Student Resources > Transitional License Information
What is a Transitional license?
A Transitional license is issued by the TN Department of Education at the request of a superintendent or director of a school system in Tennessee to a person who is employed by the school system while completing licensure requirements. This is not a full teaching license.
How long does a Transitional license last?
A Transitional license is good for one school year and expires August 31 at the end of the school year. The Transitional license can be renewed twice. An individual is allowed to teach on a Transitional license for only 3 years. Union's Transitional Program is designed to be completed in two years regardless of state policy. It is much better for the teacher and the hiring school system to advance from the Transitional to the Apprentice license as soon as possible.
What endorsements are available through Union's Transitional program?
Secondary Biology 7-12 History 7-12 Business 7-12 Music (Instrumental or Vocal/General) K-12 Chemistry 7-12 Marketing 7-12 Earth Science 7-12 Mathematics 7-12 Economics 7-12 Physical Education K-12 English 7-12 Physics 7-12 English as a Second Language PreK-12 Psychology 9-12 Family & Consumer Science 5-12 Sociology 9-12 French PreK-12 Spanish PreK-12 Geography 7-12 Theatre K-12 German PreK-12 Visual Art K-12 Government 7-12 Generalist endorsements: Elementary K-6 Special Education Modified K-12 Early Childhood PreK-3 Special Education Comprehensive K-12 Middle Grades 4-8
Under which endorsements am I most likely to be hired?
Biology 7-12 Mathematics 7-12 Chemistry 7-12 Middle Grades 4-8 Physics 7-12 Spanish PreK-12 Special Educ Modified K-12 Special Educ Compre K-12
Under which endorsements am I least likely to be hired?
Business 7-12 Government 7-12 Elementary K-6 Physical Education K-12 Early Childhood PreK-3 Psychology 9-12 Family & Consumer Sci 5-12 Sociology 7-12 Geography 7-12
Am I qualified to be hired on a Transitional license?
The first requirement is to have completed at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited college or university.
Anyone who wants to teach under a secondary academic endorsement area (see list above) qualifies to be hired on the Transitional if he/she has a major or 24 semester hours in the content area or has passed the Praxis II content knowledge test for the endorsement.
Anyone who wants to teach Elementary K-6, Early Childhood PreK-3, Middle Grades 4-8, or Special Education Modified or Comprehensive K-12 must be fully admitted to Union's Educator Preparation Program to be hired on the Transitional.
Where can I find out what Praxis II content knowledge test I need to take for my endorsement?
Individuals can find this information at www.ets.org. Always check current testing requirements before registering for a test. It is your responsibility to take the tests required in TN.
How can I prepare for the Praxis II test(s)?
Union provides an informational video to help you prepare for the Praxis. It is available at www.uu.edu; the password is available from the M.A.Ed. program coordinator on your respective campus. All applicants must view the video and pass the Praxis II content test for the intended endorsement prior to beginning coursework.
Do I need to take any more Praxis II tests after I pass my content knowledge test?
Yes, but not yet! All teachers seeking initial licensure must pass one of the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) tests, the one closest to the grade range of the intended endorsement. Specialty area Praxis tests differ for areas of endorsements. All tests required for each endorsement can be found at www.ets.org. You will be advised when to take other tests based on coursework completed.
When do I apply to Union?
If you are seeking a secondary license and have passed the Praxis content test for the intended endorsement, you can apply to Union. If you are seeking a generalist endorsement, you can apply after you have passed the Praxis 5014 Elem Sch:CK or 5146 Mid Sch:CK test.
Before anyone can begin taking coursework at Union, he/she must have passed the Praxis II content test for the intended endorsement.
There are several points at which Transitional teachers begin taking professional education coursework. Some secondary teachers are hired, then make application to Union (provided they have passed the Praxis II content test for the endorsement on the Transitional license). Some begin coursework, then seek a teaching position. Some finish all coursework, then seek a teaching position. The more coursework completed, the better prepared the teacher will be. But work schedules often prohibit this type of preparation from happening.
It takes at least a semester to be admitted to the TEP, as dispositional evaluations must be completed by the professors of the first two classes completed. Some students must take 9 hours to meet the GPA requirement. The best scenario is to pass the Praxis II, enroll at Union, be fully admitted to the TEP, take at least a few classes, then secure a teaching position and finish coursework.
If a teacher is hired and begins coursework at Union in the spring semester, he/she cannot be admitted to the TEP by mid-March when progress forms are submitted to the school systems. In that case, the teacher risks being terminated by the school system and having to go back through the hiring process when admitted to the TEP.
How do I actually acquire the Transitional license?
Upon being hired, the teacher must complete page 1 and the school system must complete the top section of page 2 of the Transitional License application and submit it to the TN State Department of Education with Union's Verification form and official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (even if only one class was taken at an institution). Approximately 12 weeks after the application is submitted to the TN State Department of Education, you will receive an email (sent to the email address you entered on the application) indicating that the license has been issued and providing instructions for viewing and printing the license.
Once I get the Transitional license, do I have to do anything else?
Yes. You must enroll in Union's EDU 622 Mentoring Seminar I in the fall and spring of the first year on the Transitional. This class addresses some of the Transitional standards and provides 100 hours of mentoring, as required by the State. You must also take coursework as outlined by the program of study and pass Praxis tests when recommended. If you do not enroll in EDU 622 in the fall semester, you must at least register for it in the spring of the first year. If you don't take EDU 622 in the spring semester, you will have to meet renewal requirements, renew the license for year 2, take EDU 622 in fall and spring of year 2, and renew for year 3 and take EDU 623.
How do I qualify to renew the Transitional license?
Secondary teachers must be fully admitted to Union's TEP to renew the license. Secondary and generalist teachers (see list above) must complete coursework as directed on the program of study. This ensures that the first 4 Transitional standards, called Orientation Standards, are met, a state requirement for renewal.
If a secondary teacher is hired and begins coursework at Union in the spring semester, he/she cannot be admitted to the TEP by mid-March when progress forms are submitted to the school systems. In that case, the teacher risks being terminated by the school system and having to go back through the hiring process when admitted to the TEP.
To secure the license for the second year, the teacher and the hiring school system must submit the Transitional License application with the program of study form from Union's licensing officer. The teacher completes page 1 and the school system completes the renewal section of page 2.
What are the requirements to be fully admitted to Union University's Educator Preparation Program?
*All of these requirements can be found on 'Checklist of Procedures' page in the Transitional License packet which can be secured through or mailed from the Educator Preparation Program at Union University.*
- Pass Praxis II content knowledge test required for the endorsement by the TN Dept. of Ed.
- G.P.A. of 3.0 or full admission to M.A.Ed. Program through the conditional policy (Writing sample and 3.0 G.P.A. on 9 graduate hours).
- Two positive reference forms.
- Three positive dispositional evaluations completed by self and professors of first 2 courses completed.
- Approval of first submission of portfolio while enrolled in EDU 535.
- Complete background check and fingerprinting by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (T.B.I.) if not employed by a school system
- Approvals by both School of Education Faculty and Teacher Education Committee
What happens if I am not admitted to Union University's Educator Preparation Program?
Unfortunately, Union's licensing officer would not be able to provide a renewal letter to your school system. That renewal letter must accompany the renewal application. Therefore, the individual could not be rehired to teach the second year on the Transitional license through Union's program.
Why does Union University require that secondary teachers be fully admitted to the TEP to renew for the second year and that generalist teachers be fully admitted to the EPP to be hired on the Transitional?
Union University believes in setting high expectations for our students. These high expectations develop well-rounded, hard-working, and prepared classroom teachers. Full admission of secondary teachers to the TEP in the first year on the Transitional license and full admission of generalist teachers prior to being hired far better ensures that a Transitional teacher will be able to advance to the Apprentice license after the second year.
What happens if I've taught for two years but still lack coursework or Praxis II tests?
You can renew the Transitional for one more year only. All Praxis II tests except the PLT must be passed to renew for the third year.
How do I advance from the Transitional License to the Apprentice license?
You will be advised during Mentoring Seminar II of the documents that must be submitted to Union's licensing officer after the spring semester. Keep that list in a safe place! To avoid delays in issuance of the Apprentice license, the Transitional teacher should submit the packet in mid-late May. The application packet will be sent to the TN Department of Education and a copy emailed to the teacher.
If I am interested in knowing more about a Transitional License who can I contact?
You can contact the Coordinator of Assessment and Licensing at 731-661-5523 or Coordinator of Teacher Education at 731-661-5391. Transitional Licensure packet can be picked up at Union University in the Educator Preparation Program suite or mailed to your address. Feel free to visit other Union University websites for more information: