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Become a Speech Teacher in Tennessee

Speech teachers provide an invaluable service to both parents and their students, helping to supplement the services of a school speech language pathologist. Find out what it takes to be a speech teacher in Tennessee!

Speech Teacher Career Overview

Speech teachers help students who have speech-language disorders or communication disorders develop more sophisticated linguistic abilities by supplementing the services of a school speech-language pathologist. These services are provided at no additional cost to students and require educators to be specially trained in speech-language education in order to qualify for certification. Tennessee mandates that all teachers have at least a bachelor's degree and speech teachers must complete a series of rigorous exams and an approved educator preparation program in either speech-language, speech-language disorders, or communications disorders.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
Complete an endorsement educator preparation program in speech-language, speech-language disorders, or communications disorders
Exams Required Principles of Learning & Teaching Assessment in corresponding grade level
Praxis II Speech/Language Pathology
License Validity Period Practitioner licenses valid for three years;
Professional licenses valid for six years
Certification Renewal Process Practitioner licenses may only be renewed once;
Professional licenses renewable once every six years
CEU Credits Required for Renewal CEUs not required; candidates must accrue 60 professional development points through state-approved activities
Average Salary (2018) $53,769 (elementary school); $56,065 (high school)*
Estimated Job Growth 2016 – 2026 7% (elementary school); 8% (high school)**

Source: *Salary.com, salary statistics reflect data for elementary and high school teachers only; U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth projections reflect national data

Special Skills & Characteristics

In order to become a successful speech teacher, candidates must possess certain skills and characteristics. The following are just some of the qualities shared by most speech teachers:

  • Patience teaching students of varying age groups and skill levels
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to think critically and apply problem-solving skills

Teachers should also be willing and able to seek direction from the school speech-language pathologists under which they serve. Failure to comply with the specific directions and curriculum plan for students with language or communication disorders may result in monumental setbacks in their successful speech development.

Educational Requirements

Tennessee requires all teachers to possess at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Speech teachers must successfully complete an educator preparation program in one of the following areas:

  • Speech-language
  • Speech-language disorders
  • Communication disorders

Speech teachers must also complete at least 100 hours of supervised clinical practice in speech-language education. Upon completion of the program, candidates must have a written recommendation from the program director in order to qualify for certification.

Exam Requirements

Aspiring speech teachers must pass the Principles of Learning & Teaching Assessment which corresponds to the grade level they intend to teach. In addition, teachers must pass the Praxis II Speech/Language Pathology exam with a minimum score of at least 162. Qualifying scores must not be older than five years in order to be considered for certification.

Certification Requirements

Speech teachers are required to meet all qualifications to hold an existing teacher's license prior to earning their endorsement as a speech-language teacher specifically. Practitioner licenses are issued once an applicant has completed the following:

  • Earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university
  • Be enrolled in or have completed an educator preparation program and have written recommendation for licensure from the program director
  • Passed all required assessments for licensure
  • Meet requirements for at least one area of endorsement

Practitioner licenses remain valid for three years, during which time teachers must work to advance to their professional certification. When seeking initial advancement, teachers must provide evidence of at least 30 professional development points along with at least three years of qualifying teacher experience.

Certification Renewal

Practitioner licenses expire after three years and are not eligible for renewal. Instead, teachers must advance to their professional certification, which remains active for six years. Educators may renew their professional certifications once every six years, earning at least 60 professional development points through state-approved activities in order to qualify. Applications for renewal may be submitted either online or through the mail for processing.