Tennessee Teacher Certification: Licensure & Requirements

Tennessee employs a tiered licensing structure for teachers. To get initial teaching certification in Tennessee, candidates must satisfy a number of education and testing requirements. When these are satisfied, candidates can apply for initial licensure and any earned endorsements.

View popular schools

Teachers have the important responsibility and privilege of helping others to learn. They must be able to plan lessons and activities that encourage learning. This process requires teachers to be organized, patient and passionate about passing on their knowledge. To become a teacher in Tennessee, it is necessary to obtain licensure and an endorsement in their subject area. The steps that need to be followed to obtain teaching certification are described below.

Teaching Certification Requirements in Tennessee

Average Salary for Teachers in Tennessee (2017)* $50,320 (Elementary), $50,060 (Middle), $51,390 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Subject area relevant to the licensure area in which a candidate wishes to teach.
Testing Requirements Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core), Principles of Learning and Teaching (Pedagogy), Praxis subject-area test

Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Degree

To acquire a teacher license in Tennessee, candidates must obtain a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college or university. Candidates should select a degree that will maximize their knowledge in the subject area that they eventually want to teach. Additionally, while completing a degree, candidates should undertake an educator preparation program approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education.

Existing holders of a Tennessee teaching license who wish to teach additional fields can enroll in the large number of approved 'add-on' programs which are available in the state.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

Step 2: Pass all Required Testing

Tennessee Teacher candidates need to pass three tests which are administered by ETS. These tests consist of a basic skills, pedagogy, and specific licensure area test:

  • Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators - basic skills
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching - pedagogy
  • Praxis subject-area test

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam must be passed in order to gain entry into an approved educator preparation program. The exam includes three sub-tests that can be taken all at the same time or separately:

  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading (code: 5712, minimum passing score - 156)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Writing (code: 5722, minimum passing score - 162)
  • Core Academic Skills for Educators: Mathematics (code: 5732, minimum passing score - 156)

The Principles of Learning and Teaching test is a pedagogy exam and is typically taken at around the time of graduation from an approved educator preparation program. There are four versions of this exam, and the one(s) which a candidate will take depends on which grade levels they wish to teach. These exams, and required minimum scores, are as follows:

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood (code: 5621, minimum passing score - 157)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6 (code: 5622, minimum passing score - 160)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9 (code: 5623, minimum passing score - 160)
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12 (code 5624, minimum passing score - 157)

Candidates also need to pass the Praxis subject-area test which is appropriate to the subject and grade levels they wish to teach.

Step 3: Apply for an Initial Teaching License with Endorsement

Once the education and testing requirements have been completed, candidates are ready to apply for an initial Tennessee teaching license. The application form should be submitted electronically by an approved Educator Preparation Provider through the online application system called, 'TNCompass':

  • Candidates must indicate that they are applying for an initial license. The initial license is known as an Apprentice License and allows holders to apply for teaching jobs in Tennessee.
  • Candidates who hold a teaching license from another state should mark that they are making an application for an Out of State License.
  • Candidates who wish to add an endorsement to an existing license, should mark, 'Amendment to Add Endorsement Area,' and indicate the endorsement they would like to add.

Official college transcripts and proof of ETS test scores, should be included with the application.

ESL Teacher Certification Resources

Please follow the links below to access our resources. They're designed to assist candidates who want to study for their teacher certification exams in Tennessee:

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?