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Elementary Teaching Requirements in Tennessee

There are several necessary steps that all future elementary teachers in Tennessee need to take to get licensed. Read about the requirements for a Practitioner Teacher license below.

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The state of Tennessee is focused on improving reading proficiency and ranking in the top half of the country's National Assessment of Educational Progress. These goals are directly tied to the competency of teachers, and elementary school educators can help students meet these goals.

Salary Information and Requirements in Tennessee

Average Salary for Elementary Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $50,320
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Elementary Education
Testing Requirements Praxis: Core; PLT (K-6); Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; Elementary Education: Content Knowledge; Teaching Reading: Elementary Education

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

In order to become an elementary school teacher in Tennessee, students will need to pursue a bachelor's degree and complete an approved, accredited teacher preparation program. These programs give students a solid base for understanding the education system in the state and basic pedagogical principles. Because elementary school teachers do cover a variety of subjects on a daily basis, students will also take courses in language arts, math, and other applicable areas of study. Every preparation program will mandate that students participate in student teaching, too. Each preparation program will offer slightly different courses, but most will include core curriculum like:

  • Foundations in Education
  • Educational Psychology
  • Teaching Diverse Learners
  • Classroom Management

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

Step 2: Pass All Required Tests

The next step after all educational requirements are finished is to take the necessary Praxis tests. First, teachers will take the Core series, which is made up of a reading test, a math test, and a writing test. A score of 156 or higher is needed to pass the reading exam, while a score of 150 or higher is needed to pass the math exam. A score of 162 or higher is needed to pass the writing portion. Next, teachers will take the Principles of Learning and Teaching (K-6) exam, which is 2 hours long and consists of questions on learning styles, instruction, assessment, and more. This exam requires a minimum score of 160.

When those exams are complete, teachers will take the Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment test. This exam requires a score of at least 153 and it runs 130 minutes. There are 120 questions covering reading and language arts, math, science, social studies, and art, music and physical education. Next, teachers will take the Elementary Education: Content Knowledge exam, which is 150 minutes long, made up of 140 questions, and has a passing score of 163. This test covers reading and language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. Finally, teachers will take the Teaching Reading: Elementary Education exam. This is 2.5 hours long and made up of 90 selected-response questions and 3 constructed-response questions. This test covers assessment and diagnostic teaching of reading, reading development, and writing in support of reading. The passing score on this exam is 162.

Step 3: Submit the Certification Application

After Praxis testing is over, teachers can start the application process. Applications can be submitted online through the Department of Education's TNCompass tool, and applications will need to be submitted by the university. All official transcripts and test scores will be included. If the applicant has met all requirements set forth by the State Board of Education, they will qualify for their Practitioner Teacher license.

Study Resources for Future Tennessee Teachers

Praxis exams are common assessments in the US, so there are plenty of online resources to help students study. Take a look at the guides below for more information on each test.

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