Tennessee Teacher Colleges and Degrees Online Guide

Tennessee requires all teachers to complete a teacher preparation program from an accredited school in order to work in the state’s educational system. This guide to teaching schools in Tennessee provides detailed information to help you research the various programs available in the state. For aspiring educators pursuing a teaching degree in Tennessee, we provide lists of top-rated teaching programs, a table of accredited, state-approved teacher preparation programs, and student reviews. Whether you are fresh out of college or looking to change careers, this guide is the perfect place to start researching your next career move.

Quick Facts

  • There are 49 colleges and universities with teacher degree programs in Tennessee.1
  • 17 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in education.*1
  • 35 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in education.*1
  • 30 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in education.*1
  • 6 schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019.2
  • 1 school ranked in Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Education Majors 2020.3
  • 8 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Programs 2019.4
  • 9 schools ranked in US News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs 2019.5
  • 23 not-for-profit teacher programs are accredited by the NCATE, TEAC, or CAEP.

*For not-for-profit colleges and universities with teacher degree programs.

Top-Ranked Schools with Education Programs in Tennessee

Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2019*

  • Vanderbilt University (#7)
  • Rhodes College (#70)
  • Sewanee: The University of the South (#78)
  • Union University (#217)
  • University of Tennessee (#246)
  • Belmont University (#271)

*Institution-wide ranking.

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Education Majors 2020

  • Vanderbilt University

US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Programs 2019

  • Vanderbilt University (#6)
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#66 tie)
  • East Tennessee State University (#127 tie)
  • University of Memphis (#157 tie)
  • Tennessee Tech (#177 tie)
  • University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (#186 tie)
  • Lipscomb University (#195-258)
  • Union University (#195-258)

US News & World Report’s Best Online Graduate Education Programs 2019

  • University of Memphis (#139 tie)
  • Carson-Newman University (#148 tie)
  • Lipscomb University (#174 tie)
  • University of Tennessee-Martin (#186 tie)
  • Austin Peay State University (#189 tie)
  • Union University (#210)
  • Bethel University (#228-299)
  • East Tennessee State University (#228-299)
  • Tennessee Tech (#228-299)

Comparison of Teacher Preparation Programs

We have designed the following table to help you compare the ratings of teacher preparation programs in Tennessee according to various factors. All of the schools included are not-for-profit institutions approved by the Tennessee State Board of Education for the preparation of teachers. Completing a state-approved teacher preparation program is an important step towards earning licensure. While accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is not a requirement for licensure, many states accept degrees from CAEP-accredited institutions for those wishing to become certified. CAEP accreditation is highly regarded and shows that a program has met rigorous evidence-based standards. Read more about the CAEP, NCATE, and TEAC accrediting bodies.

The Tennessee State Board of Education (TNSBE) also provides its own ratings of approved educator preparation institutions based on metrics including the profile of students accepted to the educator preparation program, the number of graduates in high-demand endorsement areas, the number of graduates overall, and the placement and retention rates of program graduates. A Category 1 rating indicates the lowest performance, while a Category 4 rating indicates the highest performance. Finally, we included ratings from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a research and policy group that scores teacher preparation programs at the national level using key standards chosen to measure students’ preparation for success in teaching.

State-Approved SchoolCAEP Accred.?6TN Educator Prep Institution Score (2016)7NCTQ UG Elem. Prog. % (2016)**8NCTQ UG Second. Prog. % (2017)**8Teacher Prep Prog. Enrollment9Teacher Prep Prog. Completers9Licensing Exams Pass Rate9Net Price***1
Aquinas CollegeNo2013100%
Austin Peay State UniversityYes360%67%380118100%$13,045
Belmont UniversityYes22534288%$35,382
Bethel UniversityYes117%40%23483%$14,382
Bryan CollegeNo321793%$15,409
Carson-Newman UniversityYes389%8276100%$18,598
Christian Brothers UniversityYes3195$17,023
Cumberland UniversityYes452%3622100%$23,175
East Tennessee State UniversityYes266%79%251172100%$13,926
Fisk UniversityNo241$29,238
Freed-Hardeman UniversityYes3713989%$16,684
Johnson UniversityNo7128100%$15,639
King UniversityNo37%382495%$18,197
Lee UniversityYes294%214138100%$16,928
Lemoyne-Owen CollegeYes66$7,950
Lincoln Memorial UniversityYes166%74%15243100%$19,008
Lipscomb UniversityYes499%24165100%$25,050
Martin Methodist CollegeNo29%9%2315100%$19,394
Maryville CollegeNo266%92%4731100%$18,597
Memphis College of ArtNo$32,480
Middle Tennessee State UniversityYes249426196%$11,916
Millgan CollegeYes192%3535100%$20,546
Rhodes CollegeNo2$29,144
Southern Adventist UniversityYes47%49%9630100%$21,511
Tennessee State UniversityYes315%34%282287%$10,325
Tennessee Technological UniversityYes263%4%47225098%$14,702
Tennessee Wesleyan UniversityNo237%3723100%$12,557
Trevecca Nazerene UniversityYes267%19521100%$19,480
Tusculum CollegeNo266%37%627696%$16,881
Union UniversityYes4557999%$25,162
University of MemphisYes388%4007385%$13,663
University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaYes242614296%$14,706
University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleYes3387162100%$20,995
University of Tennessee-MartinYes215711999%$11,034
Vanderbilt UniversityNo323293100%$23,295
Welch CollegeNo178$20,776

The NCTQ rated undergraduate elementary teaching programs in 2016 and undergraduate secondary teaching programs in 2017 by national percentile based on their overall scores on the NCTQ’s standards for teacher education. Schools that do not provide data on all key standards or that fall below the top 50% of schools nationally are not included by the NCTQ in their ratings. Visit the NCTQ website for more information on its standards and methodologies.
**Net price is per year for undergraduate tuition as calculated by the National Center for Education Statistics based on the cost of attendance (tuition, books, room and board, and related expenses) for students who qualify for in-state tuition and fees, less the average financial aid award (including grants and scholarships).

Profiles of Well-Known Schools

University of Tennessee: Located in Knoxville, the University of Tennessee College of Education, Health ,and Human Services readies students who desire an education that focuses on giving back to individuals and community. Quite appropriate given the moniker of the University is “Volunteer.” The College contains several departments including the Department of Educational Counseling and Psychology, Educational Leadership and Policy and Theory and Practice in Education. Students are able to choose from nearly 100 majors in educationally related degree paths leading to diverse teaching careers such as k-6 education, middle education, secondary education, educational leadership, counseling, and information technology. The University Of Tennessee College Of Education, Health and Human Services is one of the largest on campus serving thousands of undergraduate and graduate students.

East Tennessee State University: Johnson City, Tennessee is home to Claudius Clemmer College of Education at East Tennessee State University. The College is known for graduating methodical and passionate educators due to their caring and competent faculty, outstanding student services, and innovative educational curriculum. Departments that make up the College of Education include Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, Human Development, and Learning, and Kinesiology, Leisure and Sports Sciences. The sign of a sound College of Education is its accreditation. The ETSU COE is accredited by several agencies and organizations including National Council of Teacher Education, Tennessee Department of Education, and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

Tusculum College: Located in Greeneville, Tusculum College offers four distinct Bachelor of Arts programs leading to teacher licensure: Pre-Secondary Education-Interdisciplinary Studies, Secondary Education, K-12 Education, and Special Education. Within each licensure path, students may select from content and specialist fields aligned with their career goals. Tusculum’s focused academic calendar aims to provide students with early and frequent practicum placements in area schools that help guide their academic and career choices. All education students complete an enhanced student teaching experience, which is one full semester incorporating full days of teaching and observation under the guidance of faculty and school district personnel. Tusculum College’s student-faculty ratio of 17 to 1 provides students with focused learning opportunities and strong faculty interaction, which is furthered by the school’s focused, block-style class scheduling. Students’ academic progress is closely monitored within the Professional Licensure Sequence with faculty reviews each semester.

Schools with Teaching Degree Programs in Tennessee

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Aquinas College-Nashville
4210 Harding Pike
Nashville, TN 37205
(615) 297-7545

Austin Peay State University
601 College St
Clarksville, TN 37044
(931) 221-7011

Belmont University
1900 Belmont Blvd
Nashville, TN 37212-3757
(615) 460-6000

Student Review: “My experience at Belmont University has been fantastic! I am a junior now but the past few years have been amazing here. Belmont has a really welcoming environment with many programs designed to bring people together and develop friendships. Belmont has also provided me with many opportunities to meet people in my field and getting to experience working in my field before I graduate.” -Frank S., student at Belmont University

Bethel College
325 Cherry Ave
McKenzie, TN 38201
(731) 352-4000

Bryan College-Dayton
721 Bryan Dr
Dayton, TN 37321-7000
(423) 775-2041

Carson-Newman College
1646 S Russell Ave
Jefferson City, TN 37760
(865) 471-2000

Cumberland University
One Cumberland Sq
Lebanon, TN 37087
(615) 444-2562

East Tennessee State University
807 University Pky
Johnson City, TN 37614-0000
(423) 439-1000

Student Review: “During my time in the Education Department at East Tennessee State University, I was met with a unique mix of professors and students. Most of the professors teaching our classes were very nice and knowledgeable in their specific subject area. Students were met with an interesting learning dilemma, however. Most professors, while knowledgeable and competent, had not been public school educators for a very long time. Some had taught in public schools very early in their career and had only taught in higher education since making them out of touch with the state of public education today. However, I was fortunate to learn a lot from each of them and appreciate my experiences there in the education department.” -Student at East Tennessee State University

Fisk University
1000 17th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37208-4501
(615) 329-8500

Lambuth University
705 Lambuth Boulevard
Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 425-2500

Le Moyne-Owen College
807 Walker Ave
Memphis, TN 38126-6595
(901) 435-1500

Lee University
1120 N Ocoee St
Cleveland, TN 37311
(423) 614-8000

Student Review: “The teacher education department at Lee University prepared me for the career of my dreams. The professors were not only wonderful in the classroom but supportive and caring outside the classroom. The College of Education provided a challenging program but gave me a wonderful preparation for my own class. Lee University worked to educate us not only professionally, but spiritually and personally. The Christian environment made the experience even better. They provided many opportunities for us to work in local school and classrooms to make sure we were prepared for the ‘real world.’ I would recommend the Lee University Education Program to anyone who dreams of being a teacher.” -Student at Lee University
Student Review: “My time in the education department at Lee University was exceptional. Each of my professors worked to ensure that I had the best possible experience. Their goal was to provide the training and education to make me the best possible teacher and person possible. I learned so much about education, but also about how to treat people. After completing my Methods courses and student teaching experiences, I was fully prepared to enter the world of education. They gave their students permission to try new things and work closely with our mentor teachers. I am so thankful for Lee University and the amazing professors. I have a job I love and am so fortunate to have the opportunity to be a mentor teacher to up and coming teachers.” -Student at Lee University

Lipscomb University
One University Park Dr
Nashville, TN 37204-3951
(615) 966-1000

Martin Methodist College
433 W Madison St
Pulaski, TN 38478-2799
(931) 363-9800

Maryville College
502 E Lamar Alexander Pky
Maryville, TN 37804-5907
(865) 981-8000

Middle Tennessee State University
1301 E Main St
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
(615) 898-2300

Student Review: “I had a wonderful experience at Middle Tennessee State University. It’s located in the heart of Murfreesboro, TN, about an hour outside Nashville, which makes it a lengthy drive to get to the nearest metropolitan area. Luckily there are plenty of things to do on campus, which I always appreciated. You could walk to class and pass a dozen booths for various organizations and activities. The biggest problem with MTSU is the parking situation. There aren’t nearly enough parking spots for students and the shuttles to class are small and arrive too infrequently to be useful. Otherwise, MTSU is a great experience. All of the professors I had were really helpful and always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that students got the most out of their classes. Middle Tennessee State University is small enough to give you a personalized experience but big enough to expose you to a wealth of new and exciting opportunities.” -Crystal C., student at Middle Tennessee State University

Milligan College
Milligan Hwy
Milligan College, TN 37682
(423) 461-8700

Southern Adventist University
4881 Taylor Cir
Collegedale, TN 37315-0370
(423) 236-2000

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Blvd
Nashville, TN 37209-1561
(615) 963-5111

Tennessee Technological University
1 William L. Jones Dr
Cookeville, TN 38505-0001
(931) 372-3223

Student Review: “I have been studying to become a certified teacher in middle schools, focusing on general science, at Tennessee Tech. Thus far, the program has exceeded my expectations. Tech is a fairly large school with a larger Teacher Certification program, and I was initially apprehensive that I would not receive enough individual support. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by how much individual attention students can get if they simply go that extra step to seek professors out. I have found that the professors for my program have what is essentially an open door policy. I have even dropped in for a chat or extra support when the professor’s office hours had passed. The friendly, approachable nature of the professors in my program have made all the difference to me. The one complaint I have is the lack of cutting edge technology use. We are preparing to teach in an age when technology will be increasingly used in classrooms, even in those with younger students. I would like to see a greater emphasis on learning to use the latest technology in our classrooms. This would better prepare me for the rapid developments in technology I will be faced with as a new teacher.” -Ashley W., student at Tennessee Technological University
Student Review: “I liked the actual educational courses pertaining to art, as it was relevant to the subject I wished to teach, but also because the professor was amazing. She knew how and why to teach art the way we should, and used hollistic approaches to art education. The classes were fun, while still learning valuable lessons in theories and methods of teaching visual art. My practicum and student teaching were wonderful experiences and helped me prepare to become a professional in the field after graduation. However, I cannot give 5 stars because the general education department gave me trouble in my last few years. They did not have clearly stated rules on what was to be accomplished before teaching, and thus caused me to be held back an extra semester. This meant more student loan debt, and loss of income from not being able to obtain a job. I fought to appeal this but was ignored or dismissed. Otherwise, if you’re interested in Art Education, this is a great place to be for both the educational and studio art courses and the professors who oversee them.” -Laura M., student at Tennessee Technological University
Student Review: “The education prep program at Tennessee Tech involved preliminary courses, certifications such as Praxis I and II, and student teaching. I liked how we had specific seminars that focused on the details and process of EdTPA and how approachable the Office of Teacher Ed staff were. This really streamlined the confusing and stressful EdTPA process. I disliked how the program struggled to meet the specific needs of music education students, as our course and residency experience is quite different. I also felt that while the staff were always approachable, there could have been better communication from them about specific deadlines and requirements. I think that a focus on specialized education prep for music, art, PE, and other specialized teachers would have improved the program drastically. More communication between the administrators from the Office of Teacher Ed and the different departments would streamline the process and would likely result in a program tailored to the specific needs that art, music, and gym teachers face.” -Student at Tennessee Technological University

Tennessee Temple University
1815 Union Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37404
(423) 493-4100

Tennessee Wesleyan University
204 East College St
Athens, TN 37303
(423) 745-7504

The University of Tennessee
Circle Park
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-1000

Student Review: “My university is extremely unique in that the education program requires me to get a major in arts and science, and then a minor in elementary education. From that minor, I went on to the teaching program in graduate school for a year. During that school year, I interned for a full year at a local school, which allowed me to get a second year teaching salary. I really liked this because it allowed me to have an “option” to fall back on if teaching did not work out. I also had numerous advising sessions with my elementary education advisor. Both the teaching program and psychology program were amazing. There is absolutely nowhere I would have rather earned a degree from than the University of Tennessee.” -Student at University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
615 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
(423) 425-4111

The University of Tennessee-Martin
University St
Martin, TN 38238-5021
(731) 881-7000

Trevecca Nazarene University
333 Murfreesboro Rd
Nashville, TN 37210
(615) 248-1200

Tusculum College
60 Shiloh Rd
Greeneville, TN 37743
(423) 636-7300

Union University
1050 Union University Dr
Jackson, TN 38305-3697
(731) 668-1818

University of Memphis
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000

Student Review: “My program at the University of Memphis was a very academically challenging and rigorous series of classes. Much of the workload included managing the classroom, budgeting materials, and how to work with inner-city youth and impoverished children. Which, to be honest, I was worried about because I had no experience in the area. However, after two semesters I found that the same best practices used with those children I was able to apply to all kids. Also, the student teaching experience gave me the opportunity to branch out and understand what skills I would have working with a class full of kids. The only thing I would change is the minor needed. I felt that it was just extra busy work for the institution.” -Aaron J., student at University of Memphis

Vanderbilt University
2101 West End Av
Nashville, TN 37240
(615) 322-7311

Welch College
1045 Bison Tr
Gallatin, TN 37066
(615) 675-5255

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Kiplinger’s Best College Values: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. US News & World Report Best Graduate Education Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings
5. US News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Schools 2019: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/rankings
6. Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP): http://caepnet.org/provider-search
7. Tennessee State Board of Education 2016 Tennessee Teacher Preparation Report Card: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/stateboardofeducation/documents/teacherprep/2016/2016_Tennessee_State_Report.pdf
8. National Council on Teacher Quality Teacher Preparation Program Review: https://www.nctq.org/review/home
8. US Department of Education 2018 Title II Reports: https://title2.ed.gov/Public/Home.aspx