Alternative Teaching Certification in Tennessee


The Tennessee Department of Education issues a Transitional License to applicants who have been offered a teaching position in a Tennessee school, have a bachelor’s degree, and meet other requirements.

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in Tennessee.

This license must be applied for by the hiring school district, not by the individual. This license is valid for one year, and may be renewed. For the first renewal, you must complete the Professional Education Core Competencies for your teaching position. For the second renewal, you must pass the Praxis II exam for your content area. You may only teach on a Transitional License for a maximum of three years.

Alternative Certification Requirements


Education Requirements

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You must have a bachelor’s degree and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have a major in an endorsement/content area
  • Have completed at least 24 semester hours in the content area
  • Pass the Praxis II exam for that content area (see below)

A list of acceptable majors for a Transitional License can be found here.

usc teaching


If you do not meet the major or semester hour educational requirements (above), you must pass the Praxis II exam for your content area.


Criminal History Background Check

Before being authorized to work under a Transitional License at a Tennessee school, you must submit to a criminal history background check and fingerprinting. Cogent Systems provides fingerprinting services for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), who sends the results of your report to the Tennessee Department of Education. You are responsible for all costs associated with this process. It may take as long as four weeks for your background check to clear before you may legally begin teaching in a Tennessee school.


Contact Information

Cooperating Tennessee school systems who work with those with Transitional Licenses may be found here.