How to Pass the MTEL

How Can I Get Certified to Teach English in Public Schools

If you want to teach English as a second language in a B&M School (that is “brick and mortar school” in ESL speak), then you need to take a bunch of tests to get certified. If you don’t have an MA in Education, you may be able to get a provisional teaching license if you pass these tests. First, pick a state to be certified in.

I chose to become certified in Massachusetts, to this post is about that process. If you want to become certified in MA too, then this will help!

What is the MTEL:

The MTEL stands for the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure® (MTEL®) program

If you want to teach English as a second language in Massachusetts, then you need to be state-certified for Massachusetts. This is for classroom teachers but also helps online teachers. There are lots of companies that don’t require teachers to be state-certified to teach English online. However, there are many online teaching positions that are for state-certified teachers, too. They often pay better.

If you are American and want to teach English online, it helps to be state-certified. There are companies that cater to homeschooled children in the USA, for example, and they want state-certified teachers. How do you become state certified to teach English?

Get a Provisional Teaching License

You get a Provisional Teaching License if you don’t have an MA in Education.

And you take the MTEL test

The MTEL program includes tests of communication and literacy skills as well as tests of subject matter knowledge. The tests aim to ensure that you can communicate adequately with students, parents/guardians, and other educators and that you are knowledgeable in the subject matter of the license sought.

How to pass the MTEL:

So, you better pass the test! It isn’t an easy test but if you have already taken an online TEFL program or have a BA in Education or MA in Education, then many of the theorists and teaching methods that you will need to understand to pass the test will already be familiar to you.

Study Material for the MTEL

Study Material for the MTEL

To access some test taking resources to study for the test, you can go to Here, you can find classes to study for the MTEL, and also practice MTEL tests, and study guides and books.

PrepForward is a preferred MTEL preparation vendor. It offers MTEL prep online courses designed specifically to ensure you pass your MTEL exams. They feature targeted lessons, interactive exercises, full-length MTEL practice tests, detailed explanations for every question, rich diagnostic data, unlimited access, and expert instructor support. PrepForward’s MTEL preparation courses have been used by educators across Massachusetts.

Additional MTEL study guides and resources

In addition, I found these resources extremely helpful:

Happy studying and good luck. You’ve got this.

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Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL
Ingrid Maria Pimsner, MA, BA, TEFL

Ingrid Maria Pimsner has been teaching for over a decade in various universities, nonprofits, and private academies. She has taught English as a Second Language for Lutheran Children & Family Service, Nationalities Service Center, Lernstudio Barbarossa Berlin-Tegel, and more. In addition to her Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Certification, she holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from Maryland Institute College of Art.