How to Become a Math Teacher in Tennessee

Jan 02, 2019

Math educators in Tennessee must be licensed by the state's Department of Education. Read on for details on completing approved higher education programs and fulfilling exam requirements.

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Those interested in teaching mathematics in Tennessee should decide what age range they would like to teach. The Tennessee Department of Education awards mathematics-specific endorsements for grades 6-8 or grades 6-12. The licensure process involves completing educational requirements including a teacher preparation program and passing a series of Praxis exams.

Tennessee Math Teacher Requirements

Average Salary for Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $50,060 (Middle School) $51,390 (High School)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree and completion of approved teacher education program
Degree Field Education, Secondary Education, Math
Testing Requirements Praxis: Core Academic Skills, Principles of Learning and Teaching, Mathematics

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Degree and Teacher Preparation Program

Prospective math teachers in Tennessee must complete a bachelor's degree and a state-approved teacher education program before becoming licensed. Programs aimed at preparing math teachers sometimes grant an education degree with a focus on middle or secondary education and a specialization or concentration in math. Alternatively, universities may offer degrees from departments of mathematics and then direct students to teacher preparation programs in their education departments. In these cases, the programs may take more than the traditional four years to complete.

Regardless of the specific major, early coursework usually includes general education in English, math, history, science, and other core subjects. Students must also complete advanced courses in specific areas of math like algebra, geometry, calculus, and statistics. Teacher preparation programs also include coursework in education theories and methods, assessment, and classroom management along with student teaching requirements. Universities may require minimum GPAs to be admitted to and to graduate from teacher education programs. Additionally, students must complete state and federal background checks before being admitted to their program.

Step 2: Take Exams

During their education, all prospective teachers must pass a standard Praxis exam to be admitted to a teacher education program. This exam, the Core Academic Skills for Educators, covers three areas: reading, writing, and mathematics. For the reading test, a qualifying score is 156. The writing portion requires a passing score of 162, and a passing score of the mathematics test is 150.

After completing their education, future teachers must take Praxis' Principles of Learning and Teaching exam. This exam has versions specific to the grade levels candidates plan to teach. For grades 5-9, a passing score is 160. For grades 7-12, the exam requires a score of 157 or higher.

Math teachers in particular must then complete a subject-specific test. The exam for middle school mathematics requires a passing score of 165. Teachers wishing to teach middle grades must also pass the Teaching Reading: Elementary Education exam with a score of at least 162. For secondary educators, the content knowledge exam in mathematics has a passing score of 160.

Step 3: Get Certified

Once exams have been completed, applicants must submit official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended. The application for licensure is submitted to Tennessee's Department of Education by the approved teacher education program. Then applicants can apply for Tennessee's initial license called the Practitioner Teacher License, which is valid for three years.

Certification Resources for Tennessee Math Teachers

Math educators preparing for certification exams in Tennessee may find the following resources helpful.

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