State Profile

School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

State Profile - Tennessee

April 2018


The data included in this 50-state comparison is specific to school leader preparation program and certification requirements. There may be additional requirements that are not indicated. For additional information, questions or comments, please contact Deven Scott at

Has the state adopted leadership standards? Yes. Tennessee has adopted the Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards. State Board Policy 5.101
Which state entity approves traditional school leader preparation programs? Tennessee State Board of Education Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0520-02-04-.01
Does state policy require school leader preparation programs to align with adopted standards? Yes. Instructional leadership preparation programs must align with the Tennessee Instructional Leadership Standards, national standards and state accountability and evaluation requirements. State Board Policy 5.101
Does state policy require field experience as part of school leader preparation programs? Yes. Instructional leadership programs must provide quality field-based experience. State policy provides additional requirements. However, no hour requirement was found. State Board Policy 5.101
Does state policy allow for innovative or experimental preparation programs? No state policy found.
Certification and Licensure
What are the initial school leader certification requirements? To qualify for an Instructional Leadership License - Beginning (ILL-B), a candidate must:
  • Complete a state-approved instructional leader preparation program and receive institutional recommendation
  • Have at least three years of acceptable experience as an educator
  • Receive a passing score on the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.
State Board Policy 5.502
What are the requirements for school leaders licensed out-of-state? Out-of-state applicants are held to the same requirements as in-state candidates. An applicant who does not meet assessment requirements, but has met all other requirements may be issued the Instructional Leader License - Aspiring, and apply for the Instructional Leader License upon receiving a passing score. State Board Policy 5.502
Is there an alternative route to initial certification? No state policy found.

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