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How to Become a Substitute Teacher in Tennessee

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If you are interested in learning how to become a substitute teacher in Tennessee, the following information will help guide you through the process.

Tennessee Substitute Teacher Requirements

To gain employment as a substitute teacher in the state of Tennessee you will need a criminal background check and have your fingerprints taken, and then you will need to contact the school and school district you wish to work for to determine what that district requires of you. Follow that district's application process. Most school districts will probably require you to have a bachelor's degree, but check to be sure. You can find a complete listing of Tennessee schools districts here. In order to attain your substitute teacher certification in Tennessee, you will need the following:

  • High school diploma or GED, and in some districts, a Bachelor's degree
  • Fingerprint card and background check
  • Skills Test
  • Completed application and application fees
  • Official Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation

In order to substitute teach in Tennessee, you will need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, and depending on your county's school board, some districts may require you to have a bachelor's degree. In addition, applicants must pass a skills test and background check. Tennessee requires some substitute teachers that do not have credentials in the teaching field to take a training course before substituting. Contact your local school district to receive up to date information on this policy. You can find a complete listing of Tennessee schools districts here.

Get Your Tennessee Fingerprint Clearance Card

Visit Tennessee's Department of Health to start your fingerprint and background check.

Obtain Official College Transcripts

You'll need your original college transcripts showing what level of education you have in order to receive your substitute certificate. Some districts may require you to have a high school diploma or GED or an associate's degree, while others may require a bachelor's degree. Check with the school district you wish to gain employment with to be sure. Submit your official transcript with your substitute teacher application.

Complete Your Application for Certification

Next, obtain an application from the district you wish to work for. Complete and submit a substitute teacher application, along with the application fee, official transcripts and supporting documents, for the school district that interests you. Follow that school or district's procedure as an applicant to save time and avoid headaches.

Submit Your Application

When completed submit your application and all supporting documents back to the office indicated by the district you are applying for.

Letters of Recommendation

Before you start applying with different school districts, you may wish to ask professional references for a letter of recommendation first so that you have them at the ready for your application process. It's probably a good idea to get 2-3 letters of recommendation, as most school districts will require theses recommendations when you apply for substitute teaching jobs in Tennessee.

Substitute Teacher Pay in Tennessee

Rates for substitute teaching will vary by district. Here's a general idea of how much a substitute teacher might make each day teaching in an Tennessee classroom. Retired teachers get preference when applying for a job position.

Substitute Teacher Jobs in Tennessee

If you're looking for a substitute teacher job in Tennessee, one of the best ways to find one is to inquire at the school district office or specific school where you'd like to teach. You can find a complete listing of Tennessee schools districts here.

Resources for Teacher Certification in Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Education
Office of Teacher Licensing
710 James Robertson Parkway
4th Floor Andrew Johnson Tower
Nashville, TN 37243-0377
(615) 532-4885

As a sub, you may consider becoming a teacher. Or learn how to become a substitute teacher in another state by click on one of these neighboring states below.


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