Becoming a Kindergarten Teacher in Massachusetts

Find out what is needed to become a kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts. Learn about the education, exam and license requirements and the prospective salary of a kindergarten teacher in the state. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Info for Massachusetts Kindergarten Teachers

To teach at kindergarten level in Massachusetts, prospective candidates have to first complete a bachelor's or higher degree through a state-approved Early Childhood PreK-2 educator program. Further, they must achieve passing scores in Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Communication and Literacy Skills, MTEL Early Childhood, and MTEL Foundations of Reading. Also, a Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) endorsement must be obtained. The table below highlights the specific requirements of a future kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's or higher degree in Early Childhood education through state-approved educator program, SEI endorsement
Exams Required MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills, MTEL Early Childhood, MTEL Foundations of Reading
License Validity Period Initial license valid for five years, with the option of another five years
Renewal Requirements A one-year induction program, three years of teaching, and 50 hours of mentored experience, all within the initial license period
Mean Salary (May 2018)* $75,510 (kindergarten school teachers)
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide)* 7% (kindergarten and elementary school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Description of a Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten teachers prepare young children for elementary school by teaching them basic skills such as letters and numbers, while also guiding them in their personal and social development. The classroom comprises children with varying degrees of learning ability, so educators are expected to be flexible with their teaching methods. Often, they are required to instruct students individually, especially those who show signs of educational or developmental problems. When they are not teaching in the classroom, kindergarten teachers create lesson plans and grade assignments.

Education Requirements

Those wishing to become a kindergarten teacher must earn a bachelor's or higher degree in Early Childhood education through an educator program approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). These programs provide teaching candidates a sound base in liberal arts and help them develop the necessary skills to become an effective childhood educator. There are also frequent field visits to a wide range of school settings, often under the watchful eyes of supervisors who provide prospective educators valuable feedback on their teaching methods. Candidates can also obtain an SEI endorsement through the program, which is required to help better communicate with and teach non-native speakers.

Exam Requirements

Future kindergarten teachers in Massachusetts must pass MTEL Early Childhood and MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills. Both tests are computer based with a multi-choice question format and feature a qualifying score of 240. The subject matter test covers topics such as child development, writing process, and knowledge of content areas like math and science. Besides these, candidates must also pass MTEL Foundations of Reading that evaluates a prospective teacher's knowledge of reading and language arts necessary for the license. Further, students can take SEI MTEL to earn the SEI endorsement.

Applying for License

To apply for the initial license, applicants have to create a profile in DESE's Educator Licensing And Recruitment (ELAR) portal. Here, they are required to submit official documents such as their MTEL scores and transcripts and also the application fee of $100. Approval of the application leads to the initial license which is valid for five years.

Renewal Requirements

After the five-year period, kindergarten teachers can try for professional certification, which is likewise valid for five years. Requirements for this license include 50 hours of mentored experience, a year-long induction program and three years of teaching, all within the initial license period. Additionally, a master's or higher degree in the subject area is a must. If these requirements are not met then candidates have the option to extend their initial license by five more years, following which they must advance to a professional license.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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