Teaching Here

Why Choose Memphis?

A headshot of a young African American man with a grey blazer, pink shirt and blue bowtie.
Gabe Fotsing (Mississippi Delta ’10) Founder & CEO, The College Initiative

The people in Memphis have a certain rare quality of combining passion and conviction in everything that they do, and it is absolutely contagious.

A headshot of a young African American woman wearing a yellow blazer and turquoise blouse.
Allison Gibbs (Memphis '11) Director of Programs and Operations, Just City

Memphis invests heavily in the development and retention of its young talent. There are few cities where a young professional can learn, grown, and lead in their industry like they can in Memphis.

A headshot of a young Asian American man with his hand raised.
Peter Tang, Tennessee Educator Fellowship Coordinator, Tennessee SCORE

As we all know, getting to One Day is as much about what happens in classrooms as it is outside of them. I think affording teachers an opportunity to engage in both, particularly teachers who entered the profession through traditional pathways, is critical for sustaining the positive changes in Tennessee.

Becoming Certified to Teach

  • Overview
  • What are the requirements for a TN Practitioner License?
  • What happens to my license after Teach For America – Memphis recommends me as completed to the TN Department of Education (TN DOE) and I finish the two-year program?
  • Will transcripts without a degree conferral date be accepted?
  • If I already have my license or am currently enrolled in a certification program, do I still need to use TFA Memphis to become licensed to teach in TN?
  • If I already took state exams in another state (possibly for my degree), would I still need to take Praxis II exams in order to teach in TN?
  • My overall GPA is below a 2.75. Can I still be a Memphis corps member and licensed in TN?
  • Is it possible to complete a master's degree at the end of the two years?
  • Is a master's degree required?
  • Partner Universities

In 2010, the Tennessee Department of Education chose to recognize Teach For America - Memphis as the first non-higher education institution to be granted the right to license our own teachers. Our regional program is now able to license our own corps members as full-time classroom teachers based solely on their Teach For America professional development experience, passing state-mandated test scores, and a bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75. As such, corps members are no longer required to take courses at a university in order to be fully licensed with the TN Department of Education’s (TN DOE) first level of teaching license, a Practitioner License. Upon successfully finishing their two-year corps commitment, our teachers are then recommended as “completed” to the TN DOE.

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • At minimum, the applicant must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
  • The applicant must be enrolled in or have completed an approved educator preparation program and be recommended for licensure by that provider. (Teach For America – Memphis would be your recommending program.)
  • The applicant must pass all required Praxis II exams as outlined by Teach For America – Memphis. 
  • The applicant must submit degree-conferred transcripts to Teach For America – Memphis. 


Your license will remain valid for a third year to allow you, should you chose, to teach a total of three years in a TN classroom (including your two years in our program). Once you teach three years, you would then be considered eligible for the next and final level of licensure, a Professional License. Corps members are responsible for submitting the necessary paperwork to the TN DOE in order to advance to a Professional License, however, we will support you in making sure you are clear on those steps are should you choose to do so.


At least a bachelor's degree is required for certification. As a result, we will not accept a transcript without a degree conferral date. Four sets of official transcripts are required. Both sets must reflect a degree conferral date and must be sent to our team on the deadline communicated to you should you be accepted into our program and once your onboarding begins.


  • If you are already licensed in the state of TN, our team would discuss your testing and possible licensure requirements on a case-by-case basis. 
  • If you would begin your corps commitment having completed an undergraduate background in education and/or with an out of state license, and DO HAVE THREE YEARS of out of state teaching experience, our team would discuss your testing and possible licensure requirements on a case-by-case basis.  
  • If you would begin your corps commitment having completed an undergraduate background in education and/or with an out of state license, and do NOT have at least three years of teaching experience, then you would still be required to take specific Praxis II exams, depending on your tentative teaching assignment, and use Teach For America – Memphis as your licensing program. In September 2015, the Tennessee Department of Education changed its licensure policy and procedure, thereby making it more difficult to be granted a TN license by using your out-of-state credentials compared to using our program in order to be licensed. Given that we want to support you in a smooth a licensing process in TN as possible, corps members coming with that background and with less than three years of teaching experience would need to use our program for licensure.


Yes, given the changes mentioned above that were implemented in September 2015, all teachers coming in with out of state credentials would still need to take the praxis II exams – the Tennessee Department of Education does not accept out of state exams.

The GPA minimum for the Memphis region is 2.75. However, in very specific cases, exceptions can be made. Please let our organization know either in your application or with your regional recruiter that your GPA is and/or may be lower than 2.75 but that you’re particularly interested in the region, explaining why, and we may be able to determine if you qualify for an exception. 

Yes, it is possible to complete a masters’ degree although not required. You have three master degree options (see below to learn more).



Christian Brothers University (M.Ed) (Memphis-specific)

Our region partners with Christian Brothers University to provide an option for our teachers going into their second year of teaching to pursue a master's degree in education. Corps members are able to use their Teach For America experience to count towards course credits, making it possible to receive a master's degree in only one year of study and also reducing the overall tuition. You can begin the program either in the summer between your first or second year or in the fall of your second year.

For more information, visit their website.

Once the confirmation window closes, please contact us at memphiscorps@teachforamerica.org and we can connect you with our CBU contact who directly works with our corps members.

Johns Hopkins University (M. AT) (national partnership)

All Teach For America corps members (incoming, current and alumni) have the opportunity to take advantage of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education’s online Master’s degree for Teach For America. This online format includes several support systems: Hopkins instructors to support educational pedagogy, real time discussions to ground the coursework in classroom context, and video-based platforms to support reflective practices – all aligned to TFA rubrics and expectations. You must currently be in the classroom in order to take advantage of this opportunity.

For more information, visit their website or contact a member of the admissions team at soe.tfa@jhu.edu or at 1-877-JHU-SOE1.

Relay School of Education (M.AT) (Memphis-specific)

Relay’s Master of Arts in Teaching program focuses on techniques that make the deepest impact in classrooms, with unmatched opportunities for practice. Throughout the program, M.A.T. candidates learn from graduate faculty who has helped their own P-12 students reach extraordinary success in schools. Their focus on practice, observation, and feedback gives our graduates the tools they need to make a measurable, positive impact on students’ academic performance and character development. It focuses on concrete skills that lead to dramatic improvements in classrooms, and it allows their students to practice those skills until they can execute them with total confidence for their students.

For more information, please visit their website.


A Decade of Impact


Neighborhood Highlight

Placement School Locations

Placement Areas

High Need Placement Areas

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • High School Math
  • Middle School Math
  • Middle School General Science
  • Spanish
  • Special Education

Additional Placement Areas

  • Elementary
  • English
  • Physics

Cost Of Living


Salaries range from $42,000 - $45,000 for new teachers in Memphis.




Due to Memphis’ sprawling geography, most corps members find that a car is required to get around.


Teachers are not required to have a master’s degree to teach in Memphis. However, Teach For America has several partnerships with master’s programs.



Teach For America – Memphis is a certifying body state of Tennessee, therefore there are no certification fees other than required Praxis II exams.


Regional Expenses

Monthly Salary

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Estimated Monthly Expenses

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What's Left Over
Ongoing Certification Costs
You may be able to offset ongoing certification costs with an AmeriCorps education award. Learn more.
One Time Summer Start Up Costs
Estimated Start Up and Certification Costs