Massachusetts may be best known for the Mayflower and clam chowder, but the commonwealth also boasts a rich educational history. Harvard University, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prevails as the oldest university in the country and one of the most prestigious schools in the world. Since Massachusetts takes education seriously, its teachers and students also enjoy high-priority status.
Education can be a dependable career choice in any state, especially since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an added 441,000 education, training, and library occupations within the U.S. economy from 2019-2029. Teachers in Massachusetts may particularly benefit from this growth.
The average Massachusetts teacher salary exceeds the national mean by more than $20,000, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Now may be an excellent time for education majors to consider teaching in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts at a Glance
|Per Capita Income||$43,349|
|Full-Time Equivalent Teachers||73,868.49|
|Number of Public School Districts||432|
|Number of Public K-12 Schools||1,854|
|Number of Higher Learning Institutions||30|
Average Annual Temperature: 47.9℉
Annual Precipitation: 47.7 inches
|Major Sports Teams||New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, Boston Bruins, New England Revolution|
Top Massachusetts Schools for Teaching
- University of Massachusetts-Amherst
- Merrimack College
- Wheelock College
- Bay Path University
- Northeastern University Lifelong Learning Network
- Western New England University
- Lesley University
- Boston University
- Harvard University
- Westfield State University
Why Go to College for Education in Massachusetts?
Education majors in Massachusetts can look forward to accredited education, high salaries upon graduation, and quality school districts. According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the state offers more than 75 educator preparation organizations, including those at colleges and universities. These offer a variety of instructional styles to meet different learning needs. In fact, more than 20% of Massachusetts students are enrolled in online or hybrid style instruction.
Educator preparation programs across Massachusetts share a common goal: preparing new teachers to make an immediate and positive impact on students. Massachusetts also participates in an exchange program with other New England states, allowing for easy transfers from community colleges to four-year universities between participating states.
Colleges in Massachusetts also work to support diverse students. The Lumina Foundation awarded Massachusetts' Department of Higher Education $1.2 million in grant funding to support students of color and prevent barriers to student success. Lumina has awarded only five states this Talent, Innovation, Equity initiative grant.
Additionally, public student equity needs take high priority in the commonwealth. The Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993 called for equitable changes to public education over a seven-year period. The act mandates more funding for schools and accountability for student learning, plus stricter standards for students, educators, schools, and school districts.
Postsecondary Education Statistics for Massachusetts
Massachusetts is home to 102 four-year postsecondary institutions and 22 two-year colleges. Many of those schools offer online options, and while 20.8% of Massachusetts students take advantage of distance education, the state falls behind the national average of 34.7% for online learning.
Perhaps due to the number of private schools in this state, Massachusetts also falls slightly behind the national average for postsecondary education appropriations per full-time college student and the percent of tax revenue allocated to higher education.
|MA Data||National Data|
|Number of Four-Year Colleges||102||3,004|
|Number of Two-Year Colleges||22||1,579|
|Percentage of Students Enrolled in Distance Education||20.8%||34.7%|
|Postsecondary Education Appropriations per Full-Time Student||$7,859||$8,196|
|Percent of Tax Revenue Allocated to Higher Education||3.4%||5.8%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With an Associate Degree||7.7%||8.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Bachelor's Degree||23.8%||19.4%|
|Percentage of Adults Over 25 With a Graduate Degree or Higher||19.1%||12.1%|
Accreditation for Massachusetts Schools
Accreditation ensures that a postsecondary institution meets quality standards set by a third-party organization representing the academic community. Schools must undergo repeated reviews by accreditors every 7-10 years. Prospective students should consider attending accredited schools, which demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and are more likely to produce proficient graduates.
There are two types of accreditation: regional and national. Regional agencies concentrate on institutions in specific areas of the country, and national agencies evaluate institutions across the country. Most colleges and universities seek regional accreditation, while national accreditation applies to trade and vocational schools.
Prospective education majors in Massachusetts should look for two major accreditations: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges regulates postsecondary institutions in the state, and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation focuses specifically on teaching programs.
Considerations for a Teaching Degree in Massachusetts
Searching for a college can feel overwhelming, but Massachusetts teaching students can start the process by researching several important decision-making factors.
Teacher candidates must first determine their desired degree level, along with the age group and subject they would like to teach. Students should also decide on their preferred education format and look into the cost of education and living in Massachusetts. On average, annual tuition and fees in Massachusetts cost $12,778 for in-state students and $29,774 for nonresidents — so learners may also want to consider education financing options.
Teaching Degree Levels
Students' prospective career goals may impact their degree selection. The four levels of teaching degrees vary in length, cost, specialization offerings, and job prospects.
Associate Degree in Teaching
- Educators with an associate degree in teaching may work as preschool teachers, paraeducators, or directors of childcare facilities.
- These programs generally take about two years to complete. Some can be completed fully online, and some may require in-person observation experiences.
- Associate teaching programs often provide classes in early childhood education and reading.
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
- Educators with a bachelor's degree in teaching may work as kindergarten teachers, special education teachers, or subject-specific high school teachers, depending on their major.
- Bachelor's degrees in teaching generally take four years, requiring a student teaching experience and a state-specific teacher preparation program.
- Concentrations within a bachelor's degree may include early childhood, elementary, and secondary education.
Master's Degree in Teaching
- Educators with a master's degree in teaching qualify for any licensed teaching position. Obtaining a master's degree in teaching helps educators earn higher salaries and gain leverage in the job market.
- Master's degrees in teaching generally take two years to complete.
- Types of teaching master's degrees include an MA in teaching, a master of education, and an MS in teaching.
Ph.D. in Teaching
- Educators with a doctoral degree in teaching can work as classroom teachers or pursue careers with nonprofit organizations, in educational policy, or in administration.
- A Ph.D. in education takes 2-3 years to complete, but the research and dissertation composition process may take longer for some students.
- Concentrations for doctoral degrees in teaching include educational leadership/administration, elementary education, special education, higher education, and curriculum instructional leadership.
What Grade or Subject Will You Want To Teach?
Teaching degrees and concentrations often focus on specific student demographics. Before selecting a school or teaching program, prospective teachers should carefully consider which age groups and subjects they would most like to teach.
- Educators with an associate degree and higher can teach early childhood education and children 3-4 years old.
- Preschool students need instruction in early language development, social skills, and early reading and writing skills.
- Licensed educators with a bachelor's degree or higher can teach elementary education (grades K-5).
- Specializations in literacy and special education are especially relevant for this age group.
- Elementary education focuses on the development of reading, writing, and mathematics, along with technology and emotional intelligence.
- Licensed educators with a bachelor's degree or higher can teach middle school education (grades 6-8)
- Content specializations such as language arts, mathematics, science, and special education are especially useful for this age group.
- Middle school education focuses on core subjects, emotional intelligence, technology, and preparation for high school.
- Licensed educators with a bachelor's degree or higher can teach high school education (grades 9-12).
- Content specializations such as language arts, mathematics, science, and special education are especially useful for this age group.
- High school education focuses on mastery of core subjects, technology, and preparation for life after graduation.
- Educators with a bachelor's degree or higher in special education can teach K-12 students with physical, mental, emotional, and learning disabilities.
- Special educators develop individual lesson plans based on each student's capabilities, difficulties, and needs.
- Special educators focus on supporting student issues related to behavioral disorders, physical impairments, and learning disabilities.
On-Campus Versus Online Program Options
After educator candidates determine their content and age specialization, they must decide whether to pursue their education in person, online, or through a hybrid format.
|Enrolled Exclusively in Distance Education Courses||Enrolled in Some but Not All Distance Education Courses||Not Enrolled in Any Distance Education Courses|
|United States Students||16.3%||18.4%||65.3%|
Paying for Your Teaching Degree
Postsecondary schooling can be a costly investment, but students may utilize financing options to make their degrees more affordable. Students who identify with military, veteran, or minority groups may qualify for additional aid. Teaching students in Massachusetts can take advantage of financial aid, scholarships, fellowships, grants, loans, and helpful programs like the MassTransfer A2B Degree to save money.
Massachusetts students who begin their higher education at a community college with the intent to transfer to a four-year public Massachusetts school can take advantage of the Commonwealth Commitment. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently developed this opportunity to provide students with a low-cost alternative to earn their associate and bachelor's degrees in Massachusetts, with a guaranteed 34-credit transfer between schools.
Additionally, some students may qualify for loan forgiveness — the Department of Education forgives up to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science, and special education teachers who teach for five consecutive years in eligible schools.
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$12,778||$9,037|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Four-Year)||$29,774||$25,657|
|Average Tuition and Fees (Private Four-Year)||$44,384||$30,731|
|Average In-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$4,991||$3,243|
|Average Out-of-State Tuition and Fees (Public Two-Year)||$4,785||$7,971|
In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition
Perhaps due to the age and prestige of many Massachusetts schools, college tuition in this state generally costs more than the national average, so it is especially important for students to take advantage of in-state tuition and exchange programs.
New England students who want to attend a Massachusetts college but are not state residents may qualify for tuition relief through the New England Regional Student Program. This exchange program allows New England residents to enroll in out-of-state New England public schools at discounted rates.
The New England states participating in this exchange program are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The New England Board of Higher Education reports an average tuition break of $8,100 for participating full-time students.
Massachusetts's Cost of Living
Tuition and school-related fees make up a large chunk of education costs, but students must also budget for living expenses while attending school. Housing, food, taxes, and healthcare all contribute to the cost of living, and they vary between states.
The average cost of living index score in the U.S. is 100, meaning that if a particular state scores 90 for cost of living, it costs 10% less than average. Massachusetts' cost of living index score is 131.6, meaning that it is 31.6% more expensive than the national average. Students who want to attend college in Massachusetts should take advantage of every possible financial aid opportunity to help fund their life and education there.
Other School Selection Criteria
In addition to tuition and cost of living, teacher candidates should consider other school-related factors impacting their educational experience.
Teaching in Massachusetts
Educators who plan to teach in Massachusetts can expect solid compensation and support throughout their careers. Massachusetts' economy ranks seventh overall in the nation, which bodes well for college graduates in the state.
The average annual salary of public elementary and secondary teachers is $61,730 across the nation, but in Massachusetts, the average is $82,042, according to the NCES. Massachusetts consistently invests in its K-12 schools and students. The NCES projects a $14,000 national expenditure per student in public elementary and secondary schools for the 2020-21, compared to $18,568 per pupil in Massachusetts.
How to Become a Teacher in Massachusetts
Those considering teaching in Massachusetts must first complete an educator preparation program. This often requires field experience, participation in student teaching, and passing the required state exams.
Since teacher licenses do not automatically transfer between states, teacher candidates should attend school in Massachusetts only if they intend to teach in the commonwealth. Even if a student lives in another New England state and uses the state exchange program to attend a Massachusetts school, their teaching license is specific to Massachusetts.
Steps to Becoming a Massachusetts Teacher
- Complete all bachelor's degree courses and requirements. Requirements include:
- Maintaining a 3.0 GPA in postsecondary coursework
- Concentrating on a grade range and/or subject area (e.g., kindergarten, middle school music, or secondary mathematics)
- Practicum and/or required observation
- Student teaching hours may range from 150-300.
- Collaborate with a licensed teacher to develop lesson plans and assessments.
- All levels of teaching: communication and literacy skills test
- Middle and secondary: subject matter tests (e.g., biology, English, physical education, mathematics, etc.)
- K-12 foreign language: language subject matter tests
- Candidates must be fingerprinted.
- Criminal history does not necessarily prevent licensure, but potential teachers must pose no risk to minors.
Education Requirements for Massachusetts Teachers
In Massachusetts, a teacher's level of education may impact their job prospects and salaries. All K-12 teacher candidates must complete at least a bachelor's degree to apply for licensure in Massachusetts. Preschool teachers and daycare providers can be employed with an associate degree in teaching.
Becoming a teacher in Massachusetts generally takes four years, but some schools require more extensive student teaching experience, and some students may need more time to prepare for and pass the MTEL. Students who balance work with school may take longer to complete their studies. Online educational opportunities offer considerably more flexibility for working students.
Teachers are not required to get a master's degree in Massachusetts, but they may be motivated to obtain an advanced degree to earn a higher salary. Especially at the secondary level, teachers with their master's enjoy better prospects in the job market.
Students aiming to obtain a master's degree do not need to get their degree in education. Some secondary teachers find it helpful to earn their advanced degree in their content area, such as history, chemistry, or Spanish.
Teacher Certification and Licensure in Massachusetts
Massachusetts requires teachers, support personnel, and administrators to hold a provisional, initial, or professional teaching certificate in Massachusetts issued by the Office of Education Licensure. Provisional licenses remain valid for only five years, and they cannot be renewed at the end of that term. To earn the provisional license, Massachusetts teacher candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and pass all MTEL requirements.
Initial licenses also remain valid for five years, and they can be renewed one time. To get the initial license, Massachusetts teacher candidates must earn a bachelor's degree, pass all MTEL requirements, and complete a teacher preparation program or provisional term.
Professional licenses are valid for five years, and they are renewable for the length of an educational career. To get the professional license, Massachusetts teachers must complete an initial license term in the same field, maintain teaching employment for at least three years, and complete a one-year induction program. They must also complete a higher-level program, like a master's program or a state-approved licensure program.
Massachusetts teaching licenses do not immediately transfer to other states, but teachers can apply for a transfer with the NASDTEC interstate agreement.
Student Teaching and Other Required Experience
Before student teaching, education majors may have to participate in a field-experience as part of their degree requirements. Practicum and/or internship experiences are common in the final courses of educator preparation programs, often involving classroom observations, student group activities, or teacher assisting.
Student teaching is one of the final requirements for educator preparation in Massachusetts. Exact requirements vary by program, but teacher candidates generally need to complete 150-300 hours of lesson planning, instruction, assessment, and reflection. Teacher candidates must work with a certified teacher during the student teaching process to receive feedback and mentorship.
After attaining a license for teaching in Massachusetts, teachers must participate in continuing education. Teaching resident requirements in Massachusetts stipulate that teachers complete 45 credit hours of continuing education every three years after the initial licensure. These credits must include at least three credit hours of Massachusetts-approved ethics.
Alternative Paths to Becoming a Massachusetts Teacher
Teacher applicants who are licensed to teach outside of Massachusetts can apply for a temporary teaching certificate in Massachusetts, which permits them to work for one year, but it cannot be extended or renewed. Out-of-state teachers can apply for a temporary license in Massachusetts if they hold a bachelor's degree and have worked as a licensed teacher in another state for at least three years.
Some teacher candidates bring workplace experience, rather than just college learning, into the classroom. Although teachers are traditionally expected to complete a postsecondary degree in education, there are alternative route programs for individuals with industry experience who hold another bachelor's degree.
In Massachusetts, the Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure is an option for prospective teachers who have not completed an approved teacher preparation program but have relevant experience. This pathway may be more convenient for professionals making a career change.
Finding a Teaching Job in Massachusetts
After completing their preparation programs, teacher candidates can begin to search for employment. Often, teachers seek employment in the school or district in which they completed their student teaching, especially if they can secure a recommendation from their mentor and administrators.
Otherwise, teachers in Massachusetts can take advantage of job fairs, professional organizations, and networking opportunities. New teachers should take advantage of operational networks, which usually include other teachers in similar fields, because educators can use those connections to seek quality employment.
- MassCareersThe Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education uses this website to recruit qualified candidates for a variety of employment opportunities.
- Massachusetts Educational Recruiting ConsortiumMERC facilitates the hiring process for all education-related fields in the state, connecting higher education and hiring personnel from schools across the country.
- Massachusetts Teacher Association Job BoardThe MTA uses this job board to advertise open positions for roles in education across the state.
- LinkedInThis free virtual networking service operates on websites and mobile apps. It is employment-oriented and easily accessible on several types of devices.
Notable Massachusetts Schools and Districts
Charles J. Prescott Elementary School
This highly recognized elementary school belongs to the Norwood Public Schools district and serves 250 students in grades 1-5. Charles J. Prescott offers an impressive student-to-teacher ratio of 12-to-1, allowing teachers to better focus on student needs. The school received the 2019 ED National Blue Ribbon for academic excellence.
Jonas Clarke Middle School
This highly proficient middle school belongs to Lexington Public Schools and serves 926 students in grades 6-8. The teacher population continues to grow at Jonas Clarke, and the school boasts an admirable 11-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. The school received the 2019 ED National Blue Ribbon for academic excellence and ranks in the top 10% of Massachusetts schools.
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
This high-scoring high school belongs to the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District. Acton-Boxborough is a relatively large school (serving 1,827 students in grades 9-12), received the 2019 ED National Blue Ribbon for academic excellence, and scores in the top 1% of all Massachusetts secondary schools.
Massachusetts Teacher Salaries
New teachers in Massachusetts can look forward to one of the country's highest average annual teacher salaries. Coming second only to California, Massachusetts offers competitive compensation to secure its teachers, according to the NCES.
Additionally, in every category for all levels of professional educators, Massachusetts offers a higher annual mean wage than the national average. Even teaching assistants and substitute teachers can expect comfortable pay, though salaries vary depending on teaching experience and degree level.
The annual base salary for teachers in Massachusetts is determined based on education level and years of experience. Even so, new teachers in Massachusetts can expect a comfortable salary in their first teaching job. On average, Massachusetts teachers with a bachelor's degree and up to two years of experience earn more than $16,000 above the national mean.
Massachusetts Teacher Salaries
Average Annual Salary of Public Elementary and Secondary Teachers, 2018-19
Annual Mean Wage by Teaching Level in Massachusetts, 2019
|Special Education, Preschool||$63,590||$67,060|
|Elementary School Teachers||$82,450||$63,930|
|Special Education, Kindergarten and Elementary School||$75,480||$64,420|
|Middle School Teachers||$80,520||$63,550|
|Special Education, Middle School||$76,530||$65,740|
|Secondary School Teachers||$81,070||$65,930|
|Special Education, Secondary School||$78,480||$65,710|
Annual Base Salary of Elementary and Secondary Teachers by Education and Experience, 2017-18
|0-2 Years||3-5 Years||6-10 Years||11-20 Years||20+ Years||Average, All Levels|
|MA Teachers with a Bachelor's||$58,720||$51,460||$50,340||Reporting standards not met||Reporting standards not met||$58,720|
|National Average of Teachers with a Bachelor's||$42,440||$44,490||$46,990||$54,380||$60,770||$49,890|
|MA Teachers with a Master's||$58,980||$68,620||$79,560||$82,740||$72,930|
|National Average of Teachers with a Master's||$51,050||$56,140||$65,700||$73,430||$63,120|
Massachusetts Trends in Education
Statistics Surrounding Massachusetts Schools and Education
Statistics show that Massachusetts values its students. Massachusetts schools boast an excellent student-to-teacher ratio, with three fewer students per teacher than the national average. This state invests in its students with a high per-pupil expenditure, exceeding the national average by $5,000. Massachusetts students also enjoy a higher-than-average graduation rate.
Massachusetts offers a considerable number of teaching positions, considering its small size, but many of the state's current teachers are nearing retirement. Young adult students entering education preparation programs should note that in the coming years, 19% of full-time teaching positions will become available as older educators retire.
|Total Students, All Grades||962,297, 2018-19||56.4 million, Fall 2020|
|Pupil/Teacher Ratio||13.03, 2018-19||16.0, 2016|
|Per-Pupil Expenditure, 2018||$18,328||$12,654|
|Change in Public Elementary and Secondary School Enrollment, 2017-2020||-1%||+7%|
|Projected Change in Public Elementary and Secondary School Enrollment, 2017-2029||-2%||+1%|
|Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) for Public High School Students, 2017-18||88%||85%|
|Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Teachers||73,868.49, 2018-19||3.7 million, Fall 2020|
|Percentage of Teachers 55 or Older, 2017-2018||19%||16.5%|
Number of Public Schools by Level, 2017-18
MA Employment by Teaching Level
Teacher candidates should analyze the projected growth for their field in the state of their choice to understand the job market after graduation. In the small state of Massachusetts, there is considerably less projected growth than the national average, but most categories should still see positive growth.
Teacher candidates for general education in kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school specializations can expect to enter a positive job market in Massachusetts. However, prospective preschool teachers may consider obtaining certification in another state, since Massachusetts is projected to offer fewer jobs.
|Teaching Level||MA Employment||MA Projected Growth, 2018-28||National Employment||National Projected Growth, 2018-28|
|Special Education, Preschool||920||-1.1%||24,000||+7.9%|
|Elementary School Teachers||31,770||+1.1%||1,434,400||+3.3%|
|Special Education, Kindergarten and Elementary School||6,280||+0.5%||184,300||+2.8%|
|Middle School Teachers||16,080||+1.2%||615,700||+3.5%|
|Special Education, Middle School||2,360||+0.4%||86,800||+2.8%|
|Secondary School Teachers||27,400||+1.3%||1,072,500||+3.6%|
|Special Education, Secondary School||3,260||+0.9%||142,000||+3.0%|
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Massachusetts have online teaching programs?
How do you get a teaching license in Massachusetts?
Do you need a master's to teach in Massachusetts?
Can you be a teacher without a teaching degree in Massachusetts?
How much do teachers make in Massachusetts?
Is there a teacher shortage in Massachusetts?
Professional Teaching Organizations in Massachusetts
- Educator Prep ProgramThe Massachusetts Department of Education works with more than 75 educator preparation organizations in Massachusetts to equip every teacher graduate to positively impact their students. This resource provides comprehensive information on those preparation programs.
- Massachusetts Teachers AssociationThe MTA is a member-focused organization that supports teachers in professionalism and unionism. The MTA uses members' collective power to make decisions and exact change.
- New England Board of Higher Education Tuition BreakThe Tuition Break program allows prospective Massachusetts students and other New England residents to enroll at out-of-state New England public colleges and universities at a discounted tuition rate.
- MassTransferThe A2B Degree through the MassTransfer program allows Massachusetts students who begin their higher education at a community college to easily transfer to a four-year public Massachusetts school, saving students money while retaining their credits.
Teaching Programs in Massachusetts
Serious teacher candidates should consider attending only accredited schools, because they are committed to continuous improvement and more likely to produce successful graduates. The following list of Massachusetts schools offers accredited teaching programs.