyond those required to complete your bachelor’s degree. For many other teacher candidates (e.g., PE, HLTH), in essence your teacher preparation program is your minor. You are already completing a major and a program in teacher preparation. In many cases it is not possible to complete a minor unless you take courses beyond those required to complete your bachelor’s degree. Note: With careful planning, students in physical education can complete a minor in health studies, athletic coaching or dance.
Who is my academic advisor? When will I find out this information?
Your academic advisor(s) will be assigned prior to the start of your first semester of enrollment.
In some cases you will have two academic advisors. For example undergraduate students in elementary and secondary education (biology, English, history, mathematics, and visual art) have one advisor in the education department and another in the content department (e.g., biology, social science).
What if I want to change advisors?
Select a new advisor and make sure the individual is willing to advise you. Then, fill out a change of advisor form (available from the registrar’s office) and submit to the registrar’s office. Finally, notify your original advisor of the switch. Your advisement file will then be transferred to your new advisor.
I’m a transfer student. How do I determine which courses I can substitute or waive for my program at Springfield College?
Transfer students follow a two step process: 1. The college approves transfer credit and determines if it can count toward the general education requirements, major requirements or as elective credit. 2. Your advisor can help you determine which courses can be substituted or waived for required courses that are part of the teacher licensure program. A Waiver of Program Component form must be filled out by the student and signed by the advisor. Students in their final year are advised to submit the requests no later than December 1, if graduating in May/August or May 1, if graduating in December.
What if I take a class at another college during the summer?
Students taking a class at another institution must follow a two step process to transfer in the credit and have it appear on the official transcript and use it to substitute for a Springfield College course. First, students must complete a transfer credit approval form (available from the registrar’s office). Second, student must complete an Educator Preparation Waiver of Program Component Form. Your academic advisor can help with this process.
Where can I get a waiver form?
Waiver of Program Component forms are available in the Educator Preparation Office, department offices and from your advisor.
What is the process for requesting a waiver?
Fill out a waiver form completely, have your advisor sign it. Your advisor will forward the waiver to the appropriate individual(s). Once the waiver has all the necessary signatures it is to be submitted along with supporting documentation to the Educator Preparation Office.
How will I know whether or not the waiver was approved?
Once action has been taken, a copy of the waiver form with all signatures indicating whether or not the substitution/waiver is acceptable will be mailed to you by the department.
Standards for Educator Preparation Programs
When should I (undergraduate students only) apply for admission into a specific teacher preparation program? Undergraduate students can apply at the end of their sophomore year or at the beginning of their junior year.
When do I (graduate students only) get admitted to a specific educator preparation program?
Graduate students are admitted to the Educator Preparation program when they get admitted to the Springfield College graduate school. Is there anything I need to do? Yes, all graduate students must fill out the Graduate Educator Preparation Registration Form during the first semester they are enrolled.
What if I don’t meet the admissions requirements?
You should see your advisor first and department chair next to determine a plan of action.
(Undergraduate students only) When should I plan to take the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills tests to be on track for admission to an Educator Preparation program?
It is best to take the test for the first time at the end of your first year, no later than the fall semester of your sophomore year.
(Graduate students only) When should I take the MTEL Communication and Literacy skills tests? You should take the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test immediately. The expectation is that you will pass these tests by the end of your first semester in the program. In order to continue to make satisfactory progress and be allowed to stay in a graduate licensure program you must pass the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills test by a program specific date.
What if I do not pass the MTEL Communication and Literacy skills test?
You should plan to take the part(s) you didn’t pass at the next test administration. In preparation for the test(s) you should either take the test prep course (SPCO 201) if you haven’t already taken it, or get help from the Academic Success Center or an individual tutor
( Graduate teacher candidates only) When should I take the required subject test(s)?
You should take the appropriate subject test for your discipline (e.g., general curriculum for elementary & special education, early childhood, history, math, physical education) immediately. The expectation is that you will pass this test by the end of your first semester in the program. [Note: Students in ELEM/ECED/SPED (TSMD) must pass a second subject test, the Foundations of Reading test. This test should be taken at the end of the semester you are enrolled in EDUC 627: Construction, Management, & Assessment of Literacy Programs.]
(Undergraduate candidates only) When do I take the required Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) subject test(s)?
You usually take the subject test(s) early in your junior year so you are eligible to be placed to student teach your senior year. See the Strategies for Taking the MTEL at the beginning of the next section for more details.
What resources are available to help me pass the test?
See resources in the next section (section III) of this handbook.
When and where do I take the MTEL exams?
The MTEL is typically offered five times in September, November, March, May and July. The four-hour tests are scheduled on Saturdays. The Com/Lit test and the Foundations of Reading test (required for ELEM, ECED & SPED) take place in the morning. All other subject tests are administered in the afternoon. The tests are administered at different locations throughout the state.
[NOTE: For the Communication and Literacy Skills and Foundations of Reading tests only, there are six additional computer-based testing windows in August, October, January, February, April and June, for an additional fee of $60.]
I heard there are multiple tests, how many will I have to take? All candidates for initial educator licensure in Massachusetts must pass a test of Communication & Literacy skills. Individuals seeking a teaching license must also pass a subject test. In addition to this, candidates for early childhood, elementary and special education are required to pass a second subject test, the Foundations of Reading test.
Can I take all tests on the same day?
The Communication & Literacy Skills test and the Foundations of Reading test are both administered only in the four-hour morning session. All other subject tests are administered only in the four-hour afternoon session. You may register to take one or two tests on any administration date. However, it is recommended that you do not take two four-hour tests on the same day. In fact, when a four-hour test is divided into 2 subtests (i.e., Com/Lit & General Curriculum) it is recommended that you consider taking these subtests on different dates; depending upon how strong a test-taker you are.
Should I take the SC test prep course (SPCO 201) or attend an MTEL orientation session?
At the very least you should attend the 3-hour MTEL orientation session prior to taking the Communication & Literacy Skills test for the first time. If you want substantial help preparing for the Com/Lit test you should register for the test prep course SPCO 201: Building Communication & Literacy Skills. For more information contact your advisor or the Educator Preparation Office.
Are there any subject test review sessions offered? Subject test review sessions are offered from time to time. Contact individual departments for more information.
What is the passing score?
The passing score for all tests is 240.
What does it mean if I get a Conditional-Pass on the General Curriculum-Mathematics subtest?
A result of Conditional-Pass indicates that a score of at least 227-239 between March 7, 2009 and June 30, 2012 meets the qualifying score requirement, however, conditions apply as approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Test-takers who scored in the 227-239 range will be required to retake the General Curriculum mathematics subtest and earn a score of 240 or higher in order to advance the license to the next stage or to renew an Initial License. For more information, please refer to the MA DESE web site at www.doe.mass.edu/educators
If you received a conditional-pass on this subtest, we STRONGLY RECOMMEND you take this portion of the test again while you are still at Springfield College and can take advantage of the support we are offering our students. Please contact the Educator Preparation Office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a conditional-pass.
How long does it take to get the test results? It takes approximately five weeks to get the results. The date the results will be mailed is published on the back of the MTEL registration booklet and at www.mtel.nesinc.com.
Can I retake a test if I do not pass? Yes, you can repeat each test an unlimited number of times.
I am not planning to teach in the state of Massachusetts, do I have to take the MTEL?
All Springfield College students in educator preparation programs must pass the MTEL in order to successfully complete an approved program.
Will I have to take other tests if I want to get licensed and teach in another state?
Yes, almost every state department of education has their own testing requirement. In most cases the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure are not accepted by other states to meet their testing requirement.
Practicum Placement Process
How do I apply for my practicum placement?
Once a student has met the requirements for practicum placement, a student will apply to be placed by attending a “Practicum Application Meeting.” These are scheduled early in the fall and in early February. The student will fill out an application listing their placement site preferences (e.g., travel time/distance, type of school & grade level) and fulfill all the other requirements.
How long is the practicum experience?
Students typically report full-time (all day) to their practicum site. The number of days/weeks of the practicum experience will vary depending on the field and levels of licensure a student is seeking. Many students choose to have two experiences, at two different sites, for half a semester each. Others will be at the same placement site for the full semester. The total minimum number of practicum clock hours required by Springfield College ranges from 300 (e.g., most teaching licenses) to 450 (e.g., school counseling) depending on your program.
Can I do my practicum anywhere?
Most students are placed within a 15-mile radius of Springfield College. See #6 under practicum policies at the beginning of section IV for more details.
What if I do not like the school or the teacher for a potential placement?
Students will be emailed their tentative site(s) prior to making the placement requests. Students should respond to the email or stop by the Educator Preparation Office to give their approval. If a student is not happy with a potential placement s/he must inform the Office of Educator Preparation & Licensure immediately.
Who will be my college supervisor?
College supervisors are assigned by directors/coordinators of the various programs. Students will be notified of their supervisor at the first “Practicum Seminar” meeting prior to the start of their practicum.
What happens if I have to miss a day?
Practicum students are expected to call the school, their supervising practitioner, the Educator Prep Office, and college supervisor if they have to miss a day. Practicum students are expected to report to their practicum site every day. Students most often will have to make up days missed.
What does my supervising practitioner get?
Professional Development Points (PDPs), a choice of a $100 stipend or tuition grants, plus access to Springfield College parking and some facilities. See supervising practitioner’s “perks” packet for more details.
What do I do if I have problems with my placement after the practicum has begun?
If you have problems/issues with your placement after your practicum experience begins, you should contact your college supervisor immediately. Then you should contact the Director of Educator Preparation and Licensure. Every effort will be made to resolve any problems/issues. If this is not possible then you may be moved to a different site.
Applying for Your Teaching or Counseling License
Do I need to apply for educator licensure?
Yes, you must apply for licensure. See information at the beginning of this section of the handbook.
What is the best way (easiest and fastest) to apply for licensure in Massachusetts?
On-line via ELAR (http://mass.gov/doe/educators).
When should I apply?
I f you are applying on-line, you should apply sometime during your final semester.
I am planning to go right on to graduate school. Should I wait to apply for my Massachusetts license until I am ready to look for a job? No, you should apply immediately when you complete your program. Regulations, requirements and fees often change, it is best to get licensed now.
I don’t plan to teach in Massachusetts, should I still apply in Massachusetts?
Yes, it is in your best interests to get licensed in Massachusetts first and then apply in other states.
Will I have any difficulty getting licensed in other states?
No, you should not have any trouble getting licensed in other states because of the interstate agreement.
Once I pass the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL), will I have to take any additional tests for any other states?
Yes, the majority of states have testing requirements that are unique to their state. In most cases, you will not be able to use the MTEL exams in lieu of other state tests.
I am planning to seek a teaching/counseling position in NY, CT, MA, or RI. Should I apply for licensure in several states at one time?
No, apply for your Massachusetts license first. If you are planning to look for jobs in two or more states, wait until you have been offered a job or have a solid job prospect before applying in another state.
I am planning to look for a job in NJ and no other state. Should I apply for NJ licensure at the same time I apply for MA licensure?
Yes, it makes sense to apply simultaneously to MA and NJ since you are only seeking a job in one state - NJ.
After I have been teaching for a few years, how do I get my professional licensure?
See Massachusetts Regulations for Educator Licensure (Section VII of this handbook), 603 CMR 7.04 (2) (c)
After I have been in a counseling position for a few years how do I get my professional license?
See Massachusetts Regulations for Educator Licensure (Section VII of this handbook), 603 CMR 7.11 (1) (b)
How do I get licensed in a new field or new level? See Massachusetts Regulations for Educator Licensure (Section VII of this handbook), 603 CMR 7.14 (2)
Things to Remember After you Complete Your Initial Licensure Program
Frequently asked questions about advancing your initial license in Massachusetts to a professional license
Note: You must be employed in a public school in the role of the license (e.g., PE, ELEM, HIST, GUID, ADMN) for a minimum of 3 years before you are eligible for a professional license. Teachers also need evidence they received formal mentoring.
- 1. How long is my MA initial license valid? It is valid for 5 years of employment in a Massachusetts public school.
- 2. What about in other states? This varies by state. You can usually get the answer to this question from the personnel office in the school district you get hired.
- 3. Is it true I have to get a master’s degree in MA to advance my initial teaching license to professional? One path for advancing your license is to complete an approved master’s degree program. Other options include completing a school district-based approved teacher licensure program that does not include obtaining a master’s degree. The key is to make sure whatever you do is part of an approved licensure program.
- 4. What if I already have a master’s degree, then what? If you already have a master’s degree (e.g., got your initial license through a master’s degree program), you need to take an additional 12 credits at the graduate level in your content area to advance your initial license. Tip: You may be able to count a couple of courses from your master’s degree program toward your professional license.
- 5. What do I have to do to advance my initial school guidance counselor license to professional? The easiest route to follow is to take 12 additional graduate credits in counseling- or education-related courses.
- 6. Will the licensure regulations likely change before I earn my professional license? Yes, so stay in touch!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Review Sessions and Practice Tests
- Study Materials
- Assistance Programs at Springfield College
- MTEL Test Dates
- MTEL Registration and Information
- MTEL Test Objectives
- MTEL Practice Tests
- Springfield College MTEL Results