Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start?

Contact Ms. Sarah Frenette the Five-College Teacher Licensure Coordinator for an appointment. Bring an unofficial copy of your transcript and degree audit for review.

What if I have taken a course required for the program at another college?

Stop in and see Janet Crosby, Senior Administrative Assistant for the Psychology and Education Department. She will need the course syllabus to have it reviewed. A previous year’s copy is fine.

What are Field of Knowledge Self Assessment Forms, where do I get them and what do I do with them?

There is a specific Field of Knowledge Self Assessment Form for each teacher licensure program we offer, called Form I: Course requirements in the major field of study. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires that you have knowledge of particular topics in your field. The first column lists the topics that you need to cover in your coursework. The second column lists the courses that cover these topics, the third column is where you put the course number of the course(s) you have taken. The fifth column is where the Five College Teacher Licensure Coordinator will put in the courses that you and she decide are appropriate for you to take during your initial meeting with her. Note that one course may cover more than one topic. Please ask for a copy of this form so you have an updated version with you at all advising sessions with advisors in your major and in the education department. You must also complete the required courses in educational studies listed in Form I: Course requirements for educational studies with licensure in:...(which ever program you are in). Both forms are available from the Five College Teacher Licensure Coordinator.

When should I take the Massachusetts Test for Educators (MTEL)?

You need to take the Communication and Literacy Skills section of the test BEFORE you apply to the teacher licensure program in January of the Junior year. You need to take and pass the subject test BEFORE you start the spring practicum semester. For those students pursuing early childhood or elementary; you also need to take and pass the Foundations of Reading Test by November of your senior year.

How early should I look into the education program?

You should contact the Five College Teacher Licensure Coordinator soon as you have the idea that you might be interested. We can always take you off our lists, but there is content area that can be addressed by many different courses on campus and you need to know which ones will fit into your program of studies best.

How late is too late to decide I want a teaching license?

We do offer a Teaching Incentive Semester for students who cannot do the 14 credit student teaching semester as part of their undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke. You need to apply to the practicum program in the spring of your junior year and meet all eligibility requirements in order to participate.

What is a pre-practicum?

Several courses in the Psychology and Education Department which are required for teacher licensure have a pre-practicum requirement. You will be asked to work in a school or community based learning organization for 3-4 hours per week for these courses. During that time, you will reflect on the topics covered in the corresponding course, possibly write journals/reflection papers regarding your time there and get an introduction to different learning environments. You will have a supervisor in this location who will be asked to write an evaluation of your work at this site. The evaluation, along with the self-evaluation form you will be asked to complete, will be placed in your application file. While at your pre-practicum, please remember that you represent Mount Holyoke College.

What schools will I be placed in for my pre-practicum and practicum?

We use the local area public and private schools for the pre-practica as well as community based learning sites like, Girls Inc., and the Holyoke Children’s Museum. The J-term pre-practicum can be done anywhere, including in your home area if you don’t live in Massachusetts. The practicum is done in the local area public schools.

General Questions about Teacher Licensure

I have been considering changing my career and am wondering what I would need to do to return to teaching?

I received my elementary teaching certificate before 2000. What would I need to do to go back to teaching?

The first step is to go to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Web site. Register under license renewal and that site will tell you what you need to do.

I plan to teach in my home state (not Massachusetts). What do I do to become licensed in another state?

Once you receive your Massachusetts license, you may be eligible for reciprocal initial licensure in other states within the Interstate Certification Compact. Most of these states require you to pass their licensure tests as well. Requirements vary from state to state, the current contract can be found through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. If the state you are applying to requires forms be filled out by MHC, please send them to:

Education Division, MHC
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075

ATT: Cheryl McGraw

What is the Interstate Contract?

The NASDTEC Interstate Contract facilitates the movement of educators among the states and other jurisdictions that are members of NADTEC and have signed the Contract. Although there may be conditions applicable to individual jurisdictions, the Contract makes it possible for an educator who completed an approved program and/or who holds a certificate or license in one jurisdiction to earn a certificate or license in another state or jurisdiction. For example, a teacher who completed an approved teacher preparation program in Alabama generally will be able to earn a certificate in Georgia. Receiving states may impose certain special requirements which must be met in a reasonable period of time.

If you completed an approved teacher education program and/or hold a valid teacher's certificate or license in one state and seek certification under the terms of the NASDTEC Interstate Contract, contact the teacher certification/licensure office in the intended receiving state or jurisdiction. Information is available at the NASDTEC website

States in the NASDTEC Contract – for Teacher Licensure

I’ve seen Preliminary, Initial, Temporary and Professional teacher license mentioned. Which one will I receive?

When you successfully complete the Mount Holyoke College Teacher Licensure Programs, you will receive Initial Licensure in the area and level of the program you completed, once you apply to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

If I already have a bachelor’s degree, can I just take the MTEL for my subject and level and get a Preliminary Teacher license?

No. There are pedagogical requirements for each level which may require additional seminars or courses. Contact the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to find out specifically what coursework you would need to complete.

Check our Resource pages for links mentioned above.

The Education Division has attempted to ensure that the information contained on this website is accurate at the time of posting. The information here is subject to change.