Across the state of Massachusetts, teachers provide a significant impact on formal education, with quality instruction being a crucial component to student learning. Teacher knowledge, practice and instruction methodology can have considerable influence on how students learn and progress in their studies. As a first source of information – and with a significant amount of time invested into student and parent involvement – teachers at every level continue to guide students’ academic long-term success.

As administrations help to garner more support in the education sector through emergency teaching licensing, the next question is a crucial one. How do we help temporary licensed educators move through higher education courses to obtain necessary qualifications for long-term teaching careers?

Discussions to Retain Massachusetts’ Emergency License Teachers

Although teachers are an essential aspect of academia, states continue to face a shortage of qualified educators. With a looming crisis of teachers leaving Massachusetts school districts in droves, higher education looks toward possible solutions to help solve the issue.

Merrimack College’s Winston School of Education and Social Policy Dean, Deborah Margolis, and Associate Dean, Russ Olwell recently discussed trends in education with CommonWealth Magazine. More specifically, ways in which Merrimack College’s educational programs are helping to reshape how emergency license holders can advance in their careers toward more permanent positions. 

Emergency License Teachers are eligible for $500 off tuition for their first 4-credit course in an online Master’s Degree Teacher Education program. Learn more here

Benefits of Emergency-Teaching License Holders

In the wake of a global pandemic, emergency licensing for teachers across the state of Massachusetts played a crucial role in helping fill voids in all school districts and at every grade level. The major benefits were immediately apparent.

Emergency certification is a temporary measure enacted by some states – like Massachusetts – to address local shortages within schools. Originally, it helped to expedite the entry of candidates without a degree and who did not meet criteria into the classroom and the teaching profession. An emergency certificate or permit allowed many teacher candidates to serve as long-term or day-to-day substitutes or even fill a classroom vacancy.

Expanding Diversity & Experience

One of the major benefits of emergency teaching license holders is the diversity it helped to create within the classroom. Current educators that are teaching under emergency licensing come from diverse backgrounds with experience in a multitude of industries and knowledge backgrounds. Although Massachusetts school systems have a rigorous curriculum to qualify for permanent licensures, newer educators are offering new insights into student instruction.

Many states, including Massachusetts, intentionally opted to loosen job criteria to attract new candidates to the teaching profession. The traditional path can take tens of thousands of dollars in tuition money and at least four years in a qualified program.

Emergency license holders helped to bridge the gap in the shortages throughout many school districts. Now, select colleges are looking to aid these professionals in obtaining necessary qualifications for long-term career trajectories.

Merrimack College’s Master of Education Programs

According to Dean Deborah Margolis and Associate Dean Russ Olwell, transitioning temporary licensed educators toward more long-term position means focusing on core competencies while address leadership expansion through:

  • Accessibility and guidance from advisors and coaches
  • Resources to keep Master of Education degree candidates informed and on track
  • Incentives that address high-needs areas
  • Scholarship opportunities

The Master of Education program at Merrimack College provides the right experiences for growth and advancement. Emergency License Teachers can combine their M.Ed. with a certificate in 

Teacher Leadership, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) for Educators** or Social Emotional Learning** and receive a FREE add on credential of their choice.

“We see emergency license teachers as not only a way to plug a temporary hole in the recruiting system, but, more importantly, as a long-term investment in school leadership within the next decade.

Through a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Merrimack College is partnering with 12 school districts across the state to address these issues, and to support at least 50 emergency license teachers in their journey towards a career.

How Teacher Emergency License-holders can benefit from Merrimack’s M.Ed Programs

For those making a career change to teaching, Merrimack College offers online Master of Education programs that prepare them with the skills and knowledge they need to lead in the classroom successfully.

The 36-credit M.Ed. in Elementary Education prepares graduates for their Initial License to work in grades 1-6. The 36-credit Master M.Ed. in Middle School (5-8) and High School (8-12) prepares graduates for their Initial License to work in secondary education.

Both programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and align with Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge requirements.

Read the Original Article Published in CommonWealth Magazine