Teaching Degrees in Tennessee

Those interested in pursuing a teaching degree in Tennessee or who wish to teach in the Tennessee public school system should know some important information, including:

  • The impact of a master’s degree
  • Scholarships and grants
  • Tennessee teacher certification

Also included here is a list of additional resources and a comprehensive directory of fully- accredited teaching degrees in Tennessee.

Teaching Degrees in Tennessee

Tennessee offers 23 accredited teaching degree programs at its colleges and universities. The starting salary with a teaching degree in Tennessee is $32,525; the average salary for Tennessee teachers is $45,549. Those who hold a master’s degree make up 43 percent of teachers in the state; these teachers will see a salary increase of $2,720 per year over those with bachelor’s degrees.

Teaching Scholarships and Grants in Tennessee

There are many options for financial aid, including grants and scholarships, for teaching programs in Tennessee. Some of these are:

Don Sahli-Kathy Woodall Scholarship
This program awards eight scholarships per year; 6 awards are for $1,000 and 2 are for $500.

East Tennessee State University: College of Education Scholarships
The portal page for East Tennessee State provides a list of available options for those education students who need a scholarship through the University.

Middle Tennessee State University: College of Education Scholarships
This is the portal page for Middle Tennessee State’s College of Education scholarships. It presents a wealth of options for new, returning, or transferring students.

Minority Teaching Fellows Program
This annual award grants $5,000 per year to students pursuing teacher certification at an eligible Tennessee college or university.

Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program
This award is targeted at outstanding students looking to obtain teaching degrees in Tennessee.It is available to college juniors, seniors, and advanced degree candidates enrolled in teacher education programs in the state.

The University of Memphis: College of Education Scholarships
This is the University of Memphis College of Education award page, which includes information about many scholarships available to those seeking a teaching degree in Tennessee.

Tennessee Teacher Certification

To obtain a teaching license in Tennessee, certain criteria must be met and completed.
Certification requirements include:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree
  • Completion of an approved and accredited teacher preparation program
  • Background checks and child abuse clearances
  • Passing scores on the PPTS and Praxis II exams

Tennessee offers a transitional license, which is not a full educator license and requires a request by the superintendent/director of a Tennessee school system for a prospective teacher who is employed while still completing specific licensure requirements. A transitional license is issued for one school year at a time. In addition, Teach Tennessee is an option for those candidates with expertise in math, science or foreign languages in high-needs schools. This program also offers Governor’s Fellowships for career changers, and Commissioner’s Fellowships for recent graduates of non-education programs who obtain a bachelor’s degree. The state also offers the Tennessee Troops to Teachers program, which helps veterans of the armed forces earn teaching credentials.

Important Note: Tennessee accepts some teaching credentials from out of state through the Interstate Reciprocity Program. To find out if your credentials are valid in Tennessee, contact the Department of Education.

Tennessee’s Professional Teacher license is good for ten years, and can be renewed any time after the fifth year. Obtaining renewal requires 90 renewal points to be earned during the period of licensure. Renewal points may be earned in a variety of ways, such as further college course work or approved professional development activities attended outside of in-service days or school hours.

Additional Resources about Teaching in Tennessee

The following resources provide additional information relevant to obtaining a teaching degree in Tennessee and maintaining this status.

Tennessee Department of Education
The Department of Education is a perfect jumping-off point for information about teaching, certification, and information regarding public schools.

Tennessee Department of Labor
The Tennessee Department of Labor paints a useful portrait of the state labor market and can be an asset when seeking work.

Tennessee Education Association
The state’s largest professional organization, which seeks to advocate for educators and public education, and to protect the rights of teachers.

Salary data for Tennessee Teachers
This site presents a valuable resource for checking and comparing salary data across different districts and years.

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