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Initial Licensure

If you have already obtained your bachelor’s degree and are looking to return to school to earn your teaching license,

there are two programs you can consider:

  • The Job Embedded Practitioner Program, or
  • The Post-Baccalaureate Internship

The Job Embedded Practitioner Program allows you to concurrently earn a Master’s degree while serving (and getting paid) as a Teacher of Record in a partnering school. For most students this is a two year program, with most courses taken during the summers as the academic years are spent teaching. You have the option to begin your courses prior to being hired as a teacher, however, you MUST be hired as a teacher and complete at least one year teaching full-time in order to complete this program. Courses for this program are offered 100% online and at times that accommodate a teacher’s work schedule. If you are interested in applying for the Job Embedded Practitioner Program, please click here.

Post-Baccalaureate Internship programs allow you to concurrently earn a Master’s degree while serving as an intern under the supervision of a highly skilled Mentor Teacher in a local school. For most students this is a two-year program; the first year consists of UTK coursework and the second year is the professional, mentored internship experience. Courses for this program are mostly offered on-campus, in the face-to-face setting. If you are interested in applying to the Post-Baccalaureate Internship Program, please see the application process below:

An applicant must submit a Post-Baccalaureate Review Request with appropriate documentation, to the Office of Teacher Licensure,  A teacher licensure advisor will review the request and conduct a course-by-course transcript evaluation to determine the eligibility of the applicant. A cumulative minimum GPA of 2.75 on a scale of 4.0 is required for admission to the post-baccalaureate program. The applicant must also have a minimum 2.50 GPA in the teaching/subject area. All coursework, undergraduate and graduate, is taken into consideration when determining the GPA. If the applicant is eligible for admission to the program, courses will be recommended to make up any general education or content area deficiencies. This plan of study will be emailed to the applicant.

If you have completed an international degree, we must also have on file a review of your transcripts by one of the following companies. These are the companies that the Tennessee Department of Education currently recognizes:

• World Evaluation Services
• Josef Silney
• Association of International Credential Evaluator (AICE)
• Academic Credentials Evaluation Institution (ACEI)
• American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admission Officers (AACRAO)
• Foreign Consultants Inc.
• Evaluation Services Inc.
• Foundation for International Service
• Global Credential Evaluators
• IERF: International Education Research Foundation
• ECE: Educational Credential Evaluations

Upon receiving the plan of study, the applicant may then meet with Lisa Emery through the Office of Professional Licensure.  Please email to set up that appointment.

At this appointment, you will want to make sure you meet the minimum program requirements. Meeting these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to a teacher education program. If your transcripts are not on file with the UTK system, you are required to provide copies. You may email PDF copies to

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, GPA, and required courses completed, including AP and transfer, vary according to program area. Please check with Lisa Emery and/or review the Academic Programs for your program area for further details.

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 2022 Admission Board Review Period: Oct. 1-October 31
  • Spring 2023 Admission Board Review Period: April 1-April 30

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. Completing the link below is required of all prospective applicants. This 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/educator?
  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 you will be contacted to schedule an interview with 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 with a detailed account of the deficiency of your application.  You will be given an opportunity to respond to this deficiency, as sometimes additional information is all that is needed to clear up a hold on  your application. If you are unable to resolve the deficiency for the current application cycle, we recommend that you work with your advisor to resolve the issue before the next application cycle.

Below is a checklist to determine if you have completed all requirements:

Teacher Education Program Application Checklist

All decisions regarding admission to teacher education are made by a Board of Admission. Your interview with a board is, therefore, of great importance to your prospective admission to teacher education. Please review the following document for suggestions for a successful board interview:

Boards of Admission Interview Guidance

Interviews will take place the first two weeks in April for Spring semesters, and the first two weeks in November for Fall semesters.

All decisions regarding admission to the Teacher Education Program are made by the Boards of Admission. Following the completion of all board interviews, you will be notified of your admission status via email. If you are recommended for admission, you will receive instructions to complete the mandatory Child Protection Training. Upon completion, you will receive an official admission letter 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 interviewed 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. If you have questions regarding this, please email

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.

Teacher Education interns will hold the Practitioner license for both their internship year as well as their first full two years of teaching beyond the internship.