Teacher Licensure

Education majors on the Teaching and Learning Track may choose to pursue teacher licensure through Rhodes College. The licensure program prepares students to teach in either elementary schools or in middle and high schools in one of thirteen endorsement areas: American Government, English, History, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, French, German, Latin, Russian, and Chinese. All secondary licensure candidates are required to double major in Educational Studies and their endorsement discipline. Elementary licensure does not require a double major.

Licensure Requirements

To complete the teacher licensure program at Rhodes College, you will need to

  1. apply and be admitted to the program,
  2. fulfill all course requirements on the Teaching and Learning track of the Educational Studies Major,
  3. pass any state-required assessments/benchmarks in your content area, including the edTPA and either content assessments or a major in your content area,
  4. and complete a semester of student teaching.

Rhodes College is approved by the state to recommend candidates for a "traditional practitioner's license" when they have completed all of these tasks. We cannot recommend you for licensure unless you complete all tasks. The license you receive from Rhodes College will allow you to immediately begin teaching in a public school classroom anywhere in the state of Tennessee (or transfer the license to another state, see under FAQ below). You will be fully credentialed and have the opportunity to advance your license . 


Majors considering licensure should go ahead and apply in the fall semester of their junior year after declaring their major. Application to the teacher licensure program requires three things:

  1. Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater (see FAQ below if your GPA is below 3.0)
  2. One of the following:
  3. Complete this form (We are required to collect certain information about all candidates entering our program. Expect the form to take 20 minutes to complete).

*If you applied to Rhodes as a test-optional student, you will need to have your official score report sent to Rhodes. For the ACT, the cost (as of 10/26/2023) is $18.50 (plus an additional $30 for scores more than two years old). For families earning under a certain threshold, the fee is waived. For the SAT, there is also a fee.

Recommended Educational Studies Course Sequence

Below is a recommended course sequence for licensure candidates completing the Teaching and Learning track of the Rhodes education major

  Fall Semester Spring Semester
Years 1 & 2

EDUC 201 - Foundations

EDUC Philosophy, Policy, & Equity Elective

EDUC 222 - Educational Psychology

EDUC Philosophy, Policy, & Equity Elective

Junior Year

EDUC 355 - Curriculum and Instruction

EDUC 360 - Clinical Field Experience

EDUC 310 - Reading, Writing, & Urban Schools

EDUC 300 - Educational Technologies

EDUC 360 - Clinical Field Experience

Senior Year

EDUC 370/380/390/LANG 240

   - Content Area Methods

EDUC 360 - Clinical Field Experience

EDUC 485 - Education Senior Seminar

EDUC 410 - Inclusive Education

EDUC 360 - Clinical Field Experience

EDUC 450 - edTPA Preparation

9th Semester EDUC 499 - Clinical Field Practice  

Candidates can accommodate a semester of study abroad while graduating and completing the licensure program on time if they meet with their educational studies advisor shortly after major declarations. The longer candidates wait to make these plans with their educational studies advisor, the more difficult it becomes to accommodate study abroad in their schedule.

Because teacher licensure requires students to complete a semester of clinical field practice (a.k.a student teaching) in addition to degree and major requirements, most students will graduate at the end of their senior year and return to Rhodes for a postbaccalaureate  "ninth semester" to complete student teaching. Some candidates, particularly candidates pursuing an elementary education K-5 endorsement, may be able to complete their degree and major requirements by the end of their seventh semester and student teach in their eighth semester, but interested candidates should discuss this possibility with their educational studies advisor shortly after major declarations. Because teacher candidates pursuing a secondary teaching license must earn an additional major in their content area, it is more difficult to complete all degree and major requirements by the end of the seventh semester to accommodate completing the licensure program in the eighth semester.

Clinical Field Practice (EDUC 499)

Candidates enroll in Clinical Field Practice once they have completed all other requirements for the major, EDUC 450 - edTPA Prep, and either content assessments or a major in your content area. (This does not include the edTPA assessment itself, which candidates will complete in conjunction with their student teaching.) Additionally, candidates must complete this form, reflecting on their growth as it pertains to the critical dispositions assessed at the end of each Clinical Field Experience, in order to enroll in Clinical Field Practice. Candidates enrolling in the eighth semester should complete the form immediately upon the conclusion of the seventh semester, and candidates enrolling in the ninth semester should complete the form at the beginning of the summer break.

There is a flat tuition charge of $7500 for students completing Clinical Field Practice in the ninth semester. Students may receive a need-based award proportional to their institutional aid/tuition received as an undergraduate up to the maximum of the Licensure Program tuition charge of $7500.

  • Students must have completed a FAFSA in their last year as an undergraduate student attending Rhodes.
  • Students must have an EFC in their last year of undergraduate work less than $65000 to be considered for this need based award. 
  • Non-Citizens are exempt from completing the FAFSA however the school may require a CSS PROFILE on file to determine need. 
  • Students must complete a ninth semester aid request. Under "Reason for pursuing a ninth semester" select "Other" and under "Additional Semester Justification" note that you are enrolled in the Teacher Licensure Program.

Qualifying students who have proportional aid in excess 100% may apply for a Rhodes Campus Housing Grant. If a student whose institution aid exceeds tuition/fees charges lives on campus, we could consider awarding beyond the $7500.

Upon completing student teaching, candidates must complete an Exit Survey. Candidates must also request an official transcript be sent directly to the Teacher Licensure Coordinator, either in sealed envelope or electronically. When the Teacher Licensure Coordinator receives all test scores and transcript, the recommendation for licensure will be processed. Candidates should ensure they have registered an account at TNCompass where they will be prompted to complete some tasks before the recommendation will be sent to the state for processing.

Financial Aid

In addition to the institutional aid listed above, we are eager to support teacher candidates in securing additional financial aid.

  • Rhodes College has a Noyce Program for STEM students that provides significant financial support in candidates junior and senior years.
  • The state of Tennessee has a Minority Teaching Fellows Program that awards $5000 per year for eligible students. 


What if I don't meet the requirements for admission into the program?

Candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements may be able to be admitted on appeals. Admission on appeals is allowed for the GPA but not for the Praxis Core, ACT, or SAT requirement. In lieu of a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the college, candidates can be admitted if they have a 3.0 GPA for courses in the educational studies major. Candidates who do not have a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the college do not have to do anything special to be admitted on appeals. The Teacher Licensure Coordinator will automatically review transcript information and determine eligibility.

What if I want to teach in a state other than Tennessee?

Licensure to teach is a function of state governments. Institutions and agencies that offer licensure are approved by their respective state departments and boards of education. Tennessee licensure is transferable to all 50 states; some states may require additional exams or content. A guide to certification reciprocity is available through Certification Map. Students wishing to teach in other states are advised to review the licensure requirements on the appropriate state's department of education website.

Can I get paid while student teaching?

Unfortunately, no. Rhodes College is approved to recommend candidates for a "traditional practitioner's license." To earn this license, students must complete 15 weeks of supervised student teaching. There are alternative licenses (e.g., emergency permit) or pathways to licensure (e.g. job-embedded), but the Teacher Licensure Program at Rhodes College is not compatible with these alternative licenses or pathways to licensure. A local recruiter might suggest that Rhodes College can "sponsor" you under an emergency permit or as a job-embedded candidate, but our program cannot do this. You must complete 15 weeks of supervised student teaching before Rhodes College can recommend you to licensure.

Why doesn't Rhodes College have a job-embedded pathway to teacher licensure?

Traditionally, educators earned their teacher license by enrolling in a teacher licensure program in college. As the need for licensed educators has outpaced the number of college students pursuing teacher licensure, states have created alternative pathways to teacher licensure. These alternative pathways are designed for individuals who have already completed college to acquire the skills and credentials necessary to teach. Some college students find these pathways to licensure tempting because they allow them to enter the classroom without spending a semester in student teaching. These kinds of job-embedded programs come in a couple of different forms, and you should be aware of some of the drawbacks associated with these programs when compared with our traditional student-teaching pathway:

  1. Some are master's degrees which allow you to teach while working toward your degree. This can be challenging for first-year teachers to balance the responsibilities of teaching with the responsibilities of master's-level course work (course work that will replicate the pedagogical instruction you will have already received as an Educational Studies major at Rhodes College). These programs will typically require students to pay tuition that far exceeds the cost of one semester of student teaching at Rhodes College.
  2. Some are residency programs run by colleges or organizations. While these programs do not have any tuition requirements, they typically require multi-year teaching commitments at a particular location, typically require training in addition to teaching responsibilities, some will require you to relocate to a high-needs area of their choosing, and some are faith-based organizations that require their candidates to espouse a particular faith and code of conduct. These programs require training/work in addition to teaching responsibilities, provide less autonomy and/or are less accommodating of diverse beliefs/lifestyles than the Teacher Licensure program at Rhodes College.

The Teacher Licensure program at Rhodes College is the most affordable, most autonomous, and most identity-affirming route for Educational Studies majors at Rhodes College to earn their teacher license. Unlike these other pathways, you will have no additional responsibilities in your first years of teaching. You will also experience an easier transition into full-time teaching as a result of your fifteen weeks of supervised clinical practice during student teaching. Finally, teachers who go through this traditional pathway regularly outperform teachers who pursue alternative pathways to licensure. For example, all candidates for the 2022 Teacher of the Year in Tennessee were trained through this traditional pathway.