How to Become a Teacher in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Guide

education By Oct 07, 2023 No Comments

Welcome, The France Jobs Reader! If you’re interested in pursuing a career in education and specifically want to become a teacher in Tennessee, you’ve come to the right place. As someone who has experience and knowledge about how to become a teacher in TN, I’m here to provide you with all the essential information you need to embark on this rewarding career path.

Teaching is a noble profession that plays a crucial role in shaping our future generations. In Tennessee, aspiring teachers must meet certain requirements and go through a certification process to become eligible for teaching positions. In this guide, we’ll delve into the various pathways of becoming a teacher in Tennessee, the requirements for licensure, testing, and the overall outlook for teachers in the state.

Tennessee’s Alternative Teacher Certification Pathways

1. Traditional Teacher Preparation Programs

One common pathway to becoming a teacher in Tennessee is through completing a traditional teacher preparation program at an accredited institution. These programs typically include coursework, field experiences, and student teaching opportunities to provide aspiring teachers with the knowledge and skills required for effective classroom instruction. Upon completing an approved program, graduates are eligible for licensure.

2. Tennessee’s Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs)

Tennessee has a wide range of Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) that offer comprehensive teacher preparation programs. These EPPs work closely with aspiring teachers to guide them through the certification process, ensuring they meet the necessary requirements for licensure. It’s crucial to choose an EPP approved by the state to ensure the program meets the established standards and requirements.

3. Alternative Pathways to Licensure

If you don’t have a traditional teacher preparation program but have a bachelor’s degree, you can still pursue a career in teaching through alternative pathways to licensure. Tennessee offers options such as the Tennessee State Board of Education’s Transition to Teaching program, which allows individuals with non-teaching degrees to attain teaching certifications. Other options include the Teach for America program and the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) program.

Tennessee Teacher Education Requirements

1. Bachelor’s Degree

One of the primary requirements for becoming a teacher in Tennessee is holding a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The degree should be related to the subject or grade level you wish to teach. A strong foundation in the subject matter is essential for effective teaching and ensuring student success.

2. Teacher Preparation Program

To meet the certification requirements, aspiring teachers must complete an approved Tennessee teacher preparation program. These programs focus on educational theory, classroom management, teaching strategies, and practical experience. The curriculum equips future educators with the necessary skills to excel in the classroom.

Tennessee Teacher Testing Requirements

1. Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Exam

In order to become a licensed teacher in Tennessee, you must pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam. This exam assesses your knowledge of general pedagogical principles and teaching practices. The PLT exam is available for different grade levels, so make sure to choose the one that aligns with your desired teaching focus.

2. Content-Area Exams

In addition to the PLT exam, aspiring teachers must also pass content-area exams in their specific subject areas. These exams evaluate your knowledge and understanding of the content you plan to teach. It’s essential to thoroughly prepare for these exams to ensure you meet the necessary passing scores.

Additional Tennessee Teacher Certification Requirements

Beyond the educational and testing requirements, aspiring teachers in Tennessee must fulfill a few additional certification requirements:

  • Submission of fingerprints: All applicants must submit fingerprints for a state and federal criminal background check. This helps ensure the safety and well-being of students in Tennessee schools.
  • Criminal background check: Applicants undergo a thorough criminal background check to ensure they have no disqualifying criminal records that would prevent them from obtaining certification.

Tennessee Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

If you’re considering a career in teaching, it’s important to evaluate the job outlook and salary potential. In Tennessee, certain subject areas are experiencing shortages, making it easier for newly certified teachers to find employment. Some of these high-demand areas include art and music education, early childhood education, English as a second language (ESL), and special education.

The average annual salary for teachers in Tennessee ranges from $52,260 to $54,140, depending on the level and specialization. However, it’s important to note that salaries may vary based on factors such as experience, location, and school district.

Teacher Shortages in Tennessee

Tennessee, like many other states, faces teacher shortages in various subject areas. As mentioned earlier, certain subjects like art, music, early childhood education, ESL, and special education are particularly in high demand. Teachers specializing in these areas have excellent prospects and opportunities in the Tennessee job market.

Tennessee Teacher Interviews

First Grade Teacher: Dana Lester

“As a first-grade teacher in Tennessee, I find immense joy in shaping young minds and fostering a love for learning. The state’s teacher preparation programs have provided me with valuable knowledge and resources, and I’m proud to be part of Tennessee’s commitment to educational excellence.”

Second and Third Grade Teacher: Mary Pitner

“Teaching second and third graders in Tennessee is truly rewarding. The alternative pathways to licensure opened doors for me, allowing me to pursue my passion for education despite not having a traditional teaching degree. Tennessee’s inclusive and supportive teaching community has made my journey fulfilling.”

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the basic requirements to become a teacher in Tennessee?

A: To become a teacher in Tennessee, you need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and complete an approved teacher preparation program.

Q: Do I need to pass any exams to become a licensed teacher in Tennessee?

A: Yes, aspiring teachers in Tennessee must pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam, as well as content-area exams in their specific subject areas.

Q: Are there alternative pathways to teaching in Tennessee?

A: Yes, Tennessee offers alternative pathways to licensure for individuals without a traditional teacher preparation program. Programs such as the Transition to Teaching program and the ABCTE program provide opportunities for non-teaching degree holders.

Q: How much do teachers in Tennessee earn?

A: The average annual salaries for teachers in Tennessee range from $52,260 to $54,140, depending on the level and specialization.

Q: What subject areas have teacher shortages in Tennessee?

A: Areas experiencing teacher shortages in Tennessee include art and music education, early childhood education, ESL, and special education.


I hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights into how to become a teacher in Tennessee. Whether you choose a traditional teacher preparation program or an alternative pathway, Tennessee offers ample opportunities for aspiring educators. Remember to stay up-to-date with the latest certification requirements, and continue your journey towards making a positive impact on the lives of Tennessee’s students. For more information and helpful resources, don’t hesitate to explore the articles on our website!

Looking for more guidance on becoming a teacher in Tennessee? Check out our article on “The Benefits of Pursuing a Teaching Career in Tennessee” to discover the advantages and rewards that await you in the field of education. Start your journey today and make a difference in the lives of Tennessee’s students!


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