Becoming a Teacher in Tennessee

Explore Program, Licensing and Job Outlook Data for 2016

Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Tennessee

Tennessee has much to offer potential educators, and if your goal is to become a teacher in Tennessee, ToBecomeATeacher.org has all the information needed to help you get started.

1. Choosing a Program: The first step is to find a teaching program that is right fit for your budget and career plan.

  • There are hundreds of programs across the nation and several programs in Tennessee . Finding the right program, however, starts with asking the right questions.  Is there a specific specialization you hope to pursue? Is the cost of the program an important consideration for you? Are you concerned about the program’s graduation rate? In what region are you hoping to teach and if so, is there a program in that region?

2. Planning for Licensure in Tennessee: In order to obtain a teaching license in Tennessee, you will need to complete a teacher preparation program and write and pass the state’s required teacher licensure exams.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed your education and practice teaching and passed the applicable exams, you will be ready to search for a teaching job in Tennessee.

  • This is a moment when asking the right questions counts. Are you interested in working in an urban or rural school district? What are your salary and lifestyle expectations? What are your long-term career goals? Throughout the process, it is also important to continue developing your profile as an educator. The more current you are when you go on the job market, the more likely you will be to secure a job shortly after graduation.

Choosing an Education Program in Tennessee

ToBecomeATeacher.org appreciates that choosing an education program can be challenging. To assist you with this task, we have streamlined the process. Using a complex algorithmic tool developed to respond to the specific needs of aspiring teachers, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs available in Tennessee. Our testing criteria include several specific elements that will permit a student to determine which school is the best fit for their path, including total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, return on investment and much more.

Every school listed below is committed to the pursuit of excellence in teacher education. These programs comprise Tennessee’s very best. Find out which program is right for you by reviewing ToBecomeATeacher.org’s ranking.

Johnson University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 16 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 43200
  • Acceptance rate 54.64 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 60.84 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 22620

University of Memphis

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 14 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 33248
  • Acceptance rate 68.41 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 41.56 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 26393.5

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 17 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 40248
  • Acceptance rate 72.49 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 66.81 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 20338.5

The University of Tennessee-Martin

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 17 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 30028
  • Acceptance rate 76.68 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 47.64 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 23750

Middle Tennessee State University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 19 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 30184
  • Acceptance rate 69.96 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 45.34 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 22170.5

Le Moyne-Owen College

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 13 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 42720
  • Acceptance rate 23.35 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 12.57 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 0

Tennessee Technological University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 21 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 28252
  • Acceptance rate 93.16 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 51.27 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 15625

Austin Peay State University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 18 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 27504
  • Acceptance rate 85.95 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 36.03 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 25000

Lane College

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 17 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 36720
  • Acceptance rate 49.16 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 33.02 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 31478

Southern Adventist University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 14 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 79160
  • Acceptance rate 38.26 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 34098
  • Graduation Rate 57.57 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 26266
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Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon Collegescorecard.gov, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.

How To Become a Teacher in Tennessee

There are multiple pathways to teacher licensure in Tennessee, including the following:

  • Pathway 1: For current undergraduates, the most common pathway to teacher licensure is to complete a bachelor’s degree in education; aspiring secondary educators must also complete the course requirements for their desired subject field. Both aspiring elementary and secondary educators must complete the state’s required teacher licensure exams, which include the Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessment exams.
  • Pathway 2: For candidates who already have a bachelor’s degree, the recommended pathway is to complete a post-baccalaureate in education or master’s degree in education leading to teacher licensure and the state’s applicable exams.
  • Pathway 3: Another option for candidates who already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher is Tennessee’s Job-Embedded Practitioner license. In this case, candidates with a contract who have already passed the applicable Praxis exams are giving a provisional license to teach full time in the Tennessee school system and complete a program of additional courses over the course of their initial years of licensure.

What is the job outlook for teaching careers in Tennessee?

According to the Tennessee Department of Labor, education is currently one of the state’s top-ten fastest growing occupations. Some subjects, however, are in higher demand than others. In 2015-2016, Tennessee listed the following subjects as among those suffering from critical teacher shortages: English (grades 7 -12); English as a second language (all levels); mathematics (Grades 7 -12); science (grades 7 -12); social studies (grades 7 -12); special education (all levels) and world languages (grades 7 – 12).

What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in Tennessee?

What Online Programs are Available to Teachers in Tennessee?

At the University of Tennessee, qualified candidates can pursue a master’s of arts in teaching leading to initial licensure through the university’s online program. Cumberland University offers as a master of arts in education through its online program. At East Tennessee State University, in-service teachers hoping to acquire additional qualifications can pursue several different master’s levels degrees, including a master’s degree in educational leadership.

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