School Teacher Requirements in Tennessee, TN

Tennessee, ranking 17th in population, has 912,124 students. There are 1,693 public schools, broken down into 982 elementary, 306 middle, and 318 high schools. Tennessee ranks 30th in average combined SAT and ACT scores (the two most common national standardized tests), with an average SAT score of 1040 and ACT score of 19.7. Tennessee has about an average graduation rate of 74.9%.

Tennessee Teacher Certification Requirements:

  • Initial Teaching Certificate (valid for 3 years)
  • Bachelors Degree from an accredited college or university
  • Complete an approved Tennessee Teacher Preparation Program
  • Take and pass the Praxis I: Basic Skills Test
  • Take and pass the Praxis II: Content Subject Matter test in appropriate field/s
  • Fulfill state fingerprinting requirements
  • Pass a criminal background check through the state and FBI
  • Complete the certification application packet, including transcripts, certifications, and references
  • Pay any applicable fees

Some districts may require additional training and certification.

Tennessee Teacher Employment Outlook:

After receiving budget grants to the education system, Tennessee has been able to hire new teachers fairly steadily over the few recent years. Following the national trend, the state has also been looking to expand its technology education so certification in areas like computer science can go a long way to bulk up a resume. As with most teachers across the country, the teaching market in Tennessee remained fairly intact through the recession, and is expanding even more as we come out of it. As in any state, it is a good idea to have a Masters or PhD as that is certainly an eye catcher for prospective employers, as well as providing increased salary opportunities.

Tennessee Teachers Salary Expectation:

Tennessee is ranked 33rd in the nation when it comes to teacher salaries, the average salary being $45,936 in 2009-2010 (according to In the last three years teachers in Tennessee have seen an average 8.58% wage increase. Recent budget grants to the education system has allowed Tennessee to not only higher more teachers but also increase salary at a higher then average rate. Teachers also can increase their salary by gaining additional accreditation and certification, as well as gaining teaching positions over the summer.