Changes from the DESE Licensure Office

Changes are underway or have already occurred in two areas: redesign of the licensure application review process and a new policy interpretation of the “12 Credit Rule.”

The changes are summarized below and links to department documents are provided.

DESE Licensure Office

1. Call Center Hours have been reduced from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. to 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.

2. The Licensure Office is moving to an increasingly paperless process resulting in virtually all communications regarding licensure being processed electronically and via email.

Application Review

  • Applications will not be reviewed until DESE has received all of the following: payment, official transcripts and notification of passing scores on the MTEL Communication and Literacy Tests.
  • Upon completion of an evaluation review, if subject matter tests are necessary, the application will not be reviewed again until DESE has received notification of passing scores on required subject matter tests.
  • Exceptions to this process will be made in the case of waivers or course pre-approval.
  • Districts may request that a licensure application be expedited.  The turnaround time is 24-48 hours.

License Issued
The Licensure Office will discontinue issuing hard copy licenses, effective 4/28/2011. The online Educator Licensure and Recruitment (ELAR) system will serve as the official record of educator licensure.

Verification of Licensure

  • Educators may print unofficial copies of their license.
  • Educators may request paper duplicates ($25.00).
  • Districts and educators may verify licensure on the ELAR profile page.
  • Districts have access to employees’ status by using the Licensure Status Drop Box through the Security Portal.
  • The Department has a 24-hour automated system accessible by calling 781-338-3000 and pressing 2. The caller needs either the social security number or the license number to access an individual’s licensure status.

The 12 Credit Rule
Some candidates for a Professional stage license (both Teacher and Specialist Teacher licenses) who already possess a master’s degree may use the “12 Credit Option” (12 credits of graduate level courses in the academic discipline appropriate to the instructional field of the license sought). Formerly only those content courses completed within a graduate content department were recognized. Going forward content courses completed within and outside a graduate level program will be recognized.

Graduate level courses that combine content and pedagogy will not be accepted unless pedagogy is listed in the subject matter knowledge requirements (603 CMR 7.06 and 7.07) for the license sought.

Individuals who previously have had courses denied may request a re-evaluation. A reconsideration request form is available at

How to contact the DESE


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