DOE revises licensure requirements

On Tuesday, April 26, 2005, the State Board of Education approved changes to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval, 603 CMR 7.00. Below are highlights and a brief summary of those amendments. The summary does not describe requirements that were not amended. For more information or to see the revisions in their regulatory context, go to the Department of Education Web site, www.doe.mass.edu. We have provided the citations you will need to locate the various changes. (Note that final amended language may not be immediately available.)

Major revisions are in the following areas:

Requirements for Professional Licenses

Section 7.04 (2) (c) 5. c. i.-ii. – Candidates who hold a master’s degree that does not qualify for a Professional license: Instead of an additional DOE-approved 18 credit, non-degree program, there are two options: 1) a DOE-approved 12 credit, non-degree program, or 2)“12 credits of graduate level courses in the academic discipline appropriate to the instructional field of the license sought….” This latter option will allow the candidate to use appropriate graduate courses whether or not they are part of a previously earned master’s; further, the courses may be completely separate from a program approved for educator licensure.

(Note: for those who earn the Initial license and the Professional license through DOE-approved educator preparation programs, the programs are prohibited from “double-counting” the same courses for both programs. See Program Approval below.)

Section 7.11 (1) – School Guidance Counselor – In addition to possession of the Initial license and three years of employment under the license as a school guidance counselor, one of the following: 1) 60 graduate credits appropriate to the license that may include credits from the master’s degree for the Initial license and other graduate credits, including but not limited to school counseling, mental health counseling, school psychology, or clinical psychology; or 2) achievement and maintenance of one of the following: National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC), or National Board for School Counseling.

Section 7.11 (2) – School Nurse – In addition to possession of the Initial license and three years of employment under the license as a school nurse, one of the following: 1) achievement and maintenance of certification or licensure by a nationally recognized professional nursing association, or 2) a master’s degree program that may include credits earned in a master’s degree program for the Initial license in community health, health education, nursing or public health.

Section 7.11 (3) – School Psychologist – In addition to possession of the Initial license and three years of employment under the license as a school psychologist, one of the following: 1) a passing score on the National School Psychology Examination, or 2) achievement and maintenance of a certificate or license from one of the following: The Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals as an educational psychologist, or the National Association of School Psychologists, as a school psychologist.

Section 7.11 (4) – School Social Worker/School Adjustment Counselor – In addition to possession of the Initial license and three years of employment under the license as a school social worker/school adjustment counselor, completion of one of the following: 1) 60 graduate credits appropriate to the license that may include credits from the master’s degree for the Initial license and other graduate credits, including but not limited to mental health counseling, psychological counseling, school counseling, school social work or social work; or 2) achievement and maintenance of a certificate or license from one of the following: Massachusetts Board of Registration of Social Work, as a Licensed Certified Social Worker (LCSW), or a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW), or from the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health Professionals, as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), a Licensed Marriage and Family counselor (LMFT), or a Licensed Rehabilitation Counselor (LRC).

Changes to Educator Licenses

Section 7.06 (25) – Teacher of Students with Moderate Disabilities 5-12: Previous regulations allowed a candidate to pass either the General Curriculum test or a subject matter test in the core academic subjects in order to satisfy the MTEL content requirement. The allowable subject matter tests have been limited to include: English, mathematics, science (biology, chemistry, earth science, general science, and physics), history, or political science/political philosophy at the 5-8 or 8-12 grade levels. No longer allowed are: reading, foreign languages and the arts.

Section 7.07 (1) – Academically Advanced (a specialist teacher license): It was previously unclear whether a candidate must complete an approved educator preparation program for the Initial license. That requirement is now explicit. It was also unclear whether a candidate had to complete separate and additional requirements to advance to a Professional license. It has been made explicit that a candidate who holds no Professional stage license is subject to the same regulations as those advancing to a Professional teacher license [7.04 (2) (c)]. If one already holds some other Professional license, three years of employment in the role of the Initial Academically Advanced license is the only requirement to advance to a Professional Academically Advanced license.

Section 7.07 (2) – Reading (a specialist teacher license): It was previously unclear whether a candidate must complete an approved educator preparation program for the Initial license. That requirement is now explicit. It was also unclear whether a candidate had to complete separate and additional requirements to advance to a Professional license. It has been made explicit that a candidate who holds no Professional stage license is subject to the same regulations as those advancing to a Professional teacher license [7.04 (2) (c)]. If one already holds some other Professional license, three years of employment in the role of the Initial Reading license is the only requirement to advance to a Professional Reading license.

Section 7.07 (3) – Speech, Language and Hearing Disorders (a specialist teacher license): It has been clarified that three years of employment under the Initial license are required in order to advance to the Professional license.

Routes to an Initial Teacher License

Section 7.05 (4) – Route Four – district-based preparation programs have been clarified and expanded, specifically as they apply to candidates who work in districts that do not have district-based programs. A Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure (PRPIL) is available for some such candidates; Route Four is not available for the following licenses: early childhood, elementary, library, teacher of students with moderate disabilities, teacher of students with severe disabilities, teacher of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and speech/language/hearing disorders. The candidate for PRPIL must hold a Preliminary license in the same field and at the same level; have been employed for three full years under the Preliminary license; be able to document courses, seminars, experience relevant to Professional Standards for Teachers [in section 7.08 (2)]; and must obtain a recommendation from the principal of each school where the candidate was employed under the Preliminary license or in the role of the license.

Adding Educator Licenses

Section 7.14 (2) (a) 1. – Candidates who hold a Professional license in one field will now be able to earn licenses in other fields at the Professional stage (as opposed to the Initial stage).

Section 7.14 (2) (b) 1. b. ii. – Candidates who are adding a license at a new level: the option of using “mentored employment of at least a semester in the field and at the level of the license sought” has been eliminated. In its place one may elect an “internship” of 150 hours in the role of the license in an appropriate classroom. See definition of Internship below.

Section 7.14 (2) (a) 2. and 3. – Early childhood teachers and English language learner teachers are required to complete a practicum/practicum equivalent or an internship of 150 hours. See definition of Internship below.

Section 7.14 (2) (b) 2. Guidance Counselors have the option of adding licenses at a new grade level.

Program Approval

Section 7.03 (2) (a) 1. a. i.-iii. and (b) 1. a. and b. i.-iii. – Credit and content requirements for programs leading to Initial and Professional licensure formerly located in the section of the regulations describing candidate requirements have been moved to this section, “Required Program Components.”

Section 7.03 (2) (a) 7. – Faculty Qualifications subject to the program approval process. All faculty, both educator preparation faculty and faculty in the academic disciplines, as well as faculty in school district-based preparation programs, must have the “…preparation and expertise that is appropriate for the respective roles and responsibilities….”

Section 7.03 (2) (b) 1. – Courses and experiences in approved programs that are used to satisfy the requirements for an Initial license may not be used to advance to a Professional license in the same field.

New Definitions

Academic Discipline Appropriate to the Instructional Field of the License – The subject knowledge specified in appropriate provisions of 603 CMR 7.06 for teacher licenses and 603 CMR 7.07 for specialist teacher licenses.

Internship – A paid or unpaid, supervised, and mentored field-based experience, outside of an approved program, in the role and at the level of the license sought. Interns must be evaluated through a Performance Assessment for Initial License, using Department guidelines.

Performance Review Program for Initial Licensure (PRPIL) – A performance review that satisfies the requirements for a practicum/practicum equivalent based on eligibility requirements, portfolio review, supervision and mentoring during an internship, and the completion of a Performance Assessment for Initial License.

Administrator Licenses

Prerequisite requirements – See Section 7.09 (2) 1. School Principal/Assistant School Principal; Section 7.09 (3) 2. Supervisor/Director; Section 7.09 (5) 1. School Business Administrator

Section 7.14 (3) Additional licenses – Experienced administrators who wish to earn additional administrator licenses must pass the Communication and Literacy Skills test.