Become a Teacher in Tennessee


Tennessee Department of Education

Andrew Johnson Tower - 6th Floor 710 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, TN 37243

(615) 741-2731

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    Become a teacher in Tennessee

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            Earn Your Tennessee Teaching Credential

            Important Note: Education licensure requirements and salary statistics (for teachers and administrators) are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 1/06/2015

            Tennessee teachers start out with an Apprentice Teaching License, which is valid for the first three years in the classroom. After at least 25 months of teaching experience, teachers can be recommended for a Professional Teaching License, which is valid for 10 years and renewable, by their school district. If you already have a valid teaching credential from another state, you may be eligible to earn your Tennessee credential through the interstate reciprocity. To learn more about earning your Tennessee teaching credential, click here. Learn more about getting your teaching credential. Return to the top

            Prerequisite Coursework in Tennessee

            Teacher education programs generally consist of two elements—curricula and fieldwork. Curricula generally includes instruction on teaching fundamental skills, pedagogy (the science of teaching) and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. Fieldwork often includes field observations, internships, student teaching or a combination of all three. Check with your teacher preparation program or the Department of Education for more information about specific requirements. To teach anywhere in the United States, certified teachers must possess a bachelor’s degree at the minimum. Some states require that specific credit hours be earned for instruction in various specialty areas.  Tennessee does not list specific course or credit hour requirements, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Contact your teacher preparation program or the Department of Education for more information. Return to the top

            Required Tests for Tennessee

            To become a certified teacher in Tennessee, you must successfully complete the Basic Skill Test requirement in addition to any Subject Area Competence assessments needed for your particular desired area of instruction. Basic Skills Test Subject Area Competence You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep. Read more about teacher certification tests. Return to the top

            Tennessee Teacher Certification Programs

            To earn your teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs in Tennessee can be found here. Return to the top

            Alternative Certification in Tennessee

            Individuals who have graduated from an accredited college or university, but possess a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education and have not earned a traditional teaching certificate can still teach in the state of Tennessee by earning an alternative certification and fulfilling requirements set forth by the state.  Alternative licenses must be requested for you by your school district once you are employed. Tennessee has several types of transitional/alternative licenses for individuals who have expertise in the area they are teaching. Check the alternative license section of the Department of Education website for specific requirements and to find out which alternative license you may be eligible for. Tennessee Troops to Teachers program Return to the top

            Certification Reciprocity in Tennessee

            Tennessee accepts some teaching credentials from the following states. To inquire about your specific situation, contact the Tennessee Department of Education. For more information, see the reciprocity page . Return to the top

            Benefits of a Master in Education in Tennessee

            • Higher salary – Teachers in Tennessee with a master’s degree earn $3,000-$5,000 more than teachers without a master’s.
            • Career advancement – A master’s in education can position teachers for advancement in their field in areas other than teaching, such as principal or guidance counselor.
            Learn more about the Benefits of a Master's in Education. Return to the top

            Master’s in Education Financial Aid

            Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree. Return to the top

            Tennessee Teacher Salary and Incentives

            In 2007, Tennessee ranked 34th in the nation for teacher salary, with an average of $43,815. To determine pay rates, Tennessee adheres to a salary schedule. Salaries range from $22,645 for first-year teachers with no college credit to $51,955 (minimum) for teachers who have served 20 or more years and have a doctorate degree. Learn more about teacher salaries. Return to the top

            Tennessee Teacher Benefits and Retirement

            Retirement, death and disability benefits are provided for Tennessee teachers through the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System and are determined based on teachers’ five-year average salaries and years of service. TCRS members are eligible for retirement after completing 30 years or service, at any age, or at age 60 after at least five years of service. Members are eligible for reduced benefits at age 55 with 5 years of service. Learn more about benefits for teachers. Return to the top

            Professional Development for Tennessee Teachers

            A variety of professional development resources for educators in Tennessee are provided by the Tennessee Department of Education. Professional development opportunities offered by the department include conferences and workshops. Many Tennessee schools also offer job-embedded professional development and mentoring programs in accordance with the FY2008-2012 Master Plan for Tennessee Schools. Return to the top

            Tennessee Teaching Jobs

            The Tennessee Teacher Employment Resource, maintained by the Tennessee Department of education, enables users to search for Tennessee teaching jobs by region, specialty and school. Registration on the site is free, and enables users to upload resumes for increased visibility from recruiters from various local school districts. Troops-to-Teachers is another recruiting program offered for Tennessee teachers. Learn more about finding a teaching job. Return to the top

            Tennessee Teacher Certification Information and Links