Teaching Here

Why Choose Memphis?

Bianca Delgado (Memphis ’17) 5th Grade Dual Language Teacher, Treadwell Elementary

They say the most important question to ask yourself before joining [Teach For America] is “what is your why?”. I came to realize that my “why” was myself; I’m a living testament of the power education can have in a person’s life.

Octavia Gathings (Memphis '16) Spanish Teacher, Central High School

Teach For America provides support, information, and other resources that allow me to think about ways that I can impact education in and out of the classroom.

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 I complete my two years as a Teach For America – Memphis corps member?
  • 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 Tennessee?
  • 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 Tennessee?
  • My overall GPA is below a 2.75. Can I still be a Memphis corps member and licensed in Tennessee?
  • Is it possible to complete a master's degree at the end of the two years?
  • Partner Universities

Since 2010, Teach For America - Memphis has been a licensed Education Preparation Provider in Tennessee (the first non-brick-and-mortar program to be so licensed!) With this certification, our corps members earn their teaching license through their two years in our program, with no outside classes or certification work required. To earn certification through Teach For America - Memphis, corps members must attend all required Teach For America professional development experiences, pass state-mandated Praxis exams, and hold a regionally-accredited bachelor’s degree with a minimum GPA of 2.75.

The applicant must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.

  • Hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.

  • Be enrolled in or have completed an approved educator preparation program and be recommended for licensure by that provider. (Teach For America – Memphis will be your recommending program.)

  • Pass all required Praxis II exams as outlined by Teach For America – Memphis and the Tennessee Department of Education.

  • Submit degree-conferred transcripts to Teach For America – Memphis.

Your Tennessee Practitioner License will remain valid for a third year in a Tennessee classroom. Once you have completed three years in the classroom, you will be eligible to advance to a Professional License, the final level of licensure in Tennessee, if you have met state professional development and testing requirements (many of which you’ll complete during your two years in the corps). Alumni are responsible for submitting the application to advance their license, though our team will support you with information and guidance on the necessary steps.

To qualify for a teaching license, Tennessee requires a confirmed bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution. As a result, we do require our corps members to submit three copies of your transcript, with a degree conferral date, by the deadline communicated as part of your onboarding timeline.

  • If you are already licensed in the state of Tennessee, our team will discuss any testing and possible licensure requirements on a case-by-case basis.

  • If you will begin your corps commitment with a valid out-of-state license AND have 3 years of out-of-state teaching experience, our team will discuss any testing and possible licensure requirements on a case-by-case basis.  

  • If you will begin your corps commitment with an undergraduate background in education and/or with an out of state license, but do NOT have at least three years of teaching experience, then you would still be required to use Teach For America - Memphis as your licensing program, including taking all required Praxis exams and completing all required professional development experiences during your time in the corps. In September 2015, the Tennessee Department of Education changed its licensure policies, making it more difficult to transfer out-of-state credentials.


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 have current passing scores on the required Praxis II exams, as the Tennessee Department of Education does not accept out of state exams. If the exams you took were the Praxis II exams aligned to your assigned placement in Tennessee, those scores can be used (as long as the test was taken in the past three years).

The state of Tennessee’s minimum GPA for licensure is 2.75. However, in very specific cases, candidates with a 2.5 GPA can be granted an exception to this requirement.  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 Memphis 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 it is not a required part of our program. We have partnerships with two graduate programs; see below to learn more about these options!

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

Teach For America - Memphis partners with Christian Brothers University to provide an option to pursue a master’s degree in education. This is a program that our teachers can complete during their second year in the classroom: corps members are able to count their Teach For America experience towards course credits, making it possible to receive this 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 CBU's website. Once you’ve joined the Memphis corps, we can also connect you with our CBU contact, who works directly with corps members in this program.


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.

A Decade of Impact


Placement School Locations

Placement Areas


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