Tips for Parents

Thank you for your interest in a teaching career for your child. In Tennessee, there will be an anticipated 20,000 job openings in education by 2024, so there is a great opportunity for a dedicated and passionate person like your child to become part of our state’s next generation of teacher leaders.

Students of color make up 35 percent of the public school population in Tennessee, yet just 15 percent of teachers in the state identify as persons of color. The state needs a more diverse group of educators.

From financial assistance and loan forgiveness programs to great salary potential and benefits, there are numerous reasons to become a teacher.

Financial Assistance

If you are concerned about the cost of college for your child, information on statewide financial assistance programs like the HOPE Scholarship, Minority Teaching Fellows Program, Tennessee Teaching Scholars Program, Tennessee Promise and more can be found in the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation’s Money for College section.

The federal government offers the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, which gives up to $4,000 to students studying to become teachers. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program encourages teachers to teach in high-needs schools by making them eligible for forgiveness of up to $17,500 of their Federal Family Education Loans (FFELs) or Federal Direct Loans.

Also, if you are a Tennessee teacher, hopefully you are aware that the children of public school teachers are eligible to receive a 25 percent discount off their tuition.

For more details on the tuition discount program in Tennessee, visit the Fee Discount section of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission website.

Tennessee Promise

Tennessee Promise is a state program that provides scholarships for two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee. High school seniors who would like to participate in the program must first apply for the scholarship.

Tennessee Promise participants must also complete eight hours of community service per term enrolled, as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their institution.

More information on Tennessee Promise and the full checklist for the application process can be found on the Tennessee Promise site.

Salary and Benefits

In Tennessee, the average salary for elementary teachers is $49,470. For secondary teachers, the average salary is $50,570. The average salary raise over 10 years is 21 percent.

Salary varies by district, but teachers can earn up to $84,703 over time. Visit the Tennessee Department of Education website’s Differentiated Pay section for more information.

Teacher pay has been a focus for Gov. Bill Haslam, who has raised salaries for teachers across the state the last two years and is committed to making Tennessee the fastest-improving state in the nation for teacher compensation.

A career in teaching offers job security and includes health insurance, generous vacation time and holidays off with your family.

There is also tremendous opportunity for growth within the profession. Many teachers continue their own educations while they teach, obtaining the advanced degrees and certifications necessary for certain administrative positions.

Additionally, there are many opportunities for teachers to lead from the classroom, with an increasing number of districts creating formal teacher leadership positions that offer increased pay for teachers serving as leaders within their schools and districts. There are also opportunities for teachers to influence key state and national policymakers through formal fellowships, serving on statewide committees, and publicly advocating for what is best for their students and their communities.

Whether you have aspirations to be an administrator, serve as a superintendent, work in government to shape education policy or stay in the classroom to continue changing lives, the first step is becoming a teacher.