Tennessee Substitute Teacher Requirements

Jan 02, 2019

Substitute teachers can teach for up to 20 consecutive days in a classroom in Tennessee. If you'd like to learn more about the requirements for becoming a substitute teacher, the article below can help.

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In Tennessee, substitute teachers are hired by the school district, and each one may have a different set of requirements. Below, we'll look at some of the requirements that may pop up with different school districts.

Requirements for Substitute Teachers in Tennessee

Average Salary for Substitute Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $19,970
Required Degree High School Diploma
Required Field Any
Testing Requirements Core Academic Skills for Educators exams (math, reading, and writing)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Complete Your Education

As mentioned in the above table, a high school diploma is really all that is needed to apply for a position as a substitute teacher. The Department of Education has left it up to each district to decide what their requirements are, so you may see some schools asking for an associate's or bachelor's degree. Also, there will likely be fewer steps to complete if you hold a degree. For instance, many school districts want their substitute teachers to complete a training course. One that is often suggested is offered by This webinar costs $39.95, and it includes a substitute training class, a skills test, and a printable certificate of completion. Be sure to check with your school district.

Step 2: Complete Exam Requirements

While you won't need to complete all the Praxis exams that certified teachers do, you will likely need to complete the Core Academic Skills for Educators assessment to prove your basic knowledge in math, writing, and reading. This assessment is made up of three exams, one on each subject. These exams are filled with multiple-choice questions, but the writing exam asks you to also write two essays. You'll need to reach a minimum score per Tennessee's requirements. For the math exam, you'll need a score higher than 150. For the reading exam, you'll need 160 or higher, and you'll need a score of 162 on the writing exam.

Step 3: Get Hired

Each school district is in charge of hiring its own substitute teachers. This means that when you apply, you will do so directly to the school district. In some cases, you'll need to contact the a staff member and have him/her write you a referral for the human resources department. If this is the case, be sure you follow all directions on the school district's human resources website or jobs listing page.

Step 4: Fulfill Other Requirements

While there may be other requirements necessary to become a substitute teacher, there are a few common ones you'll likely see on the school district website. For instance, many school districts require you to complete a drug test. However, you must complete this after your date of hire and not prior to it. This shows you are currently clean and not clean two weeks ago. Also, all schools require you to be fingerprinted. While a background check may or may not be included, the fingerprinting is essential for all faculty.

Tennessee Substitute Teacher Certification Resources

Tennessee substitute teachers must meet requirements set forth by each school district. Whether or not you'll be taking one of the Praxis exams, you'll want to have some study guide resources available to you.

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