New to Tennessee?

If you are licensed to teach in another state or if you received your teaching degree in another country, you will need to submit appropriate documentation to apply for a Tennessee teaching license. Instructions are available from the options below.

Practitioner License (Out-of-State Applicants)

The Practitioner License is an initial license, valid for three years, that is issued to out of state applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree, 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 as an Out of State applicant, the following requirements must be met:

  • Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Applicants coming to Tennessee from a state other than Tennessee must have completed an educator preparation program approved for licensure by a state other than Tennessee or be enrolled in an approved out of state program that has a formal partnership with a Tennessee school district. The option to obtain the Practitioner License while enrolled is only available to teachers and school counselors.  Educators can demonstrate meeting this requirement in the following ways:
    • Provide proof of a full and valid license, comparable to the Tennessee Professional license, from a state with which Tennessee has reciprocity.

      OR
    • Submit a provider recommendation from the out-of-state educator preparation provider where the educator completed or is enrolled in preparation.  All out-of-state educator preparation providers must meet conditions stipulated in State Board Rule 0520-02-04. If a candidate is recommended for licensure while enrolled in an out-of-state preparation program, that program must have a formal partnership agreement with a Tennessee school district on file with the Tennessee Department of Education.
  • Applicants must meet requirements in at least one area of endorsement.
  • If an applicant submits a provider recommendation from an out-of-state educator preparation provider as proof of program enrollment, they must also verify content knowledge by either submitting qualifying scores on all required content assessments or proof of an undergraduate major in the content area where the educator is seeking endorsement. Passing scores on the required pedagogical assessment must be submitted prior to renewing or advancing the Practitioner License.
  • If an applicant submits a provider recommendation from an out-of-state educator preparation provider as proof of program completion, they must also submit qualifying scores on all required assessments (content and pedagogical) at the time of application.
  • If an applicant holds a full and valid license, comparable to the Tennessee Professional license as proof of program completion, qualifying scores on required content assessments must be submitted prior to renewal or advancement of the Practitioner License
  • Applicants 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 and additional materials can be submitted to the Office of Educator Licensure via mail.  Applications for the Practitioner license for out-of-state applicants can be found on our find a form page.

Instructional Leadership License (Out-of-State Applicants)

The Instructional Leadership License – Beginning (ILL-B) is an administrator license, valid for five years, that may be issued to out-of-state applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree and have completed an instructional leader preparation program approved for licensure by a state other than Tennessee.

In order for an out-of-state applicant to be issued an ILL-B, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Hold a graduate degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  • Demonstrate evidence of 3 years of qualifying PreK-12 education working experience
  • Submit passing scores on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment*
  • 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.
  • Applicants coming to Tennessee from other states must have completed an instructional leader preparation program approved for licensure by a state other than Tennessee.  Educators can demonstrate evidence of successful program completion one of two ways.
    • Proof of a full and valid license, comparable to the Tennessee Instructional Leader License – Beginning (ILL-B), from a state with which Tennessee has reciprocity.

      OR
    • A provider recommendation from the out-of-state instructional leader preparation program where the educator completed preparation.  All our-of-state instructional leader preparation programs must meet conditions stipulated in State Board Rule 0520-02-04.

Applications and additional material are submitted to the Office of Educator Licensure via mail. Applications for the Practitioner license for out-of-state applicants can be found on our find a form page.

*Out-of-state applicants who are unable to submit passing scores on the SLLA, but have met all other requirements, may be issued the Instructional Leader License – Aspiring (ILL-A). The ILL-A allows educators to be hired as an assistant principal. Once qualifying scores are submitted, the educator may advance to the ILL-B.