Launch Your Teaching Career in Boston

Launch Your Teaching Career in Boston
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Noodle Staff July 12, 2018

What does it take to launch a teaching career in Boston? Allow Noodle to lay out the basics.

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Launch Your Teaching Career in Boston

Boston’s culture emphasizes education, as evidenced by the city’s intellectual reputation. Ranging from community colleges to universities, more than 50 higher education centers are available for Boston-area high school graduates. In fact, people from all over the country flock to Boston and the greater Massachusetts area for its excellent educational system.

When it comes to public schools, Boston Public Schools (BPS) is the district that educates the vast majority of the area’s school-aged children. This district serves over 54,000 students, and employs over 4,200 teachers. The need for qualified and competent teachers to lead these young people is great. If you aspire to be one of the teachers who will guide this next generation, know that it is truly a worthy endeavor. Read on to learn how to reach your goal of teaching in Boston.

With over 120 schools in the Boston Public Schools district alone, opportunities will naturally arise for teachers in various subjects and grade levels. However, competition may be higher in general education and career/technical fields; a 2015 report from the American Institutes for Research projects a surplus of teachers for these subjects.

In fact, the same report predicted that overall student enrollment for Massachusetts would decrease by 5.77% over the upcoming decade, which would reduce the need for teachers. But teachers with expertise in English language learning and special education should be in higher demand. Shortages of qualified teachers in both areas are predicted for Massachusetts.

Perhaps your teaching field is not special education or English language learning. Don’t be discouraged by trends and projections — they can never fully address individual situations. Even if it’s slightly more challenging to break into the teaching profession in Boston than in other cities, it’s certainly not impossible; the need for strong teachers exists. With so many schools and students, opportunities will continue to arise for those who are qualified.


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Boston teaching fellowship opportunities

There are many options available for boosting your chances of employment in Boston. An excellent way for a new teacher to get started is to join a Boston teaching fellowship. For example, BPS Teaching Fellowship was initiated by Boston Public Schools, and strives to equip teachers with the necessary skills to educate the diverse student body that exists in the area. Participants spend a year teaching in a Boston classroom, with plenty of coaching and individualized training. The hands-on experience immerses them in the classroom culture, and provides lessons that can never be duplicated in a college classroom.

Another worthy fellowship opportunity can be found in Boston Teacher Residency, an educational program that has a tremendous impact on its graduates. 71 percent of Boston Teacher Residency participants go on to teach in Boston Public Schools for six years or more, a much higher retention rate than the 51 percent reported by BPS teachers who did not go through the program. Participants in the Boston Teacher Residency program are also increasingly rated as exemplary once they enter the workplace; these phenomenal results show that a Boston Teacher Residency is a great start to a successful teaching career in Boston.

Teaching in Boston: the necessary credentials

If you’re pursuing a license to teach in Boston, you are required to complete an approved educator preparation program. Currently, 79 such programs exist in Massachusetts. You can search the Department of Education’s Amazing Educators website to find one that’s right for you. These programs strive to equip teachers for success in the classroom, and to prepare them for all that teaching in Boston entails.

Required testing for teachers in Boston, MA

The exact tests you will need to take will depend on the subject matter and grade level you’re planning to teach. The Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure (MTEL) is required for most who plan to teach in the state. Even if you have passed licensure exams in other states, you will likely still need to pass the Communication and Literacy Skills section of the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure.

A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university is a minimum prerequisite for taking any of the tests or seeking a license to teach in Boston. Your bachelor’s degree should be in a field related to what you will teach, or in an interdisciplinary teaching major. Also, if you plan to teach reading, you will need to meet additional requirements.

What if I am licensed to teach in another state?

If you’re seeking your first license to teach in the state of Massachusetts, having been licensed in another state, you could qualify for one of three licensing options:

Temporary License. You can use this license for one year of employment, but it cannot be renewed. You must have a bachelor’s degree, valid licensure in another state, and at least three years of teaching experience under that license. The temporary license affords you the opportunity to work while you go through the process of passing the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure exam.

Initial License. For this designation, your initial license will need to be from a state that has signed the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement with Massachusetts. As an alternative, you could also have attended a state-approved educator preparation program in another state, a state-approved nontraditional educator preparation program in another state, or an educator preparation program from a college or university that is approved by the state of Massachusetts for use for this purpose. Additional requirements include passing the Massachusetts Test for Educator Licensure exam, along with completing an endorsement called Sheltered English Immersion (SEI). If you obtain an initial teaching license, it’s valid for five years of employment in Massachusetts.

Provisional License. If you’ve completed all the requirements for the initial license, but did not obtain the Sheltered English Immersion Endorsement, you may be able to obtain the provisional license in Massachusetts. In order to qualify, you must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree from a school accredited and recognized by Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. You can contact your institution directly and find out if they meet the criteria. This provisional license qualifies you for five years of employment in Massachusetts.

What if I have an international teaching license?

If you went to an institution outside of the United States, you must meet some additional requirements before you can teach in Massachusetts. You’ll need to contact the Office of Educator Licensure, and allow them to evaluate the courses you took in the foreign program. Many independent agencies are designed to do evaluations on foreign coursework to see if it can be used in the United States. This may take a bit more effort, but it is certainly not impossible to use an international education to become qualified to teach in the United States, or specifically in Massachusetts. It may require some time and patience to become licensed, but it will be well worth it once you are teaching students in Boston.

Accelerated program for Boston teacher licensure

If you’re just starting out in the field of education, you might also check out an accelerated program for teacher licensure. Boston Public Schools offers an exceptional 12-month program for local residents and current employees of the school district.

They offer training on Saturdays, which is convenient for people who may work during the week. The training, along with required employment in the Boston Public Schools, results in a preliminary teaching license in addition to graduate credits from UMASS Boston School of Education. These credits can be applied towards eventually obtaining your initial teaching license for Massachusetts.

In order to qualify for this accelerated program, you must possess a bachelor’s degree. BPS also seeks people who have experience working with youth, even if only in a mentoring relationship. Finally, you’ll need to meet legal requirements, such as being able to work in the United States and passing a criminal background screening.

Boston teacher salary

Boston teachers’ salaries vary depending on the grade level. See the following examples of average annual salaries for Boston teaching jobs, sourced from Glassdoor:

Boston elementary school teacher salary{target=”blank”}: $56,033
Boston middle school teacher salary{target=”blank”}: $47,379
Boston high school teacher salary{target=”blank”}: $51,377
Boston special education teacher salary{target=”blank”}: $54,825
Boston substitute teacher salary{target=”blank”}: $34,733

Teaching private school in Boston

You may choose an alternative to teaching in Boston’s public school system by seeking employment with a private school, day school, or boarding school. A Boston educational recruitment firm called Carney, Sandoe, and Associates boasts a long history of linking teachers and administrators with jobs in private schools. In a current Glassdoor listing, the firm seeks English teachers for K-12 private schools. Experience is required, and the recruiters do prefer a Master’s degree. These listings are frequently updated, and there are many other private school teaching jobs available.

In fact, you can find hundreds of private schools in the Massachusetts area, catering to a great variety of student populations. Some are for the same gender of students, while others are designed for a particular religious denomination. There are many options.

Private schools are not forced to operate under the same licensing regulations as public schools, although each individual private school can have its own — sometimes strict – requirements for teachers. According to this article from the Boston Globe, there may be vast differences from one private school teaching experience to the next.

Private school salaries can also range from as little as $17,000 per year to as much as $80,000, depending on the particular school and your personal teaching experience. The curriculum and style of teaching will depend on the type of private school that employs you, as well.

Private schools generally hire candidates with a Bachelor’s degree in an education field, or in the subject being taught. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree in education, some private schools may desire for you to have a long history of real-world experience in the field you’ll be teaching.

Private schools and boarding schools also strive to have smaller classes, which offers the teacher more flexibility in the classroom. Another difference? State exams, which are required for public school students, are not necessary for students in private schools. This can positively impact classroom dynamics.

Note that if you’re a teacher in a Boston private school, boarding school, or day school, the school may ask you to participate in a way that goes above and beyond what would be expected at a public school. Private schools often look for teachers who make themselves available to counsel students, coach, or live in the dorms. They frequently want teachers who are willing to immerse themselves in the environment on campus.

If you’re interested in teaching in a private school, you can view some opportunities here at AISNE. Not all the openings are specific to Boston, but Boston private school job opportunities would be included here when available.

Boston charter school teachers

Charter schools in Boston — and in all the U.S. — differ from traditional public schools in that the families choose these schools for their children. They typically have fewer regulations than their counterparts in the public schools, but they are held to high standards in academics and must fulfill promises made in their charters.

Charter schools are still public schools, but they run independently and have a lot more flexibility. For example, Boston Public Schools, the largest school district in Boston, created the Horace Mann Charter Schools. These six schools operate in a semi-autonomous manner, but they are funded by Boston Public Schools.

Horace Mann Charter Schools aren’t the only charter schools in the Boston area. You can find a more complete list here. This lists charter schools in the city of Boston, as well as in surrounding areas. This site also includes a page of employment opportunities https://masscharterschools.org/careers for charter schools in the region.

According to this Boston Globe article, average Boston teacher salaries in a typical charter school are about $55,000. This may be higher than some traditional public schools, but it would likely differ based on grade level and experience.

When relocating to Boston for teaching opportunities

So you’re already teaching in Massachusetts, and hope to find employment in Boston? Competent and qualified teachers are a welcome addition to Boston schools, and you would be a great asset. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is currently recruiting. To become a teacher in Boston, check out this link to the MassCareers website for pertinent opportunities.

Teaching is definitely a noble profession, and Boston is an amazing city that is full of history. If you want to become a teacher in Boston, know that it will be a great experience, and well worth the effort required to earn your license and obtain employment.

Works cited

Teachboston.org. Retrieved on May 14, 2018 at https://www.teachboston.org/bps-teaching-fellowship

Boston Teacher Residency. Retrieved on May 14, 2018 at https://www.bpe.org/boston-teacher-residency/program/faqs/#toggle-id-1

Wikipedia: Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Public_Schools

Massachusetts Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.doe.mass.edu/licensure/become-educator.html

Amazing Educators. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.doe.mass.edu/amazingeducators/edprep.html

Massachusetts Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding testing. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.doe.mass.edu/licensure/mtel.html

University of Massachusetts. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.umass.edu/education/be-teacher/licensure

Glassdoor. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/boston-elementary-school-teacher-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IM109_KO7,32.htm

Glassdoor. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/boston-middle-school-teacher-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IM109_KO7,28.htm

Glassdoor. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/boston-high-school-teacher-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IM109_KO7,26.htm

Glassdoor. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/boston-special-education-teacher-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IM109_KO7,32.htm

Glassdoor. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/boston-substitute-teacher-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IM109_KO7,25.htm

Glassdoor. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.glassdoor.com/job-listing/english-teacher-at-k-12-private-schools-carney-sandoe-associates-JV_IC1154532_KO0,39_KE40,64.htm?jl=2674951834&ctt=1526435334516

Boston Globe. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2013/03/16/teaching-private-schools-variety-flexibility-community/AwtY7X4uIEzzqubtzqk1wM/story.html

AISNE. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.aisne.org/employment

Uncommon Schools. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.uncommonschools.org/our-approach/faq-what-is-charter-school

Boston Public Schools. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.bostonpublicschools.org/Page/941

Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://masscharterschools.org/schools/boston

Massachusetts Charter Public School Association. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://masscharterschools.org/careers

Boston Globe. Retrieved on May 15, 2018 at https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/09/03/most-boston-charter-schools-reject-performance-based-pay-for-teachers/i64tLVRwL9WqsRxzJ6Z7XJ/story.html

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved on May 16, 2018 at https://www.doe.mass.edu/jobs/

MassCareers. Retrieved on May 16, 2018 at https://www.mass.gov/find-your-future-commonwealth-job

TeachBoston.org. Retrieved on May 16, 2018 at https://www.teachboston.org/becoming-a-teacher-overview

American Institutes for Research. Retrieved on May 16, 2018 at https://www.air.org/resource/massachusetts-study-teacher-supply-and-demand-trends-and-projections

Mass.gov. Retrieved on May 16, 2018 at https://www.mass.gov/k-12-educator-licensing

Massachusetts Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education. Retrieved on May 16, 2018 at https://www.doe.mass.edu/licensure/academic-prek12/teacher/foreign-degree-and-credit-equivalency.html

Wikipedia. Retrieved on May 18, 2018 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colleges_and_universities_in_metropolitan_Boston

Wikipedia: Culture in Boston. Retrieved on May 18, 2018 at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_in_Boston

Questions or feedback? Email editor@noodle.com

About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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