Tennessee High School Teaching Requirements

Jun 27, 2018

High school teachers work with students when their futures are bright before them. These students are often rebellious and troubled. To learn how to work as high school teacher in Tennessee, consider this article for requirements.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 18,850 secondary school teachers in Tennessee in 2017. To learn the steps on how to become a high school teacher in Tennessee, read on.

Requirements for High School Teachers in Tennessee

Average Salary for High School Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $51,390
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Endorsement Area
Testing Requirements Core Academic Skills for Educators exams (math, reading, and writing), Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) Grades 7-12 exam, and subject area exam

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Education

In Tennessee, prospective teachers are expected to complete a bachelor's degree program and an educator preparation program (EPP). For high school teachers, you'll want to focus your education on the subject you want to teach. This is quite diverse, since there are several endorsements for high school teachers in Tennessee. As an example, let's consider what you should take if you want to become a high school psychology teacher. You will likely want to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology from an accredited college or university. If possible, combine an EPP into the program, either as a minor in education or a concentration for licensing. These programs are fairly common, with 15 colleges having DOE-approved EPP programs. The program provider must then nominate you for licensure. During your program, expect to spend plenty of time in classrooms working with real students, since it is required that students complete 15 weeks of student teaching.

Step 2: Complete Exam Requirements

Tennessee requires several exams to keep students in top form with their knowledge. The first series of exams you'll take are the Core Academic Skills for Educators assessments. These are a set of three exams that each test on a specific subject: math, reading, or writing. Each exam is set up a bit differently and requires different minimum scores. For instance, the math and reading exams both include 56 questions that must be completed in 85 minutes. However, the reading test is all multiple-choice questions, while the math includes both multiple-choice and numeric-entry questions. To pass, you must receive no less that 156 on your reading test, 162 on your writing test, and 150 on your math test.

The next exam you'll take is one of the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exams. There are four of these for the state of Tennessee, and you'll need to take the one for grades 7-12 as a high school teacher. You must score over 157 in order to pass this 2-hour exam. In total, there are 70 multiple-choice questions and four constructed-response questions on this exam. After this exam, you'll need to take the subject area exam for endorsement in the subject you want to teach. All structures and scoring are different for each exam.

Step 3: Get Fingerprinted

Like many states, Tennessee asks that their prospective teachers seek out fingerprinting and a background check before being licensed. There are steps for both in-state and out-of-state applicants. The most common path is for in-state residents. You will make an appointment on identogo.com. Here, you'll make an appointment for your fingerprinting and pay fees. At the time of your appointment, you'll need to bring a state identification card with you and confirmation papers. After your fingerprints have been taken, they will send it to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).

Tennessee High School Teacher Certification Resources

In Tennessee, you'll spend a lot of time in testing locations with exams. Be prepared for these exams with the following study guides.

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