How To Become a Teacher in Tennessee


To become a teacher in Tennessee, you must plan ahead in regard to your education. First, take a look at the areas of certification and the corresponding endorsement areas. Make sure your education level meets the requirements for the specific area in which you'd like to teach. If you do not meet the requirements, you may look under alternative teacher certification to see if you qualify for a Tennessee teacher license through an alternative pathway. If you already hold a teacher license in another state, take a look at the reciprocity section to see if you qualify for teacher licensure through reciprocity.

Tennessee Teacher Certification Roadmap

Areas of Teacher Certification

Tennessee offers the following teacher licenses:

  • Full Teacher License
  • Transitional Teacher License
  • Apprentice Occupational Education License

Tennessee offers the following endorsement areas:

  • Agricultural Education 7-12(448)
  • Agriscience 7-12 (449)
  • Arabic PreK-12 (478)
  • Beginning Administrator A PreK-12 (480)
  • Beginning Administrator B PreK-12 (481)
  • Bible 7-12 (026)
  • Biology 7-12 (415)
  • Business Education 7-12 (474)
  • Business Technology 7-12 (475)
  • Business Education 7-12 (476)
  • Chemistry 7-12 (416)
  • Chinese PreK-12 (479)
  • Clothing Management Production 9-12 (452)
  • Dance K-12 (445)
  • Driver Education 7-12 (082)
  • Early Child Care Services 9-12 (451)
  • Early Childhood Ed PreK-3 (467)
  • Early Dev/Learning PK-K (468)
  • Earth Science 7-12 (418)
  • Economics 7-12 (424)
  • Elementary Education K-6 (499)
  • English 7-12 (407)
  • English as a Second Language PreK-12 (490)
  • Family & Consumer Science 5-12 (450)
  • Food Production & Management 9-12 (453)
  • Food Service Supervisor (100)
  • French 7-12 (411)
  • French PreK-12 (491)
  • Geography 7-12 (422)
  • German 7-12 (412)
  • German PreK-12 (492)
  • Gifted Education PK-12 (466)
  • Government 7-12 (423)
  • Greek PreK-12 (484)
  • Health and Wellness K-12 (419)
  • History 7-12 (421)
  • Instrumental/General Music K-12 (429)
  • Instructional Leadership - Aspiring (441)
  • Instructional Leaderhip - Beginning (442)
  • Instructional Leadership - Professional (443)
  • Vocal/General Music K-12 (428)
  • Instructional Leadership - Exemplary (444)
  • Japanese PreK-12 (485)
  • JROTC (457)
  • Latin 7-12 (410)
  • Latin PreK-12 (493)
  • Library Information Specialist PreK-12 (473)
  • Marketing Education 7-12 (472)
  • Mathematics 7-12 (413)
  • Middle Grades Education 4-8 (440)
  • Other Foreign Language PreK-12 (496)
  • Other Foreign Language 7-12 (404)
  • Physical Education K-12 (420)
  • Physics 7-12 (417)
  • Professional Administrator PreK-12 (482)
  • Professional Administrator PreK-12 (483)
  • Psychology 9-12 (426)
  • Reading Specialist PreK-12 (486)
  • Russian 7-12 (406)
  • Russian PreK-12 (494)
  • School Audiologist PK-12 (469)
  • School Psychologist PreK-12 (489)
  • School Counselor PreK-12 (487)
  • School Social Worker PreK-12 (488)
  • Sociology 9-12 (425)
  • Spanish 7-12 (409)
  • Spanish PreK-12 (495)
  • Special Education Comprehensive K-12 (461)
  • Special Education Early Childhood PreK-3 (459)
  • Special Education Hearing PreK-12 (463)
  • Special Education Modified K-12 (460)
  • Special Education Vision PreK-12 (462)
  • Speech/Language Pathologist PreK-12 (498)
  • Speech/Language Teacher (458)
  • Speech Communication 7-12 (408)
  • Superintendent (090)
  • Supervisor of Attendance (094)
  • Technology Engineering Education 5-12 (477)
  • Theatre K-12 (405)
  • Visual Arts K-12 (427)

Tennessee Teaching Certificate Requirements

To qualify to become a Tennessee teacher, you must:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education
  • Complete a preparation program in the area of interest at an approved teacher education institution
  • Pass the Praxis Series Exams required for state licensing
  • Be recommended for licensure by the Dean of Education and the Certification Office of the college/university

Education Requirements

In order to become a teacher in Minnesota, you must possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree. If you do not meet this requirement, here are some of the top online teaching degrees that can help you meet the requirements of becoming a teacher.


The Tennessee Praxis Assessments are required in order to become a teacher in Tennessee. You must pass the Praxis I for reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as the Praxis II Subject Assessments, including Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and the subject test for the content area of your endorsement.


Tennessee does not require fingerprinting or a background check in order to receive your teacher license. However, you may be required to undergo fingerprinting and background check when applying to become a teacher at a particular school or district.

Certification Reciprocity

Tennessee offers teacher certification based on reciprocity for anyone holding a teacher license from another state. Tennessee has either an Interstate Agreement or a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) that covers reciprocity for all 50 states. Here are the complete details of the requirements.

Tennessee Alternative Teacher Certification

Tennessee offers an alternative pathway to teacher certification through their Transitional License. To qualify, you must have a bachelor's degree with a major in your endorsement area, or 24 semester hours in the teaching content area, or a passing score on the required Praxis II content exam for the endorsement area. The transitional license allows you to teach for up to three years, giving you enough time to complete additional requirements for a full license.

Teach Tennessee is another alternative licensure program. There are two paths to achieving your Tennessee teaching license through the Teach Tennessee program.

  1. Governor's Fellows: Requires a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and five years of work experience directly related to the subject you wish to teach. You must also be considered highly qualified, which means having 24 semester hours of college credit in the subject you wish to teach, or have a passing score on the Praxis II content knowledge exam.
  2. Commissioner's Fellows: Requires a Bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. You must also be highly qualified by having 24 semester hours of college credit in the subject you wish to teach, or a passing score on the Praxis II content knowledge exam.


In addition to these two alternative teacher certifications, Teach for America offers two programs in Tennessee: Teach for America Nashville and Teach for America Memphis. The programs offer assistance to qualified professionals with a bachelor's degree who wish to transition to a new career as a teacher. The program allows participants to teach under a transitional license while they go through an education and training program to qualify for a full teaching license.

Another alternative pathway to become a teacher is the Tennessee Troops to Teachers program, which assists eligible military personnel to transition to a new career as public school teachers in “high-need” Tennessee schools.

Become a Substitute Teacher in Tennessee

If you have a college degree but don't qualify for a teaching certificate, you may consider reading how to become a substitute teacher in Tennessee. You may substitute teach while you attain your teaching credentials through an accredited online program.

Teacher Jobs In Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Education offers the Tennessee Teacher Employment Resource as a great way to find teacher jobs in Tennessee. The site allows teachers to view teaching positions in Tennessee preK through grade 12 public schools. You may also post a resume so potential schools can find you.

Another great way to find a teaching position in Tennessee is to contact the school or school district in which you'd like to teach. The Tennessee School District Geographical Locator & Information System shows the 95 counties in Tennessee, and clicking on a county will produce a list of schools within that county, along with their contact information. You may also use the Tennessee School Directory to help you find relevant information for your job search.

Tennessee Teacher Salaries

Your teacher salary will vary depending on the school district in which you teach, your level of education, and number of years teaching. The Tennessee Department of Education has a Tennessee Teacher Salary Schedule to help you determine your teacher salary. According to this information, your Tennessee teacher salary will range from $29,215 to $51,955. The document also includes a state mandated minimum salary schedule for superintendents of schools.

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

Interested in how to become a teacher in another state? Return to the How to Become a Teacher main page, or click on one of these neighboring states below.