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The path to becoming a teacher in Tennessee generally begins with a bachelor's degree in education or a similar field, though there may be other possible routes available. Commonly, aspiring teachers supplement their bachelor's degree with a period of training as a student teacher. They are then usually required to pass a licensing exam before starting their careers. For those who have already earned teaching certification in another state, Tennessee has a path that can help them become licensed to teach in the state.

Areas of Specialization for Teachers in Tennessee

Applicants for Tennessee teaching licenses apply for a Practitioner License, valid for three years. Licenses are available in many endorsement areas, which are organized by grade level and subject matter. Some examples of endorsement areas granted for Tennessee teaching licenses include the following:

  • Elementary Education (K-6)
  • World Languages (6-12)
  • English Language Learners (PreK-12)
  • PE/Health (K-12)
  • Fine Arts (K-12)

Teaching licenses are also available in occupational endorsement areas such as:

  • Electricity
  • Culinary arts
  • Graphic communications
  • Manufacturing technology

Earning an endorsement in a more specialized area, like Special Education, JROTC, or Speech/Language Pathology, may require additional education. For more information about the types of teaching licenses and endorsement areas available, you can visit the endorsement codes page of Tennessee's Department of Education website.

Tennessee Teacher Licensing Requirements

Tennessee teaching licenses generally require that applicants hold a bachelor's degree in education or a related field. Aspiring teachers must complete "a state-approved educator preparation program" and earn a recommendation from that program in order to apply for a teaching license.

They may also be required to complete the Praxis I assessment before entering a teaching program. Applicants for teaching licenses must pass the required Praxis II exams before they can proceed with their applications. This includes a Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) portion and separate tests for each subject area the applicant plans to teach.

The state of Tennessee does not require background checks or fingerprinting for aspiring teachers. However, individual schools or districts may ask prospective teachers to undergo background checks.

For more information on licensing requirements, read more on the Tennessee Department of Education's teacher licensing page.

Out-of-State Educators in Tennessee

For educators who earned their teaching license out-of-state, there are requirements that must be fulfilled before they can teach in Tennessee. An out-of-state application must be filed, along with copies of all transcripts and a copy of your current teaching license. Full details on how out-of-state educators can earn a credential to teach in Tennessee can be found on the Department of Education website.

Alternate Paths to Teaching in Tennessee

As of September 2016, the state of Tennessee stopped issuing both the Apprentice License and the Transitional License. While Tennessee is home to two Teach for America programs, in Memphis and Nashville, those who wish to secure a traditional teaching career in Tennessee can follow the path outlined above for the Practitioner License.


Sources:

  1. Employment and Licensing, State of Tennessee Department of Education, http://www.tn.gov/education/section/licensing
  2. Endorsement Codes, State of Tennessee Department of Education, http://www.tn.gov/education/topic/endorsement-code-listings
  3. Overview of Tennessee Testing Requirements, Educational Testing Series, http://www.ets.org/praxis/tn

Teaching Schools in Tennessee

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Tennessee
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MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
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Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Ranked 21st among the Best Education Schools in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Established in 1918 with the mission, “to improve learning in urban education locally, nationally, and globally.”
  • The first major research university to offer an online M.A.  in teaching program.
  • Offers certificate through doctoral programs in teaching, counseling, and more.
  • All programs taught with the guiding principles of leadership, learning, accountability, and diversity.
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Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders
  • Earn an NYU degree from anywhere in the country using our state-of-the-art online platform. You’ll attend live online classes, complete self-paced course work, and gain hands-on clinical experiences at field sites in or near your community.
  • Personalize your education based on your interests and goals with our diverse curriculum. Our clinical externship experiences and electives are designed to provide you with a comprehensive learning experience. We also offer all necessary foundation courses for admitted students who need to complete them before beginning the graduate-level courses.
  • Complete courses taught by expert NYU faculty who have diverse research interests and expertise in a variety of areas. As practicing clinicians who are highly active in the field, our faculty members apply real-world experiences to the classroom and act as supportive mentors to our students. 
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E-Learning - EdS
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Implements a one-to-one teaching model, partnering one student with one faculty member in each course.
  • 100% of faculty members hold doctoral degrees.
  • No physical residency requirements, allowing students to pursue their degree online.
  • Committed to innovation, diversity, excellence, and accountability since its founding in 1996.
  • Offers several programs in business, education, psychology, and more.
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M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies
  • Get your master’s degree in just 14 months!
  • Earn your Ed.D. fully online in less than four years
  • Achieve an advanced degree on your schedule, from the comfort of your home
  • Use research-based best practices to have a more powerful impact on education
  • Further your education through affordable financial aid and competitive tuition
  • Scholarships, grants and other forms of financial aid may also be available to help students with their tuition.
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  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
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