Apply for a New Teacher License

The department distinguishes between three types of licenses for new teachers—Apprentice (traditional), Transitional (alternative), and Apprentice Occupational—as well as two credentials, the JROTC and Interim B.

Apprentice License (Traditional)

An Apprentice license is a full license, valid for five years, and renewable.  In order to hold an Apprentice license for teaching , the following requirements must be met:

  1. Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
  2. Applicant must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university
  3. Applicant must have successfully completed a state-approved educator preparation program and be recommended by that program for licensing
  4. Applicant must pass required Praxis II exams
  5. Application must be made by an education preparation institution on behalf of the candidate (i.e., individuals may not apply for licensure directly).

Note: Library Media Specialist is an endorsement on an Apprentice license and has the additional requirement of a Master’s degree in Library Media.

Transitional License (Alternative)

The Transitional license is not a full teaching license. The Transitional license is issued at the request of a superintendent/director of schools for a teacher who will be employed while completing licensure requirements. The license is issued for one school year at a time and may only be renewed two times for a maximum of three years.

If you are seeking a Transitional license, you must first receive a job offer from a Tennessee public school system or a state-approved private school, and the district or school must apply on your behalf; you cannot apply for a Transitional license directly. You must also meet the following requirements:

  1. Have at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university
  2. Meet the requirements for content area knowledge through one of the following:
    1. Have an acceptable major in the endorsement area sought; OR
    2. Have at least 24 semester hours in the endorsement are sought ; OR
    3. Pass the PRAXIS II exam(s) in the content area for the endorsement sought
  3. Have a verifiable affiliation with a preparation program that is:
    1. Regionally accredited; AND
    2. State approved for teacher education for the licensure endorsement program(s) and appropriate grade level range for the Tennessee endorsement(s) sought by the employing school system; AND
    3. Have obtained an "intent to hire" statement, including a commitment to provide mentoring, from a Tennessee school system that submits completed applications for the Transitional License, with supporting documentation, to the Tennessee State Department of Education Office of Teacher Licensing, in addition to all official transcripts with confer dates of degrees earned.

Additional resources

Transitional Licensure Program Providers

Public Institutions
Name Location
Austin Peay State University Clarksville
East Tennessee State University Johnson City
Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro
Tennessee State University Nashville
Tennessee Technological University Cookeville
University Of Memphis Memphis
University Of Tennessee Chattanooga Chattanooga
University Of Tennessee Knoxville Knoxville
University Of Tennessee Martin Martin

Independent Institutions
Name Location
Belmont University Nashville
Bethel University McKenzie
Carson-Newman College Jefferson City
Christian Brothers University Memphis
Cumberland University Lebanon
Fisk University Nashville
Free Will Baptist Bible College Nashville
Freed-Hardeman University Henderson
King College Bristol
Lambuth College Jackson
Lane College Jackson
Lee University Cleveland
Lemoyne-Owen College Memphis
Lipscomb University Nashville
Martin Methodist College Pulaski
Memphis College Of Art Memphis
Milligan College Johnson City
Tennessee Wesleyan College Athens
Trevecca Nazarene University Nashville
Tusculum College Greeneville
Union University Jackson
Vanderbilt University Nashville
Victory University Memphis


Education Related Organizations
Name LEA Partner
Teach For America Memphis City
Metro Nashville
Teach Tennessee All Systems
The New Teacher Project Memphis City
Metro Nashville


Name LEA Partner
ABCTE Putnam
i Teach US Campbell
Grizzlies Preparatory Charter
Metro Nashville
Harding University Memphis City -Shelby County Schools

Apprentice Occupational License

An Apprentice 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.

Health Science educators must document one year of full-time successful employment within the past five years in a state-approved health care facility, such as a hospital, nursing home, rehab center, dental or medical office, home health, day surgery center. They must also have an associate degree or higher and hold current allied health or registered nurse license as issued by the respective state licensing board.

Cosmetology educators must also hold current licensure to instruct in Tennessee as issued by the respective state licensing board in addition to the other requirements for an apprentice occupational license.

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

Download the application for the Apprentice 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 Apprentice Occupational Education License will be issued. Click to download the guidelines for applying for the Apprentice Occupational Education License.

Below is a listing of Occupational Education License endorsement areas (with code numbers in parentheses) currently available in Tennessee.

  • Aircraft Maintenance (512)
  • Automotive Technology (508)
  • Aviation Ground School (594)
  • Barbering (560) HVACR (598)
  • Carpentry (522)
  • Collision Repair Tech (507)
  • Concrete/Masonry (524)
  • Cosmetology (561)
  • Culinary Arts (562)
  • Diesel Equipment Tech (581)
  • Drafting/CAD (531)
  • Electricity (523)
  • Electronic Media (597)
  • Fire Safety (751)
  • Health Informatics (721)
  • Health Science/Occupations (577)
  • Graphic Communications (543)
  • Health Science/Occupations (577)
  • HVACR (598)
  • Legal & Protective Services (590)
  • Leisure Craft Tech (568)
  • Logistics & Warehouse Dist. (503)
  • Manufacturing Tech (596)

JROTC License

JROTC is a course of instruction taught for academic credit in high schools by retired officers and noncommissioned officers. In public schools, students select JROTC as an elective course. In some private schools, such as military schools, enrollment in JROTC may be a mandatory part of the curriculum.  Students enrolled in JROTC are referred to as cadets. They are organized into units with a cadet chain of command.

The JROTC program prepares high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges as American citizens. The program is a stimulus for promoting graduation from high school, and it provides instruction and rewarding opportunities that will benefit the student, community, and nation.

JROTC Teaching License

Instructors in the JROTC program may hold a state issued 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.
  • Copy of  valid JROTC training certificate (including expiration date)
  • Official transcripts of credit/degrees earned in colleges/universities in the United States. (Note: If copies of transcripts are submitted, the license will not reflect the degree earned.)
  • Verification that the applicant is currently employed in a Junior ROTC program in a Tennessee school system..

Note: No other endorsement can be added to the JROTC teaching license.

Interim B License

The Interim B License is issued at the request of the superintendent/director of schools of a Tennessee school district to an individual who is employed while still completing the required Praxis Series Exams for obtaining full licensure.

The following documentation is needed:

  1. Interim B application signed by superintendent/director of schools using current endorsement codes
  2. Original transcripts from all College(s)
  3. Letter of eligibility from Tennessee Institution or recommendation from Out of State institution

Download Interim B License application or call (615) 532-4885 to request the form be mailed to you.

Last Update: April 6, 2015