Tennessee Teaching License Requirements

The initial teaching license in Tennessee is the Practitioner License. Read on for details on the educational requirements, required assessments, and other requirements for becoming licensed to teach in Tennessee. Schools offering Teaching & Learning degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Becoming a Licensed Teacher in Tennessee

Initial teaching licensure in Tennessee first requires the completion of a state-approved educator preparation program. Candidates must be recommended for a teaching license by the institution where they completed their educator preparation program, and they must be endorsed in at least one teaching area. Candidates will also have to a pass the content assessment and the pedagogical assessment which correspond to their teaching area.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution;
Educator preparation program
Exams Required ETS, NES, or Tennessee Language Center content assessment corresponding to endorsement area;
edTPA or Principles of Learning and Teaching pedagogical assessment corresponding to endorsement area
License Validity Period Practitioner License: 3 years; may be renewed once
Advancement Requirements Professional License: 3 years' teaching experience;
30 professional development points or recommendation from director of schools
Mean Salary for Teachers in Tennessee (2018)* $50,160 (Kindergarten), $52,610 (Elementary School), $52,260 (Middle School), $53,620 (High School)*
Job Growth for Teachers (2018-2028, nationwide)* 3% (Kindergarten and Elementary School), 3% (Middle School), 4% (High School)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

The first step towards becoming a licensed teacher in Tennessee is to complete a state-approved educator preparation program. During their educator preparation program, students will receive instruction in all major teaching areas, such as mathematical concepts, social science, and the humanities. They will receive more thorough instruction in their subject areas. Students will be instructed in the Tennessee Academic Standards, the state-approved educator evaluation framework, and the teacher code of ethics. They will also complete practical experiences, such as student teaching, internships, or job-embedded clinical practice.

Initial Licensure

The initial Practitioner License is valid for three years. Initial licensure requires that candidates have a recommendation from the institution where they completed their educator preparation program. Candidates must also be endorsed in at least one teaching area.

Assessments for Initial Licensure

Candidates must demonstrate content area knowledge either through an undergraduate major in the content area or through the appropriate content assessment. Candidates in a program with job-embedded clinical practice must demonstrate content knowledge through passing scores on content assessments. Depending upon the content area, these assessments may be done through Educational Testing Service (ETS) Praxis, National Evaluation Services (NES), or the Tennessee Language Center. Candidates must also pass a pedagogical assessment. Most candidates will take an edTPA performance-based subject-specific assessment in their endorsement area. If there is not an edTPA available in the endorsement area, then the candidate must pass the relevant Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Praxis assessment.

Advancement and Renewal

After three years of teaching experience, candidates can advance to the Professional License. Teachers must verify the completion of an educator preparation program and passing scores on the appropriate content and literacy assessments. Teachers must also either have earned 30 professional development points or be recommended for advancement by the director of schools. Candidates who have not met the requirements for advancement may renew their Practitioner License once. Candidates must verify that they have completed an educator preparation program and passed the appropriate content and pedagogical assessments.

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