Licensure

Tennessee Licensure Information

There are basic requirements in order to obtain an administrator, practitioner, or other school services licensure in Tennessee. For specific information about the requirements for each subject area please visit https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/education/attachments/lic_educator_licensure_standards.pdf. The Tennessee Department of Education issues the following types of licenses:

  • Administrator
  • Practitioner (Teacher)
  • School Services (school counselors, school psychologists, speech/language pathologists, and school audiologists)
  • Out of State Licenses

Before applying, prospective teachers must complete an approved educator preparation program and pass all relevant portions of the Praxis Series Exam.

Administrators License

Instructional Leadership License – Aspiring (ILL-A)

The Instructional Leadership License – Aspiring (ILL-A) is an administrator license, valid for five years, that is issued to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree and are enrolled in an instructional leadership preparation program approved by the State Board of Education. The ILL-A may not be renewed.

In order to be issued an Instructional Leadership License – Aspiring, the following requirements must be met:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • At minimum, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must be enrolled in an approved instructional leadership preparation program and be recommended for licensure by that provider.
  • The applicant must ensure that the department has on file official transcripts of all credits earned through an institution of higher education.  The transcript must have the school seal and/or a signature of the registrar.

Download an Application for School Administrator and Instructional Leader Licenses here.

Instructional Leadership License – Beginning (ILL-B)

The Instructional Leadership License – Beginning (ILL-B) is an administrator license, valid for five years, that is issued to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree, have completed an instructional leadership preparation program approved by the State Board of Education, and have submitted passing scores on the required content assessment. The ILL-B may be renewed.

In order to be issued an Instructional Leadership License – Beginning, the following requirements must be met:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • At minimum, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must have completed an approved instructional leadership preparation program and be recommended for licensure by that provider.
  • The applicant must meet all requirements regarding assessments and qualifying scores as specified by State Board of Education rules or policy.
  • The applicant must ensure that the department has on file official transcripts of all credits earned through an institution of higher education.  The transcript must have the school seal and/or a signature of the registrar.

Download an Application for School Administrator and Instructional Leader Licenses here.

Practitioner Licenses

The Practitioner License is teacher license, valid for three years, that is issued to applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree, are enrolled in or have completed a preparation program approved by the State Board of Education, and have verified content knowledge. The Practitioner License may be renewed once.

In order to be issued a Practitioner License, the following requirements must be met:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • At minimum, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must be enrolled in or have completed an approved educator preparation program and be recommended for licensure by that provider.
  • The applicant must meet all requirements regarding assessments and qualifying scores as specified by State Board of Education rules or policy.
  • The applicant must meet requirements in at least one area of endorsement.
  • The applicant must ensure that the department has on file official transcripts of all credits earned through an institution of higher education.  The transcript must have the school seal and/or a signature of the registrar.

Applications are submitted through TNCompass by an educator preparation provider on behalf of the candidate.

Note: In limited circumstances, specific endorsements have additional requirements.  Both the Library Media Specialist and Reading Specialist require a master’s degree in the area of endorsement.  To review more details regarding specific requirements, please review the Educator Licensure Policy.

Practitioner Occupational Education Licenseshutterstock_247093522

A Practitioner Occupational Education License may be issued to individuals who have met requirements pursuant to State Board of Education policy, had content verification provided by the Tennessee Department of Education, Career and Technical Division and holds the required current/valid industry certification prior to entering Tennessee public schools. The license is only valid for three years of teaching in a Tennessee public or state accredited private school.

Individuals applying for the Practitioner Occupational Teacher license must meet the following criteria:

  • Be formally admitted to or have completed a state-approved educator preparation program
  • Be recommended by the state-approved educator preparation program
  • Be a high school graduate or higher
  • Meet industry certification requirements.
    • Due to changes in the current licensing requirements and not having regional testing centers available, a grace period of 1 year for industry certifications required for licensing will be given to individuals applying for a new practitioner occupational license. This does not apply to individuals who are advancing their license and have to have industry certification. Additionally, this does not apply to Health Science teachers or Cosmetology teachers.
  • Meet the endorsement experience requirements

Prior to recommending a candidate for licensure, educator preparation providers should receive verification from the Department of Education that the applicant meets stated criteria for licensure, such as required industry certification and experience.

Download the application for the Practitioner Occupational Education License or call (615) 532-2834 to request the forms be mailed to you. Qualifications including experience and educational preparation shall be reviewed by the staff of the Office of Career & Technical Education. Once an application has been reviewed and approved, the Practitioner Occupational Education License will be issued.

Health Science: The health science teacher must hold an associate or higher degree that is related to their health care license. The license, registration or certification must be in an allied health occupation, or as a registered nurse, or in an appropriate medical profession in Tennessee that can be verified by Tennessee Department of Health Licensure or a national license accreditation agency. (EX: Radiological Technologist, Nuclear Medicine, etc.)

The applicant shall have completed one year of full-time or part-time successful employment within the past five years in a related health occupation in a health care clinical setting having a current active healthcare license. (EX: hospital, long-term care facility, rehabilitation or athletic training facility, dental or medical office, home health, day surgery center, etc.)

All other occupational endorsement areas have different education, occupational work experience, and industry certification requirements.

JROTC License

Instructors in the JROTC program may hold a state-issued JROTC teaching license. The JROTC License is a five-year license issued to active or retired military personnel who seek to serve as junior reserve officers’ training corps (JROTC) teachers. The JROTC License is issued based upon a certification of preparation by the branch of the military approving the teacher placement.  The JROTC License does not entitle an individual to teach courses other than those designated as part of the JROTC program, consistent with the requirements of T.C.A 49-5-108.  No other teaching endorsement may be added to a JROTC license. The JROTC teacher license is renewable. No other endorsement can be added to the JROTC teaching license.  Applicants for a JROTC teaching license in Tennessee must submit to the Office of Teacher Licensing the following:

  • A completed application for a Tennessee JROTC teaching license;
  • A copy of a valid JROTC training certificate that includes an expiration date;
  • Official transcripts of all credit/degrees earned in colleges and/or universities in the United States; and
  • Verification that the applicant will be employed in a Junior ROTC program in a Tennessee school system.

School Services Personnel

Educators who provide services for students other than instruction are issued a School Services Personnel License.  These roles (listed below) require specialized training that is significantly different than training required for teachers.
  • School Guidance Counselor
  • School Psychologist
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • School Social Worker

The minimum requirements for the School Services Personnel License include:

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  • The applicant must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university.  In several cases, specific endorsements require an advanced degree.
  • The applicant must have successfully completed a state-approved educator preparation program and be recommended for licensure by that provider; and
  • The applicant must meet all requirements regarding assessments and qualifying scores as specified by State Board of Education rules or policy.
  • The applicant must ensure that the department has on file official transcripts of all credits earned through an institution of higher education.  The transcript must have the school seal and/or a signature of the registrar.
  • The applicant must meet requirements for the area of endorsement.

Adding an Endorsement

To learn more about adding an endorsement to your existing license, please visit the following link: https://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/education/attachments/lic_adding_endorsements_quick_facts.pdf.

Out of State Licensure

Educators applying from out-of-state will apply for a practitioner license. The practitioner license has a 3 year validity period and is renewable 1 time. Educators applying from out-of-state must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have submitted qualifying scores on required content assessments, AND
  2. Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or  university, AND
  3. Must have completed an educator preparation program approved for licensure by a state other than Tennessee. To demonstrate evidence of successful completion of an out-of-state program, the applicant must submit:
    • Proof of a full and valid license (comparable to the Tennessee Professional license) from a state with which Tennessee has reciprocity,
      -OR-
    • Recommendation from the out-of-state provider where the educator completed an approved program.  All out-of-state educator preparation programs must meet conditions stipulated in State Board Rule 0520-02-03.

– See more at: https://www.tn.gov/education/article/licensure-changes-for-out-of-state-applicants#sthash.AMXjaQHz.dpuf

Licensure Policy Changes and Updates

As of September 1, 2015, licensure policy and procedure changes were implemented. Please visit the following link for more information: https://www.tn.gov/education/topic/changes-to-licensing-policy

Contact Information

Tennessee Department of Education
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-5158