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Thank you for your interest in the BASE-TN program. Carson-Newman is happy to be a part of this state initiative to help train persons who are deeply committed to becoming licensed special educators in Tennessee.

At Carson-Newman, we want to make the process of becoming a special education teacher as simple as possible. We are here to help you at any time. Please review the information on this website then contact us to set up an appointment to discuss your options.


The BASE-TN program will pay partial (but significant) tuition and book costs. Students will be responsible for additional university fees such as (but not limited to) the application, parking, and technology fees. Housing and meals (if applicable) are the student’s responsibility.


The BASE-TN Teaching Program is a program that provides limited financial support for persons who meet the eligibility criteria and desire to earn an initial Tennessee teacher license in special education or an endorsement in special education. This support involves a commitment to teach in a Tennessee public school two years for each academic year (30 credit hours) of financial support received providing services to students with disabilities ages birth through twenty-one as a fully licensed special education teacher.

There are two categories of individuals for whom the BASE-TN program is designed. As part of the admission process, we are required to select persons who have the potential for being fully licensed the soonest.

  • Priority 1: Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in an area other than special education and desire to obtain a license to teach in special education.
  • Priority 2: Individuals currently employed as an educational paraprofessional in a special education classroom and have already completed a minimum of two years of undergraduate coursework or have earned an associate degree.

Additional Qualifications

  • Be a citizen, national or permanent resident of the United States and a resident of Tennessee.
  • NOT hold a Tennessee teacher’s license in the area of special education.
  • Meet admission criteria for Carson-Newman University.


There are three places that you are trying to get admitted to all at one time – the University, the teacher education department, and the BASE-TN program. In an effort to consolidate the paperwork and make this all a little less daunting we have created a Getting Started Checklist which outlines the steps you will need to take. For complete information, you should review the BASE-TN guidelines.


You guessed it. They’ll be even more paperwork to complete. You will need to submit the following:

A signed and notarized Student Service Agreement. We can notarize the form for you. The SSA is a statement of your intent to teach in a state-approved Tennessee public school, serve children with disabilities ages birth through 21 on a full-time basis for two years for each year (FTE) an award is received. A signed Promissory Note each semester that tuition remission is received.

We will complete this paperwork as a group before classes begin each semester.

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