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.

Table of Contents

Quick Facts

For not-for-profit schools with teacher degree programs.

Comparison of Tennessee Schools with Teacher Preparation Programs

We have designed the following table to help you compare teacher preparation programs in Tennessee according to various factors. All of the schools included are not-for-profit institutions approved by the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) 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, it is included in the following table as CAEP provides a highly-regarded accreditation that is accepted in many states.

You will also find data on teacher preparation program enrollment, completion, and licensing exam pass rates by institution, for both traditional and alternative programs, for the 2019-2020 academic year in this table. These data points are collected from annual US Department of Education reports under Title II (Teacher Quality) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which holds institutions and state departments of education accountable for increasing academic achievement through improvements in teacher quality. Traditional teacher preparation programs are usually completed as part of a bachelor’s degree program. Alternative certification programs are typically designed for career changers looking to enter the field and lead to a postgraduate certificate or a master’s degree. Many schools in our table offer both traditional and alternative programs. Take a look at our Tennessee traditional and alternative certification guides for more information.

Finally, we have provided the net price per year for undergraduate tuition, 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).

State-Approved SchoolCAEP Accred.?5Trad. Teacher Program Enrollment6Trad. Teacher Prep Prog. Completers6Trad. Licensing Exams Pass Rate6Alt. Teacher Program Enrollment6Alt. Teacher Prep Prog. Completers6Alt. Licensing Exams Pass Rate6Net Price1
Aquinas CollegeNo1910100%22N.Av.N.Av.
Austin Peay State UniversityYes37811096%7017100%$14,967
Belmont UniversityYes2303884%154N.Av.$34,368
Bethel UniversityNo33455%13150%$15,612
Bryan CollegeNo472165%$15,988
Carson-Newman UniversityYes11644100%6419100%$19,172
Christian Brothers UniversityYes166100%3013100%$17,830
Cumberland UniversityNo832185%561787%$27,071
East Tennessee State UniversityYes36017094%7$13,661
Fisk UniversityNo2$21,450
Freed-Hardeman UniversityYes2234280%11515100%$17,350
Johnson UniversityNo9432N.Av.$18,292
King UniversityNo563196%22N.Av.$22,020
Lane CollegeNo$13,811
Lee UniversityYes18428100%46100%$17,629
Lemoyne-Owen CollegeYes1581N.Av.$7,721
Lincoln Memorial UniversityYes14352100%1$22,251
Lipscomb UniversityYes3015298%29762100%$26,421
Maryville CollegeNo732076%$19,548
Middle Tennessee State UniversityYes63221786%16544100%$12,265
Milligan UniversityYes4821100%52N.Av.$21,003
Rhodes CollegeNo197N.Av.$29,852
Southern Adventist UniversityYes10018100%$24,491
Tennessee State UniversityYes411882%296N.Av.$11,139
Tennessee Technological UniversityYes80420496%10815100%$16,618
Tennessee Wesleyan UniversityNo521894%$13,183
Trevecca Nazarene UniversityYes18823100%401395%$16,508
Tusculum UniversityNo1665674%301373%$17,987
Union UniversityYes1054896%792396%$26,906
University of MemphisYes2677398%2107396%$13,777
University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaYes29210699%1414N.Av.$14,888
University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleYes50913995%5513100%$21,133
University of Tennessee-MartinYes1729592%954391%$11,895
University of Tennessee SouthernNo201573%$20,324
Vanderbilt UniversityYes24610397%1$25,804
Welch CollegeNo286N.Av.164N.Av.$21,142

  • — indicates none or not applicable.
  • N.Av. indicates data was not available or pass rates were omitted for confidentiality.

Top-Ranked Schools with Education Programs in Tennessee

Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Education Majors 2022

  • Vanderbilt University

US News & World Report’s Best Graduate Education Programs 2023

  • Vanderbilt University (#5 tie)
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#54 tie)
  • University of Memphis (#121 tie)
  • Middle Tennessee State University (#168 tie)
  • Tennessee Technological University (#188 tie)
  • Carson-Newman University (#207-274)
  • East Tennessee State University (#207-274)
  • Lincoln Memorial University (#207-274)
  • Trevecca Nazarene University (#207-274)

US News & World Report’s Best Online Master’s in Education Programs 2022

  • University of Memphis (#102 tie)
  • Carson-Newman University (#130 tie)
  • University of Tennessee-Martin (#192 tie)
  • Austin Peay State University (#214 tie)
  • Tennessee Technological University (#214 tie)
  • East Tennessee State University (#242-321)
  • Union University (#242-321)
  • University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#242-321)

Select Tennessee Schools with Teacher Preparation Degrees

East Tennessee State University

Johnson City is home to the Clemmer College of Education at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). Undergraduate students may choose from programs including a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Development (licensure and non-licensure tracks), a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) in Elementary Education, and a BS in Special Education. Students interested in Secondary Education must complete a minor within the Clemmer College and can earn their bachelor’s degree in the teaching subject area of choice. Graduate programs include a licensure-track and non-licensure Master of Arts (MA) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Early Childhood Education, a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education, and an M.Ed., an Educational Specialist (EdS), or Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Leadership with concentrations in Administrative Endorsement, Higher Education Leadership, or School Leadership.

Tusculum University

Located in Greeneville, Tusculum University offers teacher preparation programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Tusculum offers three Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees: a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (the basic teacher licensure program, through which students select their concentration area), a BA in Physical Education, and a BA in Special Education. Both the BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and Special Education are offered through Tusculum’s Adult & Online Studies program and are available fully online. For graduate students who wish to obtain initial teaching licensure, there is an accelerated Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). Tusculum also offers several fully-online master’s programs: a Master of Arts (MA) in Organizational Training & Performance Management; an MA in Education in Curriculum & Instruction; and an MA in Education in Special Education.

University of Tennessee-Knoxville

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UT) is the flagship campus of UT and home to the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, and the Bailey Graduate School of Education. Undergraduate programs include a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Early Childhood Education (also offered online) and a Bachelor of Music (BM) in Music Education. There are also specialized programs in both Special Education and Early Childhood Education (PreK-3) that allow students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in only five years. UT also offers a unique program for undergraduates studying math, science, or engineering, in which they can prepare for initial teaching licensure while they earn their bachelor’s degree. At the graduate and doctoral levels, UT offers a wide range of programs including a Master of Science (MS), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Education (EdD) in Educational Administration, an online MS in Adult Education, and an MS in Teacher Education with a variety of subject areas leading to initial licensure.

Schools with Associate Degrees in Education

While a bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational level required to qualify for state certification, an associate’s degree can be the first step towards a career in education. It can qualify graduates for careers in non-licensed roles in early childhood education, after-school care, and related areas. The credits earned from an accredited associate degree program can also typically be transferred towards a bachelor’s degree. The following Alabama schools offer associate’s degrees in education.1 Schools with an asterisk (*) also offer four-year teaching programs and/or alternative route to certification programs.

Chattanooga State Community College
4501 Amnicola Hwy
Chattanooga, TN 37406
(423) 697-4400

Columbia State Community College
1665 Hampshire Pike
Columbia, TN 38401
(931) 540-2722

Cumberland University*
1 Cumberland Square
Lebanon, TN 37087
(615) 444-2562

Dyersburg State Community College
1510 Lake Rd
Dyersburg, TN 38024
(731) 286-3200

Jackson State Community College
840 Pickwick St
Savannah, TN 38372
(731) 925-5722

Johnson University*
7900 Johnson Dr
Knoxville, TN 37998
(865) 573-4517

Motlow State Community College
6015 Ledford Mill Rd
Tullahoma, TN 37388
(931) 393-1500

Nashville State Community College
120 White Bridge Rd
Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 353-3333

Northeast State Community College
2425 TN-75
Blountville, TN 37617
(423) 323-3191

Pellissippi State Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Rd
Knoxville, TN 37932
(865) 694-6400

Roane State Community College
276 Patton Ln
Harriman, TN 37748
(865) 354-3000

Southern Adventist University*
4881 Taylor Cir
Collegedale, TN 37315
(800) 768-8437

Southwest Tennessee Community College
737 Union Ave
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 333-5000

Volunteer State Community College
1480 Nashville Pike
Gallatin, TN 37066
(615) 452-8600

Walters State Community College
500 S Davy Crockett Pkwy
Morristown, TN 37813
(423) 585-2600

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

Student Reviews

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.

Belmont University
1900 Belmont Blvd
Nashville, TN 37212
(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

East Tennessee State University
807 University Pky
Johnson City, TN 37614
(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

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

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

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

University of Memphis
3720 Alumni Ave
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

University of Tennessee
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

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2022 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2021.
3. US News & World Report Best Graduate Education Schools 2023: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings
4. US News & World Report Best Online Graduate Education Schools 2022: https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/education/rankings
5. Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP): http://caepnet.org/provider-search
6. US Department of Education 2021 Title II Report: https://title2.ed.gov/Public/Home.aspx