tennessee flag

Tennessee is a large state with a lot of diversity. Educators interested in urban education and rural education will find some great opportunities here. According to U.S. News the state itself ranks in the bottom 20s both for K-12 education and higher education. Like all states in the US, Tennessee needs your help when it comes to education. More so than ever before, the state needs stellar teachers who won’t give up on their students. The revolving door is a major issue for urban kids who are exposed to a lot of instability at home, and rural children who may not have the same resources as other children. Are you prepared to take on this job for the long-term? If so, you may find a lot of financial support by way of scholarships and grants. Check our resources section below for more details.

Along with the diversity of the people comes a great diversity of the landscape. Tennessee has a lot of culture found in its food, its music, and in the place itself. The rolling hills, the Appalachian mountains, lakes, streams, and parks are all part of the package of living and working in Tennessee. The Peabody School of Education in Vanderbilt University is one of the best school’s of education in the world. Making Tennessee a great place to head if you’re starting off your career, changing careers, or furthering your path towards success. We examined all of the top schools offering online degrees. We checked out tuition prices as well as how many programs were available online. Below you’ll also find some detailed information on what to expect from the process of becoming a certified teacher as well as what to expect when it comes to salary. The following schools offer online education programs in the state of Tennessee:

  • The University of Tennessee- Knoxville
  • East Tennessee State University
  • University of Memphis
  • Union University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Trevecca Nazarene University
  • The University of Tennessee-Martin
  • Lipscomb University
  • Freed-Hardeman University
  • The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Carson-Newman University
  • Bryan College-Dayton
  • King University
  • South College
  • Tusculum College
  • Cumberland University
  • Bethel University

Requirements for Teaching Licensure
in Tennessee

The “traditional” route to certification in Tennessee involves four main steps:

1.) Complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

For the most traditional route towards certification, complete a bachelor’s degree in education. Usually, a bachelor’s degree in education requires about 120 credit hours of general education courses, education courses, electives, and practicum experience. The common curriculum usually aligns with state certification requirements, including both theory and practicum. We suggest you check the Licensing Guide For Tennessee for an approved route towards certification.

2.) Complete a State-Approved Teacher Certification Program

Tennessee teachers must complete an education preparation that has been approbed by the Tennessee State Board of Education. A “state-approved” teacher preparation program means working in an educational facility- typically a public school with a supervisor. Essentially it’s like having supervised on-the-job training before you are actually on the job. Teacher preparation programs are an important step into the field of education. Here you will gain exposure to the school system, learn how to work with a team, and learn how to put education theory into practice. Here’s a great resource for educator preparation programs in the state of Tennessee.

3.) Pass the State-Mandated Exams

The Tennessee exam requirements include the Praxis II: Principles of Learning and Teaching as well as the designated specialty areas exams.

Are you finished with your bachelor’s in education, teacher preparation, and exams? Here’s a helpful checklist to ensure you have everything in order for licensure:

  • Complete a Background Check
  • Demonstrate Proof of Degree Completion with Official Transcripts
  • Demonstrate Proof of Teacher Preparation Completion
  • Provide Passing Scores for State-Mandated Exams
  • Complete an Application for Teacher Certification in the State of Tennessee
  • Pay a non-refundable Certification Processing Fee

If you have a bachelor’s degree in an area other than education or are simply looking for other methods that lead to licensure check out these alternative routes towards teacher certification for the state of Tennessee.

Online Education Program Admission Requirements

Every school varies when it comes to admission and furthermore, admission requirements will differ depending on whether or not you are looking to complete an undergraduate or graduate degree. Let’s first take a look at general admission requirements for a bachelor’s degree in education at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville(UTK)

Generally speaking in order to gain admission to a bachelor’s degree in education you must have a high school diploma or have passed a GED with an acceptable GPA. College entrance exams like the ACT and SAT are still very common and score requirements vary per institution. In the case of UTK a score of 25 or above is required for the math portion of the ACT. The SAT math score is 590, Once you have the scores you need, the next step is to fulfill application requirements which may be found through their online portal. In general, the application requirements include the application itself, the 2 or 3 letters of recommendations, an entrance essay demonstrating how you are good fit with the institution and occasionally an interview.

Admissions into a master’s program also varies but many require: a bachelor’s degree with least a 2.75 GPA, 2 years of teaching experience, 2-3 letters of recommendation from academic and professional supervisors, written essays of intent/ demonstrated passion and desire to attend program, and a GRE score. It’s important to check with your institution as some schools do not require a GRE score. If English is not your first language you must complete a TOEFL exam with a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL.

Average Salaries
For Common Educator Roles in Tennessee

  • Preschool Teacher:$27,260
  • Primary School Educator:$46,960
  • Secondary School Educator:$48,080
  • Higher Education Administrator:$128,375
  • Principal:$92,482
  • Special Education Teacher:$49,150
  • Math or Science High School Teacher: $54,233
  • ESL Teacher$54,290li>
  • School Psychologist:$74,280

Scholarships for Future Educators in the State of Tennessee

Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program

Minority Teaching Fellows Program

Metropolitan Nashville Education Foundation

The 5 Best Online Education Degree
Providers in Tennessee

eced tn badge 01

Tennessee has a total of 19 education degree-granting institutions that provide online education degrees. These range from community colleges offering associates in early childhood development or human services, to nationally ranked universities that offer a wide spread of masters level and education endorsement-level programming. While future students may want to go to the “best” online institution in their state for education degrees, they should take some to double check what exact degrees are offered by their institution of choice at the directory of all online education degrees at the bottom of the page. To select the following top five universities, we’ve looked at two factors: the number of fully online education degrees offered by an institution, and an “academic prestige” score. The academic prestige score takes into account metrics such as average amount of financial need received, average class sizes, admissions standards, and the percentage of faculty holding terminal degrees in their field. Also note that the tuition numbers below are just indicators of relatively how expensive or affordable a college is. The tuition numbers below, specifically, are the in-state (where applicable) undergraduate yearlong tuition rates for education degrees. Many universities, however, have similar tuition rates at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
In-State Tuition: $20,995
Online Ed Degrees: 9

The University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK) is a public research university. There are 28,052 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits UTK to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as postbaccalaureate certificates. According to U.S. News UNK ranks as the 103rd best school in the nation, 62nd best school for veterans, 46th top public school, and 42nd for online graduate engineering programs. Their student support services include academic counseling, career counseling, employment for students, and placement for graduates. When it comes to academics, UTK really shines- with a little something for everyone including in fields like educational psychology, drama, forestry, Art teacher education, law, nuclear engineering and much more. The institution currently offers 19 fully online degrees including a master’s in educational psychology, and a master’s in agricultural and extension education services.

UTK’s College of Education, Health, and Human Science offers 8 online education-related programs. There are 6 fully online master’s degrees and 2 certifications available. The certifications focus on educational administration and educational psychology. Those who are looking to pursue a master’s degree have a number of exciting options from which to choose including their Master of Science in Applied Educational Psychology, Master of Science in Adult Education/ Applied Educationald, Master’s in Teacher Education (non-licensure track) with a concentration in STEM subjects as well as Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling. Each degree requires about 36 credit hours for completion.

East Tennessee State University
In-State Tuition: $13,926
Online Ed Degrees: 17

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is a public 4-year institution located in Johnson City, Tennessee. There are 14,002 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits ETSU to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as professional certifications. ETSU ranks as the 231st best school in the nation, and 28th for best online nursing programs. The university offers student support with academic and career counseling, employment for students, placement for completers, and credit for life experiences. Their academic offerings include a wide range of programming in the Arts and sciences even including city/urban planning, women’s studies, rhetoric and composition, child development, and graphic design. The university currently offers 24 online degrees and professional certifications like their online master’s degree in educational leadership, online bachelor’s in dental hygiene, online doctorate in nursing science, and online bachelor’s in human services.

ETSU offers a number of online degrees in education. We like ETSU for the affordable tuition rates along with the high number of online options. If you are a teacher looking to advance your career in education, check out the advanced degrees from ETSU, a number of their programs are in high-need fields, relevant to the times, and all are affordable. There are three Ed.D options- that’s more than online doctoral programs than we have seen from online education schools. Doctoral candidates may focus on the administrative endorsement, higher education leadership concentration, or the school leadership concentration. Here are the options for graduate students:

  • Educational Leadership, Ed.S. (two variations)
  • Educational Leadership, M.Ed. (two variations)
  • Early Childhood Education, Master Teacher Concentration
  • M.A., Teaching and Learning Advanced Studies
  • M.Ed., Childhood Literacy-Reading Concentration (in cooperation with TN eCampus)
  • Community College Leadership, Graduate Certificate
  • Early Childhood Education – Emergent Inquiry, Graduate Certificate
  • School Library Professional, Graduate Certificate
  • Special Education, Early Childhood Special Education Graduate Certificate
  • Special Education, High Incidence Disabilities Graduate Certificate
  • Special Education, Low Incidence Disabilities Graduate Certificate

As you can see a number of their programs focus on high-need areas in education.

University of Memphis
In-State Tuition: $13,663
Online Ed Degrees: 17

The University of Memphis (Memphis) is a public research institution located in Memphis, Tennessee. There are 21,301 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Memphis to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as professional certifications. According to U.S. News Memphis ranks as the 231st best school in the nation, 228th for high school counselor programming, 15th for best online graduate nursing programs, 89th for best online MBA, 125th for best online bachelor’s programs, and 150th for best online graduate education programs. The student support services include remedial services, academic counseling, career counseling, placement for completers, and credit for life experience. When it comes to academics Memphis offers a number of career ready degree programs as well as programs in the Arts and liberal arts. The university currently offers 41 online degrees including their online bachelor’s in African-American studies, online master’s in business administration, online master’s in computer information technology, and online bachelor’s in English language and literature among several others. Memphis has myriad of great options for traditional and nontraditional students alike.

The University of Memphis offers a wide range of graduate level education programs. There are three doctor of education programs available including in higher education, adult education, and curriculum and instructional design and technology. Doctoral programs typically require around 60 credit hours for completion. The 6 Master of Science programs focus on library information science, reading, leadership, physical education, curriculum and instructional technology, and educational psychology. There are two master of arts in teaching that lead to initial teacher licensure- the MAT in secondary education, and the MAT in special education program. The special education program focuses on mild disabilities. There’s also a graduate certificate in autism studies as well as library information, college and career counseling, literacy leadership, and coaching, and college teaching and leadership. As you can see, through Memphis there are a number of ways to initiate, further, or branch off in your career in education.

Union University
In-State Tuition: $25,162
Online Ed Degrees: 4

Union University (UU) is a private Southern Baptist institution located in Jackson, Tennessee. There are 3,466 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 9:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits UU to award comprehensive degree offerings as well as professional certifications. According to U.S. News UU ranks as the 176th best university in the nation, 74th for best engineering programs, 173 for best online graduate education programs, and 259th for best online bachelor’s programs. The university supports its students with academic and career counseling, employment for students, and credit for life experience. When it comes to academics, UU provides a number of degree offerings for a wide range of interests including in nursing, French language, Music Teacher Education, computer science, and biochemistry. There are 8 online degrees available including their online bachelor’s in business administration, online bachelor’s in organizational leadership, and online master’s in learning sciences.

UU offers three graduate level degrees in education: Master of Education in Teaching & Learning, Master of Art in Education with a focus in Library Information Sciences, and a Doctor of Education in Leadership in School Reform. The M.Ed. in Teaching and Learning is a 12-month program with three starting dates. Each student does receive a free iPad when initiating this program. UU is an NCATE accredited institution. The Ed.D is a 60 hour doctorate program that focuses on P-12 school administration with three areas of concentration: instructional leadership, teacher leadership, and leadership in school reform. As with many online graduate programs you do learn with a cohort- mimicking the brick and mortar model. We like this program for its accelerated pace and real-work applications.

Vanderbilt University
In-State Tuition: 47664
Online Ed Degrees: 2

Vanderbilt University (Vanderbilt) is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee. There are 12,587 students enrolled, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 8:1. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools- a regional accrediting agency- accredits Vanderbilt to award bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as professional certifications. U.S. News ranks Vanderbilt as the 14th best school in the nation, 14th best undergraduate teaching school, 12th best value school, and 67th best school in the world. The institution offers academic and career counseling as as placement for completers. As one of the best institutions in the world, you may be surprised to find that Vanderbilt doesn’t offers a massive amount of academic programs. Yes, Vanderbilt offers a wide range of options, but tends to focus their attention on specific concentrations like education, cultural studies, biomedical sciences, health, engineering, and the Arts. In fact their school of education, Peabody is considered to be one of the top education schools in the world.

Vanderbilt’s Schools of Education, Peabody, offers two online degrees in education: an online Master of Education in Human Development Counseling, and an Online Doctor of Education in Leadership and Learning in Organizations. The online M.Ed. is a 48 credit hour program that prepares you to meet the needs the “social, psychological, and emotional needs” of children in K-12 schools. The curriculum centers on behavioral sciences, counseling and helping skills, diagnosis, research, and diversity. If you care about the emotional wellbeing of children in schools, have a strong ethical moral, and are ready to make a difference, then this program may be for you. The Ed.D is a 54 credit hour program that requires approximately 3-4 years to complete. You will study live during weekly online classes led directly from Peabody’s world renowned teachers. Each year you are required to attend an “annual on-campus immersion” where you’ll have an opportunity to network with your peers and professors and collaborate. This program culminates with a capstone that must be defended in front of a a panel for assessment.