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Undergraduate Students

Initial Licensure

The following procedures for applying to the Teacher Education Program are for current University of Tennessee undergraduate students or undergraduate transfer students interested in becoming a licensed teacher, who have not yet completed a baccalaureate degree. Please note, these programs are not offered online.

Most prospective teachers will begin the application process by scheduling an advising appointment with a licensure advisor in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. UTK offers a variety of teacher licensure program options, some of which are four years and some of which are five years. It is important to plan early and meet with your academic advisor on a regular basis to ensure you are meeting all requirements in a timely manner. You can schedule an advising appointment online or call 865-974-8194. Please review the academic programs to be prepared to discuss your possible area of study with your advisor at this appointment.

If you are interested in applying to teacher education programs outside of CEHHS (Music Education, or Agriculture Education) please make sure you have been in contact with a faculty advisor within that program.

Additionally, our PreK-K and PreK-3 programs have additional application requirements for the Child and Family Studies Department; please make sure you have been in contact with a faculty advisor from that Department before completing your application.

Teacher Licensure Program Options


GPA: Per Tennessee State Board of Education policy, GPA should be 2.75 or above to apply for admissions to teacher education. If you are unsure whether your GPA meets the minimum requirement, please contact your advisor or  If your GPA is below a 2.75 but you are passionate about becoming a teacher, you are encouraged to apply as exceptions can be made in select cases.

Standardized Tests: Per Tennessee State Board of Education policy, those applying for admission to undergraduate teacher education programs should have an ACT Composite – 21 or SAT Verbal & Math – 1080.  If you do not have proof of minimum ACT or SAT but are passionate about becoming a teacher, you are encouraged to apply as exceptions can be made in select cases.



Additional Requirements: Minimum credit hours, and required courses completed, including AP and transfer, vary according to program area. Please check with advisor and/or review the academic programs for your program area for further details.

Academic Programs

Transfer or Returning Students: If you are not a current UTK student, you must be admitted to the University before your admission to Teacher Education is finalized. Candidates may choose to apply to UTK at this time. Check with your advisor regarding classification as an undergraduate or a graduate student before submitting an application to the University. Admission to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, does not guarantee admission to teacher education. However, admission to UTK is required before full admission to a teacher education program is official. For more information about UTK admission, please click here.

Use the link provided below to submit your initial application to Teacher Education. This form begins your application process, and simply asks for personal and contact information.

  • Teacher Education Application – June 17-August 6
  • Fall 2024 Admission Board Review Period: October 1-October 31
  • Spring 2025 Admission Board Review Period: April 1-April 30
  • Summer 2024 Admission Board Review Period: TBA

UT expects that the teacher candidate maintains Professional Competencies, Attitudes, and Dispositions (ProCADs) identified as essential to the teaching profession.  More information on the ProCADs expected of all teacher candidates can be found HERE.

An essential part of our application process is evaluating the ProCADs of our prospective students. The form below asks for your self-evaluation as well as three short-response questions:

  1. Why do you think you could become a successful teacher/education?
  2. Why have you chosen to enter this particular field or program area of teaching/education?
  3. What experiences have you had with children and/or youth?

Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 49-5-5610 requires all students who wish to be admitted to teacher preparation programs to:

  • Sign an authorization and release form authorizing a qualified Tennessee licensed private investigation company by and on behalf of the board to complete a criminal history records check, and;
  • Agree to the release of all investigative records to the administrator of the selected teacher training program, and;
  • Supply a fingerprint sample and submit to a criminal history records check to be conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Please follow the steps below in order to properly complete the background check portion of the Teacher Education application. If you have any questions about this process, please contact


  1. Complete the Background Check Authorization Form: 

You will not be able to submit the Authorization Form without uploading the VECHS Waiver. Instructions are in the linked above (TBI VECHS Waiver).

  • Please list your Current Address And Your Permanent Address. We understand that the information may be duplicated. 
    • A CURRENT Address is where you currently live (Ex: UT Campus Dorm, Apartment or Home in the state of TN while attending the University of Tennessee).
    • A PERMANENT Address is where you can be reached all the time. (Ex: Address listed on your driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Summer applicants, please check with your advisor before completing this form to sure you are listing the proper address.


  1. Complete the Fingerprint Process
    • Instructions for this will be emailed to you when you have properly submitted the Background Authorization form along with the uploaded VECHS Waiver. 

Your application is not complete until UT receives your background clearance. Please complete this process at least four weeks prior to the application deadline. An interview board appointment will not be scheduled until your background clearance is received. If clearance is not received prior to the application deadline this applicant must wait until the following semester (November or April) to reapply.

Please note there is a cost associated with completing your background check. You should confirm minimum requirements have been met for the Teacher Education Program before completing the background check and paying the associated fees. For questions regarding minimum requirements, please contact your education advisor. If you have questions regarding the fingerprint process, please contact

NOTE: If you are an out-of-state applicant and not admitted or currently enrolled at the University of Tennessee, please contact Bailey School of Education at for directions specific to your state to complete the background check.


Following the application deadline, you will be notified via email of your application status.

If all requirements for admission are completed by the application deadline, and if you meet the minimum requirements your application will be reviewed by a Board of Admission for your program area.

If all requirements for admission are not completed, or if you do not meet the minimum requirements for admission to Teacher Education, you will be contacted via email regarding how to proceed with your application.  You will be given an opportunity to respond, as sometimes additional information is all that is needed to clear up a hold on your application. If you are unable to resolve the issue for the current application cycle, we recommend that you work with your advisor to resolve the issue before the next application cycle.

All decisions regarding admission to the Teacher Education Program are made by the Boards of Admission. Following the completion of all board reviews, you will be notified of your admission status via email.

Once admitted to the Teacher Education Program, you will be approved to register for restricted teacher education coursework. If you are a transfer student, you must also finalize your admission to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Admission to the Teacher Education program cannot be finalized until you are officially a UTK student.

If you are not admitted, you may choose to take feedback from your Board of Admission and re-apply next semester. Some of our most successful Teacher Education Program students have applied more than once with an admissions board to gain entry into the program. There is no stigma associated with applying multiple times. The process for re-application is similar to the process for original application to teacher education, with the exception that you may be exempt from repeating the fingerprinting/background check. You will need to contact the Bailey Graduate School of Education ( regarding a potential exemption from this requirement.


Once the applicant is formally admitted to the Teacher Education Program, the initial professional education courses must be completed. To advance to the internship year or student teaching, the teacher candidate must complete required coursework and must maintain good standing. The teacher candidate must maintain a 2.75 GPA, and 2.80 GPA in professional education courses. A grade of “C” or above must be received in all professional education courses.

Additionally, the teacher candidate must display the professional competencies, attitudes, and dispositions (ProCADs) expected of the teaching profession.