Everything You Need to Know About The Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL®)
So, you want to be a state-certified ESL teacher in MA? Here is everything you need to know about the test you need to take to get there: the MTEL.
Maybe you want to teach in a brick-and-mortar school. This could be a public or private school. Or, maybe you want to be a state-certified teacher who teaches online.
Why Should I take the MTEL?
You should take the MTEL if you want to be state-certified to teach in Massachusetts.
I started studying for the MTEL after around four years of exclusively teaching online and maybe ten years of teaching for various public and private schools part-time. First, I upped my professional chops by acquiring my TESL certificate.
I assumed an online certificate wouldn’t teach me anything I didn’t already know, as I had taught for years, but I was wrong. The course was rigorous and it improved my teaching immeasurably. I then decided to put in the time and effort to become a bona fide state-certified teacher.
What State is the Best State to get my Teaching License In?
Forgive the fact I ended that heading with a preposition. I chose Massachusetts because I lived there, though I traveled often. If you are having a hard time choosing what state to be certified in, you can pick a state and then transfer it to another state later. This is called reciprocity, and you can learn more at the teacher licensure reciprocity site.
Who Should Take the MTEL?
If you are a teacher in Massachusetts, it is a good idea to take the MTEL. To get a teaching license, you need to take the MTEL and pass. If you want to be a licensed teacher in Massachusetts (a “state-licensed teacher”) then you need to take -and pass- the MTEL.
If you want to Teach English As a Second Language in a classroom then you have to take the MTEL. This means, to be a brick-and-mortar teacher in Massachusetts, it is necessary to take this test. Some schools will hire you with the promise that you will complete the test within your first year of teaching. Reach out to the school to confirm this, but this will be stated clearly on the job offer if it is the case.
Bottom Line: Teaching English As a Second Language and Elementary Education 1-6 require a series of MTEL exams for licensure.
Which MTEL do I need to take?
It depends on what you want to teach.
The MTEL program includes tests of communication and literacy skills as well as tests of subject matter knowledge.
I took the tests required to become a licensed teacher of English as a Second Language.
Teacher Licenses Sought: English as a Second Language ESL (PreK-6)
To teach English to students who are learning English as a foreign language while also learning their academics in school, you need to take the foundational licensure tests along with the ESL subject test
TESTS You Must Take To Get The MTEL For Teaching ESL
- Communication and Literacy Skills (01)
- English as a Second Language (54)
You can learn more about how to become a state-certified teacher of ESL in Massachusetts on my blog posts about how to take the MTEL for ESL
How Do I Schedule the MTEL Tests?
Step 1. Obtain your MEPID
- First, go to https://gateway.edu.state.ma.us/elar
- Then, the Department’s Educator Licensure and Renewal system (ELAR) will pop up
- There, complete the steps to obtain your Massachusetts Education Personnel ID (MEPID)
Step 2. Pay for and Schedule your MTEL tests
- First, go to https://www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/
- Next, you can read the information for this option: Teacher Licenses Sought: English as a Second Language ESL (PreK-6)
- Then, scroll through to the bottom of the site. Go to the heading About The MTEL> “Online Test Registration”, which should lead you to this link.
- Then, input your MEPID (which you attained from Step 1). Follow the steps to choose the test “English as a Second Language (54)” for Teacher Licenses Sought: English as a Second Language ESL (PreK-6).
- Finally, pay. It is a lot of money. Breathe. Your career is an investment and you are worth it.
Congratulations. Now, you are committed. You can do this. You just dropped a lot of money on registering for these tests (or maybe just for the first one). You’ve invested in yourself and your future. You are worth it. Now, it is time to study and take the test. See below.
Step 3. Take the MTEL
What is on the MTEL test?
There are a few MTEL tests. The MTEL program includes tests of communication and literacy skills as well as tests of subject matter knowledge. To find the content within your subject matter test, you must find the TEST OBJECTIVES which are listed on the Dept. of Education MTEL website.
To Know what you are staying towards:
- Go to https://www.doe.mass.edu/mtel/
- Find the TEST OBJECTIVES for your test
What Should I bring to the MTEL?
Yoou might be wondering what to bring to the MTEL test. First of all, know that you can take the MTEL online. If you take it online, then prepare your desk with some water to drink and a snack.
- Identification: Bring your government ID. Don’t forget to bring at least one piece of current, government-issued identification. It should be printed in English, use the name in which you registered, and have a photograph and signature. Acceptable forms of identification include your Driver’s license with photograph and signature or passport.
- Dress in Layers. This applies to whether you take the test at home or at the testing center. If you get hot or cold when nervous, it will be helpful to be able to throw on your comfiest sweater or to peel off those layers. I like to bring an extremely decadent cashmere sweater to major tests. I find it comfortable but also aspirational. I wore my most expensive, but also comfortable, clothes to take my GRE to motivate myself. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”, as they say! This works for me, because I love good fabrics and pensive clothes, but it might not work for you. Perhaps your favorite sweatshirt makes you happiest. Take a tip from Marie Kondo and wear whatever brings you joy.
- No drinks or snacks allowed in the test center. Sorry.
What do I need to know for MTEL Test Day?
Test Day and What You Can’t Bring- Prohibited Items
Also, be sure NOT to bring anything prohibited. You won’t be able to leave the test center once the test begins.
The following are not allowed at the test center:
- No Cell phone!
- No drinks or snacks 🙁
- No wristwatch (so don’t use a wristwatch with an alarm while studying as you won’t be able to replicate that during the test day)
- No guns!
- No smoking or drugs (obviously)
- No recording device of any kind
- No gum
- No purse, wallet, backpack, briefcase, etc.
- No highlighters
Whatever you decide to bring, just be sure to get to your test early. If you are taking it at a test center, arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled testing time at least. Ditto if you are taking the test at home. You don’t want technical hiccups to impede your test day.
How should I study for the MTEL?
Everyone has a different study method that works best for them. I suggest taking another look at Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning and plan your study methods accordingly.
This serves a dual purpose:
- Increase your higher thinking skills. Following Bloom’s Taxonomy will scale your learning in a demonstrably increasing manner that has shown to increase your higher thinking skills.
- It will teach you Bloom’s Taxonomy, which will be on the MTEL test and is also simply crucial to internalize as a foundation of your language teaching practice.
What Score Do You Need On the MTEL?
You need a 240 to pass the MTEL.
Are MTEL Scores Scaled?
Yes. The scaled score is a conversion of the number of points achieved on the test to a score in a range of 100 to 300. A passing score means a scaled score of 240. In other words, if your scaled score is a 240, you passed. Congratulations!
How long are MTEL scores good for?
MTEL test scores do not expire! There is no expiration date. Read it again. They are valid forever. Isn’t that great?!
Can you retake the MTEL test?
Yes! More good news. You can retake your MTEL exam as many times as you need to receive a passing score. You just have to wait 45 days before you retake the same MTEL test or subtest. If you are taking a test that has more than one subtest, you can retake both of those subtests during the same session.
And, if this was helpful, you might want to look at some of these related posts.