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How to Become a CTE Teacher in Tennessee

The Career and Technical Education teachers are those that teach us the trades and careers that are better to learn in a hands-on way. If you'd like to learn what it takes to become a Tennessee CTE teacher, we can help.

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CTE teachers are also referred to as occupational teachers in Tennessee. To find out whether your area has endorsement in Tennessee, check out the article below.

Requirements for CTE Teachers in Tennessee

Average Salary for CTE Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $56,800 (Middle School)
$51,400 (Secondary School)
Required Degree High School Diploma
Required Field Any
Testing Requirements *Core Academic Skills for Educators exams (math, reading, and writing)
*Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam
*CTE Content Knowledge exams

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education and Gain Experience

If you'd like to become a career and technical education teacher, there are several endorsement areas that are approved by the Department of Education in Tennessee. The first step is, of course, to complete your education. You may have already done this and are now deciding that, rather than pursue that career, you want to teach the next generation. For the most part, you only need to have a high school diploma or equivalent to work in those industries. Some areas, like barber and cosmetology, will likely have you complete a training course. After you have decided to enter the CTE licensing step, you'll find that each endorsement varies in requirements. Some, like marketing education and technology engineering, ask that you have a bachelor's degree before seeking licensure. Many other industries, such as firefighting and HVAC, simply require that you have an associate's degree along with industry experience or a bachelor's degree. The thing you must do is look into the Department of Education's requirements for your specific industry. No matter the industry, you must complete an educator preparation program (EPP) with a college to gain background knowledge on teaching. This can be done through an associate's degree or even a certificate program.

Step 2: Gain Experience

While an associate's degree path requires that you have one year of industry practice, you'll find the endorsements have different requirements. In order to work as a teacher in almost any of these CTE endorsement areas, you'll need to have five years of experience in the field within the last eight years.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Agriculture
  • Architecture
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business
  • Communications and Journalism
  • Computer Sciences
  • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Liberal Arts and Humanities
  • Mechanic and Repair Technologies
  • Medical and Health Professions
  • Physical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Transportation and Distribution
  • Visual and Performing Arts

Step 3: Complete Exam Requirements

Some of the endorsement areas do not require testing. Those that do are specific CTE areas: agriculture education, business education, family & consumer science, marketing education, and technology engineering education. These five endorsement areas require that you complete the Core Academic Skills for Educators assessment, a Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) assessment, and the content-knowledge exam. The core assessment is a set of three exams that look at math, reading, and writing. This looks at your basic high-school level knowledge in these areas, and you must pass with at least 162 on the writing subtest, 150 on the math subtest, and 160 on the reading.

Next, you'll take the PLT exam. You'll have the choice between the grades 5-9 or the grades 7-12 exam. Both of these tests are set up the same way, and you'll have two hours to complete them. To pass the 5-9, you need a score of no less than 160. To pass the 7-12 exam, you'll need at least 157. After this, you'll take the Praxis content exam. Each of these is set up to test you on your industry knowledge, as well as teaching techniques. Each exam has its own scoring minimums.

Step 4: Complete Industry Certification

Many of the industry areas do not require Praxis exams to be taken. Instead, many ask that you have the industry certification required to work in that field. You must prove that you have this certification. For instance, plumbing asks that you have a U.S. Department of Labor NOCTI Plumbing (5175) certificate or a Tennessee contractors license. For the Culinary Arts endorsement, you must have a Certified Culinary Chef Educator (CCE) certification. Again, it is important that you check with the DOE about what your industry area requires.

Step 5: Get Fingerprinted

All teachers in Tennessee must be fingerprinted and have a background check conducted. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) will run the background check on you after you have had a digital fingerprinting done. To do this, sign up for an appointment and pay ahead with the identogo website. Take the confirmation page and a form of ID to the appointment. After you've been fingerprinted, the results will be passed on to the DOE within 5-8 business days.

Tennessee CTE Teacher Certification Resources

Will you be taking a Praxis exam? If your CTE endorsement requires it, you may want to look at the resources below to help you study.

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