Steps Leading to Teacher Licensure

There are several phases and stages involved in becoming a licensed teacher. All of this does not happen at once. The following table summarizes the major steps through which a student progresses to become a candidate for teacher licensure. The table is designed to offer a step-by-step process from Southwest Tennessee Community College to transfer to the four-year institution of your choice.

Year of College Major Questions/Task
Step One: "Making Key Decisions"
  • What are my educational goals at Southwest?
  • What age or grade level of students would I like to teach?
  • Select a degree program of study
  • Discovering whether I really want to be a teacher
Step Two: "Making the Commitment"
  • Maintain a competitive GPA, no less than 2.5
  • Prepare for transfer (transcript analysis, application, etc.).
  • Prepare to take the Praxis I: PPST Test
  • Prepare for admission to the Teacher Education Program (TEP)
  • Select a major (for the transfer institution)
Step Three: "Making the Grade"
  • Maintain documents for teaching portfolio
  • Maintain competitive GPA no less than 2.5
Step Four: "You Made It!"
  • Student teaching placement
  • Degree completion
  • Prepare to take the Praxis II test
  • Licensure Recommendation

Step One: "Making Key Decisions"

In the beginning of your educational journey, you are faced with several critical decisions. The first pertains to your educational goals at Southwest. Many students attend Southwest either:

  1. to pursue a certificate or Associates Degree (i.e. Associate of Arts in Education), or
  2. to take classes for transfer to the four year institution of their choice

If you are interested in attaining an Associates degree, you are required to complete coursework meeting the requirements for graduation. If you are interested in taking courses for transfer purposes only, you should ensure the class you take are transferable to the college or university of your choice. For the most part, any non-remedial, academic course from an accredited institution in which you have earned a grade of "C" or better will be accepted for transfer.

Southwest offers two Associate Degree programs for education majors interested in K–12 education. The main factor differentiating the Associate of Arts in Education program of study from the Associate of Science in Education program of study is the inclusion of a foreign language requirement (Spanish I and II) in the Associate of Arts program.

Step One is also an excellent time to take EDUC 1010, Introduction to Education, which introduces you to various aspects of the teaching profession – history, philosophy, current practices and issues, and the future of the education profession. EDUC 1010 will also require an early field experience with the Junior Achievement Corporation of Memphis that can help clarify your desire and commitment to the teaching profession.

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Step Two: "Making the Commitment"

You are now committed to becoming a licensed teacher and should have an idea of the four-year institution in which you wish to transfer. You are ready to take the steps to prepare for admission to the Undergraduate Teacher Education Program (TEP). Students must apply for admission to the TEP Programs at their respective four-year institution. Students may be required to pass all Praxis I tests with minimum required scores or document a composite score of 22 or above on the Enhanced ACT.

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Stage Three: "Making the Grade"

Most TEP Programs require students to create and submit a teaching portfolio as part of the licensure program requirements. As you take your general education and upper division education courses, keep papers and projects from classes. Students should strongly consider keeping a scrapbook of mementos, pictures, and student work of their field experiences. Always think and plan ahead about your teaching portfolio.

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Stage Four: "You Made it!"

At this stage, you complete your student teaching semesters, which requires a full-time commitment to teaching in the school where you are placed. Most student teaching experiences are accompanied by a professional development seminar. During this semester you are advised to take the Praxis II tests and make the finishing touches to your portfolio. With the proper assessment records, successful Praxis II scores, and a transcript showing the degree you have completed, you are eligible to be recommended for the Apprentice License offered by the State of Tennessee.

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PPST, Praxis I, and Praxis II are registered trademarks of Education Testing Service.