ABCTE Begins Partnering with Tennessee School Districts on Pilot Program to Certify Teachers

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Innovative Teaching Certification Program Offers Flexible and Affordable Route to Classroom; Putnam County Becomes First School District in State to Partner with ABCTE

Our program is in no way easy, it is just a different route to the classroom

A teaching certification program offered by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) and accepted in nine other states has received approval from the State Board of Education to begin partnering with districts in Tennessee. Through a Transitional Licensure Preparation (TLP) pilot program, non-profit group ABCTE will offer its innovative certification program as a way for aspiring teachers to earn their certification.

With the ABCTE program, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and prepare online—using a series of video workshops, practice exams and refresher courses—for two rigorous exams, one on Professional Teaching Knowledge (PTK) and another in the subject they seek certification in. The PTK exam focuses on topics such as pedagogy, assessment and classroom management. Only 40% of candidates pass the ABCTE exams on the first attempt.

“Our program is in no way easy, it is just a different route to the classroom,” explains ABCTE’s CFO & Acting CEO Giovanni Cozzarelli. “Because our candidates are essentially placing out of taking additional college courses, the exams are incredibly difficult. But it gives dedicated individuals a way to pursue their dream of teaching and to bring their talents, plus real world experience, into the classroom. We’re very much looking forward to bringing the program to Tennessee and for the opportunity to work with districts across the state.”

ABCTE offers certification in Tennessee for elementary education, history, secondary mathematics (Grades 7 – 12), secondary English (7 – 12), secondary biology (7 – 12), secondary physics (7- 12) and secondary chemistry (7 – 12).

The first Tennessee district to partner with ABCTE on the pilot program is Putnam County, located 80 miles east of Nashville. “We look forward to this opportunity for our school system,” says Kathleen M. Airhart, Ed.D., Director of Schools with the Putnam County Board of Education. “Through this program we hope to attract highly motivated residents of our community who can bring their real world knowledge into the classroom and, working along with the other talented members of our staff, make a difference in the lives of students.”

Other Tennessee school districts interested in participating in a pilot program should contact ABCTE Director of State and National Partnerships Eileen Proudlock at (202) 263-8318.

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to recruiting, preparing, certifying and supporting dedicated professionals to improve student achievement through quality teaching. ABCTE offers an innovative teacher preparation and certification program for highly knowledgeable individuals who want to change careers and become teachers. For more information, please visit


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