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Tennessee Alternative Certification Programs

If you’re looking to become a teacher in Tennessee but hold a bachelor’s degree in a different field, there are a few alternative options that will allow you to become a certified teacher in a short period of time. Here is a look at what the programs are all about and what you need to know to apply.

Teach Tennessee

Program Mission and Overview

Teach Tennessee provides schools in the state with highly qualified teachers in high-needs areas, including science, math and foreign language, particularly for grades seven through 12. Candidates have the option to choose one of two paths: Governor’s Fellows or Commissioner’s Fellows.

Candidates must complete coursework through the Teach Tennessee Institute.

  • Governor’s Fellows must complete 40 hours of professional development coursework.
  • Commissioner’s Fellows must attend eight Saturday sessions through the year.The program also includes an Individualized Professional Education Plan (IPEP) that may require additional educational and professional development coursework.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Candidates must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • Have at least a 3.0 GPA. Governor’s Fellows candidates must also have five years of subject-relevant work experience.
  • Have 24 credit hours of subject-relevant coursework or pass the PRAXIS II content area exam.
  • Pass a criminal background check.

Financial Information

  • Prospective teachers are responsible for fees associated with the program, including the background check, testing and professional development costs.
  • Candidates must also pay the cost of tuition for any coursework completed through an approved institution.
  • There are currently no financial aid programs for Teach Tennessee, but candidates may be able to apply for federal or private student loans, scholarships, and grants.

Transitional License

Program Mission and Goals

The Transitional License allows candidates who do not have a bachelor’s degree in education to become certified teachers. This license is valid for one year and may be renewed for two additional years before a traditional long-term license is required. Candidates who obtain this license teach in a Tennessee classroom while completing 18 to 30 semester hours of coursework.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Candidates interested in applying to the program must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in another area from an accredited institution.
  • Demonstrate the proper content knowledge by one of the following ways:
    • Have a degree with a major in an endorsement area.
    • Have at least 24 semester hours in an endorsement area.
    • Pass the PRAXIS II content exam.
  • Obtain employment through a Tennessee school district.
  • Pass a criminal background check.

Financial Information

Candidates are responsible for completing any necessary coursework to obtain full licensure after three years of working with the transitional license. Tuition and fees vary depending on the institution candidates attend. Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, and federal or private student loans.

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