Become an AoN CTE Teacher


Use your industry skills and knowledge

to teach MNPS students as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher within the Academies of Nashville.

Most of our CTE teachers bring multiple years of professional experience to the classroom. This page will help you learn about the requirements for your area of expertise and learn about the next steps to becoming a certified CTE teacher.

First, let’s clear up a common source of confusion: there are two types of CTE educators licenses offered by the State of Tennessee and its important to know which one you need.

The first type of license is an academic license which enables individuals to teach CTE subject areas such as: Business / Finance, Marketing, Agriculture, Human Services, Education & Training, and Hospitality. Most teachers in these subject areas have completed a degree in education.

The second is an occupational license which enables individuals to teach CTE subject areas such as Advanced Manufacturing, Health Science, Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, and more. You can find out which of our academies offer courses in these pathways by exploring each school’s page on this site.

Now, let’s talk a little about the actual process for becoming a CTE teacher. It varies depending on if you are going to teach with an academic license or an occupational license.

Start by asking yourself: In what industry do I have experience and which CTE subject area would that translate to? Here are some common examples:

  • Do you have experience as an athletic trainer or a physical therapist? What about as a dental hygienist or a physician’s assistant? Then Health Science is for you. You could earn the “720” endorsement and teach courses in the Health Science pathways in the Academies.

  • Do you have experience as a graphic designer? A photographer or have you worked in digital printing? That experiences translates well to our Arts and Communication pathways and the “711” endorsement.

  • Do you have experience as a pastry chef or a caterer? Or as a restaurant manager? Then teaching Culinary Arts, endorsement “730”, is for you.

Now that you know which subject area you’d like to teach, you can determine which type of license that you need to apply for.


If you will be an academically licensed teacher:

Typically, your college or university where you earned your education degree will handle your license application for you. The process is typically:

  • You complete your degree in education.

  • You take the required Praxis or EdTPA exams (ask the teacher licensure office at the college or university you attended before you register.)

  • You take any required industry certifications that are required to teach the courses you want to teach (you can check for these on the course standards for courses you might teach

  • The teacher licensure office at the college or university you attended will ‘initiate a transaction’ on your behalf in TN Compass. This will be your initial application for a teaching license.

  • The teacher licensure office at the college or university you attended will work with you directly to ensure that all requirements are met and you earn your license.

  • You can then apply for open CTE positions at the MNPS employment webpage.


If you will be an occupationally licensed teacher:

Which includes Culinary, Health Science, Automotive, etc, typically, you will need to meet these requirements to be considered eligible to teach:

  1. You must be a high school graduate or higher.

  2. You must meet the industry certification requirements (these are specific to each industry and can be found in this document).

  3. You must meet the required years of experience (these, too, are specific to each industry and can be found in this document).

  4. You must apply to and be admitted by an Education Preparation Provider (EPP). Two institutions are commonly used by MNPS CTE teachers for this: Tennessee State University and UT Martin.

If you are eligible…

You can then check out open CTE positions at the MNPS employment webpage or you can contact us and we can chat with you about openings and/or new programs that may have positions that aren’t posted yet.

Then you will need to:

  1. Verify your work experience by:

    • Completing pages 1, 2, and 3 on the TDOE Work Experience Form

    • Sending the form to as many employers as you need to to accumulate the number of years of experience that you need to meet the requirements.

    • Asking those employers to complete and notarize page 4 of the document, then scan and email a copy of page 4 to you so that you have it and ask them to mail you the original. Keep the original for your records.

  2. Supply transcripts showing the highest level of education that you have completed. You will need to request these yourself directly to the school or college. Have a copy emailed or mailed to you.

  3. Provide copies of your work experience verification forms to MNPS HR, your EPP, and upload into TN Compass.

  4. Complete any and all steps that MNPS HR requests of you. This commonly includes a background check and fingerprinting.

Then… within your first three years of employment with MNPS you will need to:

  • Teach full time for three years

  • Complete 30 hours of professional development which translate into points (PDPs)

  • Attend the five-day new occupational teacher training offered twice a year by the TDOE

  • Complete four observations of three experienced teachers within your endorsed area and one experienced teacher outside of your teaching area

WHEW. That’s a lot! We know. But it’s worth it!

But wait. What about IT, STEM or Engineering?

If you want to become an IT, STEM, or Engineering teacher then you have a couple of different options that lead to licensure. Lets talk through these based on two common scenarios:

Scenario 1: You are already a teacher who teaches Math or Science or even English or a Foreign Language (basically you already have an ‘academic license’). You can check the list of pathways and the endorsements listed below and see if you already have the correct endorsement. If you do, great! You may or may not then need to earn an industry certification or attend a TDOE training, but you’re almost there! If you don’t have any of the endorsements listed, you will need to take the subject-area Praxis and also complete any industry certifications or training listed to have the endorsement added to your license. (To actually add it, you would use TN Compass to initiate a transaction to add an endorsement.)


Scenario 2: You are not a teacher (yet!) but you have industry experience in one of these areas and would be teaching for the first time. You would be applying for an ‘occupational license’ and would follow all the steps listed in the sections above.

One More Thing: What if you’ve been a CTE teacher in another state and want to work for MNPS?

Great! Transitioning your existing license to Tennessee is fairly easy. You will need to follow the steps for out of state applicants to apply for an initial license in Tennessee. You may or may not be required to complete additional requirements. Please contact us for help!




CTE: Career and Technical Education

MNPS: Metro Nashville Public Schools

EPP: Educator Prep Program. This is a set of coursework (commonly 18 hours) that a requirement for occupationally licensed teachers

Industry Certification: These are certifications such as MOS Word, ASE, Adobe Certified Expert and so on that are specific to industries.

TN Compass: This is the system that contains all records for educators’ licenses and teaching evaluations.

PDP: A “PDP” or professional development point is earned by a teacher as he or she completes professional development (PD). The teacher is responsible for ensuring that MNPS has accurately awarded points for training and PD that a teacher attends.

PD: Professional Development. These are the trainings that you might commonly think of when you think of staff training. Commonly PDs are on topics like lesson planning, classroom management, and on topics aligned to your industry.

Endorsement: That’s the code that the state assigns to your license that permits you to teach certain courses. You can find the endorsement you’ll need by looking at this document and scrolling until you find your industry area.

TDOE: Tennessee Department of Education. They’re the organization that approves licenses and also oversees the development of CTE pathways and courses.


So what are the perks?

MNPS offers certificated staff (that would be you!):

Compensation aligned with the published salary schedule and offers occupationally licensed teachers the opportunity to start at “Step 4” on the schedule if the teacher is able to verify 5 years of work experience. Teachers in IT and Health Science can begin at “Step 9” if the teacher is able to verify 10 years of work experience.

Competitive benefits. You can read all about the benefits offered to certificated staff here.

Teaching within the Academies also means that you:

Benefit from joining a team - your academy - and learning from their experience. You have a built-in support network at school every day.

Are supported by central office CTE and Academies of Nashville staff who are there to answer your questions and help you along the way.

Are able to utilize state of the art, industry-standard equipment and materials in your classroom.

Benefit from relationships with our local industry and post-secondary partners.

Get to work with some pretty amazing students and teach them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in your industry!