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.


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).


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

  1. fulfill all course requirements on the Teaching and Learning track of the Educational Studies Major,
  2. pass any state-required assessments in your content area,
  3. 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 these three tasks. We cannot recommend you for licensure unless you complete all three 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 . 


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.