How to Become a Teacher in Tennessee

The requirements for becoming a teacher in Tennessee have just recently changed, and the changes affect some people who may still be in their educational programs (post September, 2015). Becoming a teacher in Tennessee means taking on a great responsibility—after all, you’re going to be teaching the next generation of innovators and world leaders. It is, however, an ultimately fulfilling job and one of the most important careers there is.

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Basic Teacher Certification Requirements in Tennessee

  • Certification Types: Like many states, Tennessee has tiered licensure. The levels in this state include the basic three-year Practitioner license, and the higher level Professional license.
  • Education: A Bachelor’s degree and approved teacher’s prep program are required at minimum to gain practitioner licensure. You’ll need to build up 30 professional development Points (continuing education credits) to advance to the professional level.
  • Master’s Degree Program: While a Master’s degree isn’t required, many teachers pursue it and it can certainly count towards your advancement to professional level.
  • Examination: Tennessee uses the Praxis exams for certification. You will need to take the Core exam, the PLT exam and Subject Assessments for any subjects in which you wish to teach.
  • Experience: Student teaching experience is part and parcel of your teacher prep course. In addition, you’ll build up additional experience as you work on your PDPs for higher level licensure.
  • Background Check: Fingerprints and both state and federal criminal checks are required before you can receive a teaching license in Tennessee.

Tennessee Teacher Certification

Additional Requirements for Tennessee Teacher Certification

  • Renewal: Your practitioner license may be renewed once for an additional three years while you work on professional licensure. Professional licenses are good for five years and require building up 60 approved PDP credits.
  • Alternate Certification: Tennessee offers practitioner occupational education licensure for teachers who wish to teach vocational-technical areas.
  • Substitute Teaching: Licensure isn’t required by the state for subs in Tennessee, but individual school districts may set their own requirements.
  • Reciprocity: To transfer an out of state teaching license you need to have Praxis exam scores, hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have proof of a teaching preparation program.

What Does a Teacher Do in Tennessee?

Teachers perform a broad range of organizational, management and planning tasks. The job requires excellent communications skills and sensitivity to the needs of students who may have learning disabilities or emotional problems. Interpersonal skills are necessary for meetings with parents to discuss student progress and for collaboration with other teachers and staff. They must be detail-oriented and exceptionally organized to create, evaluate and adapt lesson plans as needed to deliver an optimal educational experience. Teaching also requires cultural sensitivity to teach in blended classrooms, and flexibility as you will spend many hours grading exams, attending meetings and chaperoning school events.

Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary and Career Information

According to the BLS, Tennessee is a good state to pursue teaching. It’s expected to enjoy a 12% job growth through 2024, and teachers in this state make an average salary of around $49,470 annually, depending on level of experience, geographic region and areas of need.

Tennessee Teacher Links

Teacher Certification Programs in Tennessee

Teacher Certification Programs in Tennessee

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Choose your area of study and receive free information about programs you are interested in. Becoming a teacher is an important decision that requires committment, dedication, and passion. Teacher certification requirements vary by state. However, there are a number qualifications that every state requires to teach at the public school level. Request information from multiple schools to find the best program and educational opportunity for you!

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