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Tennessee Private School Teaching Requirements

As of the 2017-2018 school year, there were 598 private schools in the state of Tennessee, according to the Tennessee government. If you'd like to learn whether your education will allow you to teach in one of these schools, read on.

There are five category types of non-public schools in the state of Tennessee. Each category has different teacher certification requirements. To find out more about them, check out the information below.

Requirements for Private Teachers in Tennessee

Average Salary for Private Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $30,280 (Preschool)
$50,320 (Elementary School)
$50,060 (Middle School)
$51,390 (Secondary School)
Required Degree Bachelor's Degree
Required Field Any
Testing Requirements *Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators
*Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)
*Content Knowledge Exams

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Category I

These schools are Department of Education (DOE)-approved. In order to teach at one of these private schools, you must be licensed. This means you will need to enroll in a bachelor's degree program in education or in the specific subject you would like to teach. You will also need to complete an educator preparation program (EPP) which may be completed during your degree program. This will include a 15-week student internship in two different classrooms. After this, you'll need to pass all the required Praxis exams for licensing, including the Core Academic Skills for Educators and the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) assessments, and then have a background check performed.

Category II

Category II schools have been approved by a private school-accrediting agency. These agencies have been approved by the DOE. As of 2018, there were nine approved DOE-accredited agencies. Teachers must meet the certification requirements that the accrediting agencies set forth. For instance, one accrediting agency, the Tennessee Association of Christian Schools, offers three types of teaching certificates. The Temporary Professional Certificate requires at least a college degree, even if it is outside of the teaching scope. This can be renewed every year so long as you complete six college credit hours toward the standard certificate requirements.

Category III

Category III schools have also been accredited. The agencies that have accredited these schools must be accredited by one of the major regional accrediting agencies for Tennessee. The approved agencies are:

  • Southern (SACS), North Central (NCA), & Northwest (NWAC) Associations
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC)
  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and affiliates (e.g., SAIS)
  • National Council of Private School Accreditation (NCPSA)

There are 146 private schools that fall under this category. Each school's teachers must meet the qualifications set forth by their accrediting agency.

Category IV

These schools are all church-based. The agencies that have approved these schools - all 193 of them - have been approved under the T.C.A. 49-50-801 code. These accrediting agencies are:

  • ACE (Accelerated Christian Education, Inc.)
  • ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
  • TN Alliance (Tennessee Alliance of Church-Related Schools)
  • TACS (Tennessee Association of Christian Schools)
  • TACRS (Tennessee Association of Church-Related Schools)
  • TANAS (Tennessee Association of Non-Public Academic Schools)

Teachers at these schools must also meet the requirements put together by their accrediting agencies. However, they are DOE-exempt from needing licensure or certification.

Category V

The fifth category of non-public schools is the one considered Acknowledged for Operation. These schools must be approved for operation annually by the DOE. Teachers at these schools do not need to be licensed, even according to the DOE. However, all teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree.

Tennessee Private Teachers Certification Resources

Depending on the private school category you intend to teach at, you may need to complete some important testing. Below, we've included a study guide link to prepare you.


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